The Winter Solstice, Yule, is the longest night and shortest day of the year. It marks the return of the Sun, from here the days begin to get just a little bit longer.
Regardless of your beliefs, I find Yule is the perfect way to celebrate nature and our earth, and gives us chance to have a little bit of grounding and connection before Christmas.
Here are some simple ways you can celebrate.
1. Decorate a tree – Outside!
Yule trees go way back in pagan tradition. Outdoor trees were decorated with candles. They symbolised the sun, moon and stars.
I certainly won’t be hanging candles from a tree (Fire Hazard!) but we have made some simple pinecones decorations. We will find a tree outside and decorate it. I will use this time to talk about how the tree is bare, but in spring the leaves will grow again…with the help from the sun, providing warmth and light.
It doesn’t need to be your own outdoor tree too, head to the park! It will be magical for anyone who passes…
2. Feed the Animals.
This is the most important time of the year to look after our garden wildlife (or a local park). You can make hanging bird treats, also perfect to decorate the outdoor tree!
Our favourite is finding some pinecones and squishing seeds and dried fruits into them, you can use peanut butter for extra stickiness!
This is a great opportunity again to talk about winter and the decrease in food and warmth.
3. Take a nature walk.
Now I’m aware that I have this in all my celebrations, but it is perfect! We home educate and honestly, so much learning and connection comes from walking out in nature and discussing things. A simple conversation about how cold it is, to why it’s so cold and how the wheel of the year turns……also hot chocolate in the woods is a seriously underrated activity!
Also a perfect time to collect your natural treasures for the next activity.
4. Make a Yule Log.
A Yule log was traditionally made and burnt to celebrate the return of the Sun.
You can collect a log – different wood can be chosen according to your wishes.
Pine would be chosen for prosperity, while oak may be chosen for strength.
You can decorate your log any way you wish, with pine cones, sticks etc. The logs are traditionally burnt, (saving a small piece to start the Yule fire next year) while the log is burning this make a perfect opportunity to discuss what you are thankful for and what your wishes are for the following year.
You also don’t have to burn it, you could use it as a Christmas centrepiece on your table.
If you didn’t want to make a log…you could make/buy a chocolate Yule log cake to eat! This can be done with a fire/candles lit too….
Also check out my previous blog Magic Biscuits this would be a fun activity to do together too.
Which leads me onto the final one….
I have mentioned this before, but throughout the year we have a jar which we add little notes to with things we are thankful for. This can be anything. We encourage the kids to add things too. It is our tradition to open our jar on Yule and read our notes.
It is such a lovely start to the Christmas festivities too….heading into the new year feeling blessed and thankful.
We will be telling some stories too, using one of my favourite books. (below)
Will you be celebrating the Winter Solstice?
Thank you for reading ❤️