Yule is almost upon us and this year I have to say it feels even more important to sink into my practices than ever before.
I am the kind of person who slows down anything work related over the winter as I gather my wisdom from the year behind me, focusing on being here, in these moments more deeply. With Dare To Be no longer with us, its been a weird wind-down as I haven’t been needing to do a wind down, but the energy of that is still around me and within me, so I’ve had to be careful not to step into stuff that is ‘work’ and choose how I spend my time wisely.
Recently much of my time has been focused on being a presence in the home ed community due to issues with the government and associated services wanting to change how home ed works in the UK, but that is a blog for another time!
So for now back to yuletide.
There is something so warm and grounding and celebratory about yuletide, especially as someone who isn’t of a religious background and it feels like that is needed by the fucktonne this year doesnt it? In celebration of Yule this year I’ll be sharing my personal yuletide practice daily, here on my blog in collaboration with my wonderful colleague Rachael Setford-Berry- who will be doing the same! You can find her blog here
We will be doing a live over on Facebook on Mothers Night (20th Dec) to share the practice with our followers and there is also a wonderful print off to help you to follow along for the 12 days, if it is something that resonates with you!
We will be live over on Rachaels Facebook page here, so do look out for that!
Before that happens and in compliment of that practice ahead, I wanted to share some beautiful things that I do around the 12 days of Yuletide. They are the little things that make this time all the more beautiful and really compliment the practice ill be sharing on the 20th with you all and the coming 12 nights.
You could even come back to this blog throughout the 12 days for inspiration too so bookmark it if you enjoy it!
Mothers Night 20th Dec
Cleaning house! Yule for me is the end of the year and the beginning of the next. That longest night before the light begins to return again for longer each day.
Mothers Night, the night before the winter solstice is a night to honour and remember those amazing female role models in your life as well as those female ancestors who you would not be here without. Their protection and determination to keep safe their young is the reason you came to be!
I like to give the house a clean and spruce up, just as I would if my nan were coming round. Its also a beautiful way of clearing the last of any energy remaining before we welcome in the new light!
I place photos of the important women in my life near to my yule candle, ready to thank them for their wisdom and presence and then I cook a meal that reminds me of my elder female ancestors. For me thats a stew or casserole with plenty of root vegetables and lashings of fresh bread and butter.
Winter Solstice 21st Dec
As a mum of 4 children, staying up all night for winter solstice is not something I do, but instead I like to get up super early and sit in the silence and cold chill of the world before the sun rises. There is something so magical and humbling about the sun rise on the shortest day of the year.
The children and I write our gratitude for the year gone and wishes for the year coming on paper to burn with the yule log and I choose a super simple dinner for solstice leaving room for marshmallows and hot chocolate around the fire pit after dinner! We might also make some paper snowflakes to burn too!
We’ve been collecting wood and pine on our walks in the forest and this will be added to the firepit along with rosemary and cinnamon and our paper wishes written earlier in the day. Once the yule log is lit, the wishes are thrown in and its all about the hot chocolate and marshmallows!
We were travelling to Scotland on solstice last year and didn’t get to do these beautiful little things, so this will be extra fun this year! Tip: if you do yule logs, keep the Ash from your yule log to use on the 12th night, we love a bit of magic!
I love this day. There is almost a feeling of the world standing still for a few days after winter solstice and within that it feels as if the air is full of magic and hope and connection. Today is a day I like to get out in nature and see how many animals we can spot, to notice how busy the natural world remains, as we step into winter.
On walks at this time of year, I like to take any fruit that hasn’t been eaten and nuts that have arrived in the christmas shopping and leave these as gifts for the animals as we walk (and any other beings around!)
This night is when I think of my male ancestors and male role models in my life. I dont drink alcohol anymore (a year sober on 12th Night!) But previously I would have put a glass of spirit next to my yule candle and pictures of my male loved ones. This year I’ll do the same minus the alcohol and maybe leave them an IOU (they’ll love that I’m sure! Haha!)
I’ll reflect quietly on the virtue of this day and also tell stories to the children of their grandad and great grandfathers too.
Today for me is all about compliments. As well as the virtue to reflect on, I make it an aim to tell my loved ones what I appreciate about them and how they make my life richer.
