If you’re a new witch, you might be wondering if you have to give Christmas the ole’ heave-ho and celebrate Yule instead. I love the spirit of Christmas, the shiny lights, holiday movies, and I love presents, so I celebrate both. You may decide you need something a little more pagan (although Christmas is totally pagan-based) and start celebrating just Yule. Either way, here are some great tips for celebrating Yule to get you started.
Tips for Celebrating Yule
Put up a tree
Yes, that’s right. A “Christmas tree” is the perfect way to celebrate Yule. It is tradition to choose a living evergreen to bring indoors as a way to honor nature during this “downtime.” To turn the tree into a bit of an altar by adorning it with decorations.
I just saw, being passed around on social media (I wish I knew who to credit, but I can’t remember where I saw it), the idea of creating wish pinecones. You write wishes for the new year on tiny slips of paper, tuck them into the spaces on a pinecone, and then hang it on your tree. On the Winter Solstice, you take the pine cones and the wishes and burn them to set your wishes free to be brought into existence. I’ve never heard of this before, but I love it, and I’m adopting this as a new practice.
Also, bringing in live cedar or fir boughs to create wreaths to hang from your door are considered good luck.
You can’t have tips for celebrting Yule without it containing a Yule Log. But they are in short supply these days so you can try a modern version of a Yule log and bake a cake roll decorated to look like a log instead. It’s creative and fun for the whole family. And a lot less problematic than gingerbread houses IMO. Here’s a recipe to try.
If you don’t have a traditional Yule log to light your fire, try different herbs to fake it. Throw on some cedar, a little frankincense or myrrh, or even a cinnamon stick. This will smell divine and liven up your home in a warm and earthy way.
I LOVE wassail. Trader Joe’s makes a wonderful wassail perfect for heating on the stove or to put in a crockpot. You can even add a little brandy if it suits you. Gathering with family and friends on the holiday and drinking cup after cup while snacking it up is my idea of a good time.
OMG, I love hot cocoa or thought I did until two years ago when I found a crockpot version from scratch, and well, now I am a cocoa addict-for the good stuff anyway. Make some hot cocoa and sit around your Yule Fire (even if it is a gas fire pit) and enjoy each other’s company. Tell me below, are you a marshmallow or whipped cream type of witch? I like piping hot cocoa with cold whipped cream on top.
While sitting around the fire, enjoying your steaming hot cocoa, tell the story of the Oak King and Holly King. It goes something like this:
The Oak King was king of the Day, ruler of all that was green and fair. When he ruled the world, he would shine light down from the heavens so the flowers could bloom and the grass could grow green. He brought happiness and joy to every person under his rule.
The Holly King was king of the Night, ruler of the darkness, and the cold, damp earth as it lay barren. He darkened the world when he ruled, leaving the people and animals tired and wanting nothing more than to lie in bed sleep away the hours.
Twice a year, the Oak King and Holly King would meet, coming together in brutal competition for the right to rule the land. On these days, they would battle until the end of the day would be a clear winner. These battles happen on the Winter and Summer Solstice. And on the Winter Solstice, empowered by the darkness that gives the Holly King his strength, he wins. And he shall rule until Midsummer.
Besides sharing Yuletide blessings this way, just getting together is a great way to spend the holiday-in a socially distanced manner-hanging out by the fire, shopping witchy gifts with your coven members or other witchy friends. My first major yule celebration was with my old coven ten years ago. We went to dinner and traded gifts, drank some wine, laughed A LOT.
My point is celebrating Yule is whatever you make of it. It doesn’t differ that much from Christmas. You can still find holiday cards with “Yuletide blessings” even or these gorgeous winter solstice cards. Celebrate it however you best see fit. And those are my tips for celebrating Yule.