The crisp autumn air, the smell of wood-burning fireplaces, followed by the promise of the season’s first snowflakes…to me, these things bring such happiness. And Yule! A most magical of holidays, when we celebrate the turning of a new year, and the promise of warmth and rebirth ahead.
As we near this magical time, it can be hard to reconcile plans (both personal and business) between the sacred and the secular, as well as between the spendy and the thrifty. That said, there are many ways to make Yule more than just trees and candles –without breaking the bank—at both your home and your store.
For me, decorations are always a great way to set the mood for any holiday season, Yuletide included.
- Candles. One of my favorite parts about having shorter days (or, perhaps, the only thing I really like about having shorter days) is lighting candles around my home, creating a sparkling, warm atmosphere. Candles can be found at many retailers, both offline and on, and made from many different ingredients.
- Try making your own Homemade Herbal Candles: http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/1490
- Looking for which candles to use? Discover Candle Lore and Magic: http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/477
- Worried about (or prevented from) using candles around children, pets, or particular building codes? Flameless candles can be just as magical as the regular ones. The Magic of Using Flameless Candles in Ritual: http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/2184
- Incense. Smell is one of the first things we notice when we enter a building or home; why not use some that celebrates the season? For a magical, uplifting, and thrifty option, try making your own incense or potpourri.
- Decorations. At this time of the year, stores are overflowing with a vast assortment of holiday decorations; however, I think it is much more magical (not to mention cheaper!) to create my own. These crafts also make for fun party activities.
- Try these Quick and Easy Yule Decorations, including an Evergreen Wreath, Garlands, and Placemats: http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/1775
- Colors. Colors are a huge part of décor, and I like to use those that are not only traditionally seasonal but also magically appropriate. White is great for spiritual strength and purity, and reminds us of the snow outside our windows; Green is reflective of the renewal and generosity of the season; Blue brings us inner peace and tranquility; and Silver removes negativity and reflects the beauty of the Full Moon.
- An Altar. Perfect for store or home, a Wheel of the Year altar can be suited to any Sabbat, including Yule.
Another strong way to connect to the season, to our friends and family, and to our ancestors is through rituals. These make great activities to do alone, to do with friends or family members, or to host as a store activity.
- Candle Rituals. To me, candles seem to be perfect to use any time there happens to be a chill in the air, but they also can be used for powerful candle magic.
- Gift-Giving Rituals. Many families celebrate the season with gift giving. Try making your own Magical, Meaningful, and Homemade Yuletide Gifts.
- Create Your Own Rituals. Part of the magic of the season is finding your own way to connect to divinity and the Earth. Try reconnecting with some Yuletime traditions of your past, or create your own: http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/1237.
Activities and Parties
There is something about Yuletide that just seems to warrant having a party or other event. Looking for ideas? Look no further!
- Crafts. Crafts always make a great activity, as long as they are well-planned out (especially when large numbers of participants are concerned).
- Adorn your door(s) with your own Unique Yule Wreath: http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/1417
- Have knitters or crocheters in your audience? Try crocheted bookshelf organizers, a crocheted tarot box, or a Dream Pillow.
- If you have access to a kitchen (or other large, open workspace), try having participants make their own Plant Spirit Essence or other tinctures and infusions, such as a Magical Stress Eraser Mist.
- Cooking. Many of us love to cook, and even those of us not fond of the kitchen love to eat the goodies that come out of it. Seasonal and themed recipes can infuse any gathering with holiday warmth and cheer, no matter the temperature outside.
- Trivia. Host a trivia party, with participants guessing holiday song lyrics, history, and more. Start with these Fun Facts and Trivia About Yule.
Still looking for more ideas? Check out "Celebrating Yule without Losing Your Mind—Or Your Life Savings."