I’ll read one of the beautiful yule books we have with the children and snuggle up in the lounge with a Christmas film. A friend gifted us a lovely gingerbread house kit this year so I feel this will be a good day to make it ahead of the Christmas eve excitement that will occur!
Seeing through to the truth of what’s important is big for me on this day and with it, the celebration of another year here.
24th December Christmas eve
More cleaning house and making preparations for Christmas day. I try to make Christmas day as relaxed as possible and this year we are going for a big breakfast feast and a Christmas dinner later in the evening, with snacks during the day so there isn’t too much to prepare!
I’ll change all the bed covers and make sure everyone is bathed and squeaky clean and in fresh PJs before a simple meal and then snacks with our annual Christmas film, The Polar Express! There is something important about clean sheets on Christmas eve, and I often feel my loved ones in spirit close by this night so I want us all at our best for them!
Today for me is about connection, family and remembering the magic that is all around us at all times. Honouring that magic and recognising that it works with us in all that we do.
I will also make my annual donation to the animal sanctuary that will go towards hay for the animals, instead of spending that money on sending Christmas cards.
Offerings for Santa will be left out and extra for any other beings who wish to be near too before wrapping any last presents and bringing all the gifts downstairs to place under the tree. We don’t have presents under the tree until Christmas eve and seeing it all sitting there adds an abundant and grateful energy to the air!
25th December Christmas Day
Ah Christmas day! A day of opening gifts, giving and receiving, eating and laughter and games! This year will be very different to one’s fron days gone by but I am looking forward to our afternoon walk at The Common and speaking with loved ones on the phone.
Christmas day always reminds me of who has been in my life, who has gone and who remains through it all and so special thought is paid to them, usually with a special text or call to thank them for being here, for showing up and for their love.
On Christmas day I light my yule candle in the late evening, towards midnight and remember those not in the physical with us and thank them for remaining by my side and for their parts in making me who I am.
The birds will also have treats from dinner in the garden and for any other animals passing by on the cold winters night (I know we have a family of foxes who regularly travel this way)
26th December Boxing day
Boxing day is usually the day I open my home to anyone who wishes to share food and laughter with our family but this year this isn’t able to happen and last year we were in Scotland so unable to host!
It was only when I starting practicing the 12 days of yule a few years ago, that I discovered that the 26th would be the day of hospitality, I love it when that happens!
I think meeting friends for a walk would be a great compromise so I’ll be suggesting this for maybe the 27th this year and instead have a quiet day of family board games and films with the expected arguments they will bring!
Its also the day that I write down how I intend to be more supportive and helpful to my local community and outer world and place it under my yule candle as an intention to be upheld and kept into the coming year.
A walk with friends, taking more offerings for the wildlife and also a day to collect rubbish left by others on our travels too.
When we take responsibility for not only ourselves but our part in helping things be better, we model the world we want to see to our children.
28th, 29th & 30th
I rarely do much as additional bits on these days, preferring to just be as present as I can in these inbetween days and doing my annual year ahead card spread and journalling my thoughts regarding the cards pulled. I pull a card to represent the energy of the year ahead and then pull one card for each month to give a general outlook to work from and have knowledge of. I love looking back on previous spreads to see what came to pass and what I wrote as interpretations of what I thought the cards were telling me!
31st New Year Eve.
For me new year began at winter solstice but I still enjoy celebrating the modern New year excitement!
I cleanse the house with herbs and music and clapping to clear put any stagnant energy and the children and I say our intentions for our own personal spaces in the house. Any cleaning and decluttering is finished off so that new years day can be a day of rest and ease (previously this was often to nurse hangovers, so It will be interesting to note the difference this year!)
The ashes from the yule log, mixed with salt will be sprinkled across the front and back doorways with a knowledge that all who step to my door do so with honour and good intent and all who arent of that nature? Will struggle to find the door at all…my home is my haven and each within it will be nurtured and held as the precious being they are.
At midnight we will sing and celebrate and watch fireworks from the windows before tucking the children into bed and giving thanks that our family remain healthy, happy and whole, with the virtues and values that we live by and honour.
My candle will be packed away with thanks for the focus it provides and I will step into 2021 with clear, fresh energy and stamina to see the winter through into the coming light and spring.
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing some of the ways in which I bring old and new into my home and life and I look forward to hearing what you do as a family, or what inspiration you take from the words above into your own yuletide practices!