What Yule means to me: Home, family and love

Colour photograph of star-shaped Yule decorations

There are a lot of holidays and festivals celebrated all over the world at this time of year. I’m more than a little bit done with people arguing over which culture had which tradition first when it comes to lights, plants and decorations, or how this way of celebrating is more valid or meaningful than that way. How about we respect each other’s traditions and celebrations, and say a heart-felt thank you when someone wishes you a happy whatever they/you/some people celebrate?

In our Pagan household, we celebrate Yule. We celebrate winter in general because all seasons are worth marking (although winter is my favourite!). We celebrate Christmas when my parents come to stay because that’s what they think of at this time of year. What it comes down to, for me, is that I’m blessed to spend time with people I love, and share joy and warmth together.

We don’t go in for huge, expensive gifts. In fact, my husband and I rarely buy anything for each other and instead treat ourselves to something nice or useful for our home that we can enjoy together. We drink mulled wine and mulled cider, and that sugar-filled rocket fuel my mum makes with vodka and blackberries. We indulge in festive food, but more than that we enjoy cooking and eating as a family.

My ritual at Yule is one of thanks and appreciation, of savouring the darkness and cold that brings people together in warm, bright places. It’s a time to think about loved ones who are no longer with us and to share comfort and kindness with those whose company I’m still lucky enough to have around. On my altar, I light candles scented with cinnamon, orange and chocolate, and pour libations to the Gods onto frosty ground under clear, star-filled skies.

Merry whatever-you-celebrate to my readers and friends

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