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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Make the Yuletide Merry

I'm still spending most of my time and energy running The Artisans' Guild during the busy (and this year, snowy) holiday season, but this Saturday I will take a short break to celebrate the Winter Solstice, otherwise known as Yule. Even if you're not a Pagan, you've probably heard of Yule, even if you don't realize it. Just listen to a bunch of Christmas carols, and you'll hear the word Yule, or Yuletide, quite often. That's because  many of the aspects of modern-day Christmas were actually adopted or adapted from the existing holiday of Yule.

Even caroling itself comes from the tradition of "wassailing" (remember the song, "We will go a'wassailing"?). Mind you, wassailing was a bit rowdier--people would go from house to house singing, and being given a neighborly drink of wassail (which means "to your health"), which was usually heavy on the alcohol. In fact, the holiday was so raucous, the Puritans banned it. Party poopers.

For me, one of the great things about Yule is that because so many of the traditions are mirrored by Christmas, even non-Pagans usually feel comfortable celebrating the Winter Solstice. Blue Moon Circle uses this as an excuse to have a party--our annual Yule dinner party, to be exact. This will be our 9th year, I think! Blue Mooners bring family, and we invite some friends along as well. I think this year there will be (gulp) 15 of us around my not-that-big dining room table. Thankfully, everyone brings part of the feast, which makes life easier. We dress up, actually eat around a table together and eat off handmade pottery instead of sitting around the living room with paper plates on our laps, and play a gift-swapping game.

I literally look forward to this one night all year; it truly makes my Yuletide merry!

What are your plans for the holiday? Do you celebrate Christmas, or Yule, or something else? And if you could have Santa or the Holly King bring you ANYTHING, what would it be? (Actual presents, not stuff like world peace, which presumably we'd all wish for.)

I'll try to post some pictures on Sunday or Monday. Now, off to work!

8 comments:

  1. I was in Australia for Hannukah, so this is going to be a failry quiet holiday season for me. I'll participate with friends of all faiths, in small ways, and for me, no big presents this year. I already had mine with spending three weeks with family. : )
    A merry Yuletide to you!

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    1. Happy belated Hannukah! I grew up Jewish, and I still love the holiday. I'm so glad you had a great time in Australia!

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  2. I'll be spending the 24th-26th with my friend and her family as I did the past two years. (Her kids are my fake nephew and niece.) We go to Christmas Eve service at their church, which is surprisingly pleasant, enough so that I look forward to it. They have a low-key Christmas morning, with just a few gifts. This year I'm crocheting gifts for all four of them, because I can.

    If I could have any present, it would be a souped-up MacBook Pro. My existing MacBook is small and almost 6 years old and very slow. I need an updated, faster, more powerful model.

    What do you want the Holly King to bring you? You didn't say. :)

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    1. That sounds like a lovely way to celebrate! I usually spend Christmas day by myself, recovering from working Christmas Eve at the shop (and honestly, I'm fine with that), but this year I might have brunch with my friend John. I'm not sure what I'd like the Holly King to bring me...maybe Twue Wuv? Or an Ipod?

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  3. My husband and I have a small group of friends that we celebrate Yule with. We have a ham dinner with sides, watch holiday movies (this year it's The Polar Express and A Nightmare Before Christmas), make cookies and exchange gifts and stockings. Then my husband and I spend Christmas at his mom's house for dinner and gift giving. So I guess we have the best of both worlds. Blessed Yule to you and the kitties!

    Kit

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    1. Kit, that sound fab! Blessed Yule to you and yours.

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  4. Tonight I am celebrating Mother's night (http://www.friggasweb.org/matrons.html). Friends will be blowing the horn at sunrise tomorrow morning on the beach to welcome the light but I will be celebrating midwinter with the local farmers. And what would I like the Holly King to bring? A good harvest in every possible way. Blessed yule!!

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    1. That sounds very cool! And yes, good harvests all around!

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