Do you really want to celebrate Yule without making an official announcement or risk offending family members or friends? There are many ways to celebrate Yule that are perfectly in line with other religious beliefs and that actually can show others how compatible the celebrations can be, without coming out of the broom closet.
Many traditional Christmas activities have their roots in Paganism. The Christmas tree, decorated with lights and ornaments actually began as a tradition of bringing a tree into the house in the winter months, to protect the wood spirits and give them respite from the cold. Lighting candles and hanging fruits began with honoring and feeding the wood spirits, and bells were hung for appreciative spirits to ring. The star at the top represented the five elements, similar to pentagrams of today. Caroling has pagan roots. Santa Claus (Kriss Kringle) is actually the Germanic Pagan God of Yule.
Gathering winter pine boughs and hanging them on doors was a symbolic gesture for good luck, health, and prosperity in the new year. They were also tied with red ribbon as a symbol of wealth and bounty for the home in the year to come. Hello, wreaths! Holly was traditionally used as protection from threats. The red berries represented strength through the long winter months and the green leaves represent fertility.
Traditional Yuletime activities are burning the Yule log, displaying poinsettias, burning gold candles, and putting out baskets of fruit (studding oranges with cloves) and hanging mistletoe in doorways.
Enjoy sitting at Gramma’s table, secretly reveling in the traditional Yule time goodies including pork dishes, caraway cakes, eggnog, spiced cider, apple pie and rack of lamb!
If you are in the mood to give gifts, try beloved (and Pagan) gemstones associated with Yule, including garnets, emeralds, and diamonds.
And if you are feeling romantic, give that special someone a kiss under the mistletoe! Yep! Pagan!
Decorate the mantle above the fireplace with pine boughs, pinecones, gold candles, poinsettias, and gold stars – you’ll get bonus points from mom for helping her decorate, and you will be happy with your “temporary altar”.
When you are asked to bless the meal, ask for peace, harmony, and love – traditional Pagan spells cast at Yule time. Who can argue with that?
Even leaving out cookies for Santa and his reindeer has pagan roots. Leaving food for animals in winter was a way of honoring animal spirits and wishing them a healthy winter. Offerings of food that disappears overnight used to mean that you had been blessed by Kriss Kringle, who came in the night and left behind blessings for the family.
Everyone deserves to be respected in their choice of path and should be able to honor their own traditions. Luckily, Yule time lends itself to a celebration that will be both comfortable and stress-free. Enjoy the holidays, whatever your path may be!