Tag Archives: Yule

Yuletide Greetings on the Solstice!

Long before Christmas was a celebration, there were celebrations associated with Yule, December 21st, the longest day of the year. Those traditions continue today. Here are some ideas for making today special.

  • Dedicate yourself to your self-care and healthy activities. Today would be a great day for yoga, workouts and meditation. Check off at least one activity on the self-care planner!
  • Take Vitamin D which most of us need in the winter months.
  • Here is a Yule Log to color, courtesy of Wired Magazine!
  • Make a gratitude list for the abundance in your life your health, home and family.
  • Consider making a contribution of some kind as an offering of thanks. You could put some money in the Salvation Army Kettle Very appropriate for moving into the new year – ridding yourself of things you no longer need by making a donation to Good Will. So needed right now – blood donations or donations of canned food.
  • On the longest night of the year, the sun is a focus. Take a walk in the sun today. After today, there were will be more sunlight each day. Revel in the blessing of the sunglight!
  • Air out the house, give it a good cleaning and let fresh air and good luck come into the home.
  • Bring some fresh greenery into the house — pine and cedar swags, holly bunches and mistletoe. Hang a wreath of fresh greenery on your front door to welcome in prosperity and luck.
  • Light some candles on the darkest night of the year. Visualize positive energy set alight in yourself, your home and the new year.
  • Make a warm cup of Christmas tea or mulled cider — with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and orange rind.
  • Snuggle up by a real or video fireplace for the “yule log” experience.
  • Have a special dinner or lunch with Yule log (Buche de Noel) for dessert. You can puchase Yule log cakes (sometimes available by the slice) at Whole Foods and La Madeleine, or dress up a store-bought Red Velvet or Pumpkin roll as a Yule log with frosting or powdered sugar “snow.”

 

The origin of the Yule Log

Photo by Khari Hayden on Pexels.com

As you may know, many of our favorite Christmas customs, such as decorating our homes with greenery, lighting candles and even eating ham, have ancient roots that pre-dated Christianity.

Ancient Romans and Germanic (Celtic) tribes honored their gods with tributes and feasts around the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year (coming up on December 21).

Some Germanic tribes believed the sun was a wheel and the term Yule is thought to be a derivation of the word for wheel. During this dark time of year, many of the customs revolved around light of some kind, such as candles and bonfires, and of course the Yule Log.

Yule log traditions were celebrated in what we now call Norway, England, France, Ireland, Germany and other parts of the world. There were many beliefs associated with the Yule Log over the centuries. Sometimes, the burning of the log prescribed how many days a feast would last, or a break from work. People made wishes around the Yule log. Pieces of the log were kept to protect a home from lightning strikes or to light the log for the next year. Ashes were used for medicine. Before it was burned, the log was sprinkled with flour and decorated with holly; in France, it was perfumed with wine.

The Yule Log-shaped cake is a relatively recent French invention, also known as the Buche de Noel, but Yule cakes have been made and consumed for centuries. Since the Solstice (December 21) is coming soon, maybe you would like to celebrate the day by making or purchasing a Yule log cake, especially if you don’t have a fireplace! La Madeleine sells a beautiful Buche de Noel cake you can order for $35.00.

Or maybe you and the kids would like to make your own mini Yule logs with Swiss rolls (the Great Value brand ones from Walmart are supposed to be pretty good) and frosting, as is done in this video from Hostess. This looks easy and fun! You can make holly leaves by rolling and cutting out green gumdrops.

If you don’t have a fireplace (neither do I), there are lots of fire place “Yule Log” videos you can wath on YouTube on the longest night of the year, such as this one. I watch these ALL the time 🙂 they are so relaxing! Some have music and some don’t. This one is nice because it doesn’t loop.

Or if you are feeling lonely, you can enjoy the fire with Nick Offerman…

You can also purchase one of these fun, electric vintage yule logs on eBay or Etsy.

And last but not least, here is a simple little, crafted oranment you and the kids can make 🙂

  I hope you have a lovely Solstice and joyful holiday.