Happy Yule! This is the Pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice, AKA the first official day of Winter. It is the shortest day of light on the northern hemisphere, but this means that every day from here on out we will get a little more light every day, AKA the worst is over and it will get better from here! That’s why this is often a big celebration of the sun/return of the sun/darkness turning to light. In fact, since this tradition dates back before Christianity, many of the traditions we celebrate at Christmas were actually derived from Yule, like having a tree indoors (that was decorated), using holly and mistletoe, and even the act of giving gifts! Isn’t that interesting?

Celebrating Yule these days is definitely different than celebrating Christmas, though, for sure. And I wanted to give you a list of 10 ways to tap into the more traditional aspects of the Winter Solstice, that are all super doable!

10 Ways To Celebrate Yule | Uncustomary

10 Ways To Celebrate Yule

1. Create/Redo Your Altar – A perfect way to set the mood for Yule is to create an altar as a sacred space. Supplies/materials to consider using for your Yule altar include: symbols of the sun, gold plates/discs, candles, Yule Log, evergreen, holly, mistletoe, antlers, winter creatures (ex: deer), (citrus) fruit, nuts, snowflakes, icicles, bells, wreaths, cinnamon sticks, poinsettias,  symbols of fertility, Frankincense, Bayberry, Rubies, Garnets, Diamonds, Bloodstones, Emeralds, and generally stick to reds, whites, yellows, green, silvers, and blues.
2. Chop Down/Make A Yule Log – Go out and find a log that calls out to you and bring it home! Then, you want to glue three candles to the top, and possibly some evergreens, holly, etc. to decorate it. Check out this tutorial.
3. Watch The Yuletide Sunset – Get your loved ones together and watch the sunset on the shortest day of the year and think about how the sun gives us life and we are entering the solar near year.
4. Contribute To A Charity/Cause – This is a time of giving and connecting with others, so give what you can whether it’s time, money, goods, energy, etc.
5. Have A Bonfire With The Yule Log – When it’s time, you can gather your friends around and actually burn that Yule Log in your fire place or a bonfire pit and experience the light and warmth it provides you. Feel free to write down your wishes on slips of paper and burn them up in the fire, too!
6. Sing Yuletide Carols (AKA Go Wassailing) – The original caroling was called Wassailing. You would go door to door, singing Pagan Yuletide Carols, offering a drink from the Wassail bowl, and there would usually be an exchange of gifts. This process later evolved into caroling. Try to bring back the original tradition (or just go caroling with the original Yuletide Carols like these).
7. Bake A Yule Log Cake – Another tradition with the Yule Log is to bake a cake that looks exactly like a log! Get a recipe here, make it, and share it with your favorite people! To go all out, you might want to look at sourcing ice cream to go with it. There are plenty of unique ice cream flavors available that you can choose from. Whatever you choose, it’s recommended that you go to a specialist creamery to make the occasion extra special.
8. Make An Evergreen Wreath – A great activity to do as a family is to take a nature walk, collect evergreen pieces (include holly, mistletoe, ivy, etc.), and come home and work on a DIY project of making an evergreen wreath that you hang on your front door.
9. Meditate In The Dark – Do an introspective meditation in the dark, possibly with candles or by the burning Yule Log fire, and contemplate the way light affects us. Here’s a guided one if you need some help!
10. Create A Yule Ritual – Lastly, the best thing you can do for yourself is to just create a ritual that feels the best to you! There are tons of other things you can do to celebrate Yulethat I haven’t mentioned, and maybe you want to incorporate those into your own personalized ritual. For example, a Yule/Winter Solstice party, decorating your house, journaling reflections on the past year (especially things you’re grateful for), getting a Tarot reading, educating people on the origins of Yule, doing Yule/Winter-themed crafts, put up sun ornaments on your tree, put out fruit and candles, host a big dinner feast, connect to nature, make Wassail drink, do a Secret Befana (like Secret Santa), celebrate Krampus, say a Yule blessing, etc. Do what feels right to you!

I made you a downloadable cheat sheet with the colors, crystals, apothecary, foods, activities, and altar supplies for your ease. Download it for free below!


Photo: Maura Housley