Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Yearly Yule Dinner Party

I have a confession to make: Christmas is not my holiday. Never has been. I grew up Jewish, and the only time I ever celebrated Christmas was the couple of years I was married, way back in the 1980's. And these days, as a Pagan who runs an artists' cooperative shop (and sells her jewelry there), I am mostly just grateful that it isn't my holiday, so I don't have to feel guilty about focusing all my energy on making money...

This doesn't mean I don't celebrate at all, though. Every year, my group, Blue Moon Circle, gets together for a Yule dinner party at my house. We don't do a ritual, so it is a "safe" time for people to bring the husband who isn't comfortable with witchcraft, or the kids who don't sit still well. We usually invite a Pagan-friendly friend or two, too. BMC is really one big family anyway, so for us it is a time to gather as an extended tribe and enjoy being together and celebrating the light in the midst of the darkness.

We always have a big feast. Everyone brings a dish to share, all of them made with love (and no little cooking talent). Unlike the post-ritual feasts we normally have at the other sabbats, where we tend to sit around the living room with paper plates on our knees, we actually put all the leaves in the dining room table and sit down together. There are often over a dozen of us, so it can be kind of crowded, but nobody minds.
We usually exchange gifts in one way or another; sometimes we play a silly gift-stealing game, and this year we're each pulling one name and getting a gift for that person. (The kids get gifts from everyone!)

I keep the decorations simple, since I haven't got the time or inclination to put up a big tree (see "not my holiday" above, plus I have 5 cats). I have a couple of lovely evergreen and juniper swags (about 6' long) that a local artisan made, and I hang them up, along with strings of white lights to symbolize the light of the Yule holiday. I may put up a few shiny ornaments here and there, but otherwise, that's enough to give the house a festive look.
My "tree" from 2010. Magic the Cat seems a bit dubious about my decorating efforts. And rightfully so :-)

If I'm really feeling the desire to go all out, sometimes I dig a small volunteer pine tree up from my yard, where they tend to sprout up where I least expect them. They're always a little "Charlie Brown" looking, but that's okay. (See picture above. Yes, it is okay to laugh.)

Sometimes we light candles on a Yule log we've made, and talk about our wishes for the year ahead. Mostly, we just enjoy being together. Friendship is the greatest light in the dark there is.
Blue Moon Circle and friends in years past.

I hope that you get to share Yule (or whichever holiday or holidays you celebrate) with people you love.


  1. For me, Christmas was never a religious thing (okay, maybe that one year I was 15); it was a family thing. Then when I was a devout pagan, I tried to celebrate Solstice --- it's still the holiday I pay more attention to because it means the days will begin growing longer, which is way more meaningful for me than Christmas! Now, I just go with the flow. I'll do Christmas with my friends who go to church. I'll arrive in Seattle on Solstice and spend it with my wiccan friend. And I'll spend after Christmas with my atheist friends. Seems to work out. And I'll be surrounded by people with whom I share love and affection!

    I like your Yule dinner idea. If I develop a larger group of friends who have time on their hands at the holidays, I'll try to have one of those some year! Hope yours is fantastic this year.