The season of Yule is one of my favorites-it falls a very close second to Samhain, and mainly because of the general gothic witchiness that just permeates the air in October 🙂 I really do love Yule, though.
I was raised Roman Catholic, so Christmas Eve was a really important day. My mother would get us all dressed up in outfits she had made for the occasion, and we’d all go to my grandparents’ for dinner and opening gifts. Sometimes, we’d go to the midnight mass.
Of course, when I was a kid, I was excited about the gifts, but I genuinely loved going to Church, especially for Christmas. It was always so festive and beautifully decorated inside, and the tingle in the air caused by the collective elation of those who went to celebrate was just so magickal to me–honestly, it still is. I’ve always felt very comforted at Church. Sacred space feels beautiful, regardless of Path or Tradition.
What I find so wonderful about Christmas, is that, as Pagans, we get to celebrate Yule with the same traditions we grew up with. Tree decorating is an event at my house (and one that we’re doing fairly late in the season, as I’ve been sick since Thanksgiving). I make cookies with the kids, some hot chocolate, and everyone helps dress up the tree, with Christmas movies (especially the Peanuts Christmas Special) playing in the background. This year, we’re going to make pomanders with oranges and apples (and hope the dog doesn’t eat them!), and make a gingerbread house, like we do every year. This year is only the second year we’ve been able to do Santa with my 6 year old actually understanding who Santa is, so of course we do the Santa thing here. He will be coming on Friday night this year to deliver the gifts, the children will open them on Yule, and then we will all go to my grandmother’s on Christmas eve to do dinner and gifts 🙂 Then, it’s off to my mother’s the next day for an amazing lunch, and more gifts that also include homemade cheesecake (hopefully!!).
What traditions do you have in your family? Do you celebrate Yule on the 21st, or just celebrate on the 25th? What are some of your favorite traditions, that really made this time of year magickal for you?