While Samhain is the New Year for Wiccans, Yule is the New Year in the Druid tradition. My partner is Druid, and the solar new year works well for me, so we celebrate Yule as the last Sabbat in the Wheel of the Year. Below you will find a list of ideas for solitaries, partners, covens, and witch families that I hope will add a little variety to your Yule celebrations. Remember that Yule is a six week long season, not just one day! Please feel free to post suggestions in the comments, and have a beautiful Yuletide, friends.
1. DIY Garlands: Decking the halls with garlands is a fun way to decorate for the Yule season without spending a lot of money. Garlands that are made with food items can be placed outside after Yule as offerings, as well as for animals. Outdoor food offerings in winter are just as important as outdoor water offerings are in summer (I’m looking at my fellow Floridian witches). Make garlands out of cranberries, popcorn, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Garlands made from fresh ingredients should be checked for mold, but shouldn’t attract critters unless you make a chocolate bonbon garland.
2. Enchanted Ornaments: There’s a craft that I’ve been wanting to do for years that I never get around to, and it’s making witchy ornaments. This year, it’s finally happening. Specifically, I got clear plastic ball ornaments (because I will drop them) and before our coven’s Yule ritual we are going to fill them with various herbs and crystals with specific correspondences. These would make awesome coven gifts, too, and could be tailored to the recipients by addings names, symbols, or sigils with paint markers. These fillable ornaments are widely available online, and are available in many sizes as well. Update: My directions are available on the site now.
3. Handmade Snow Globes: A fun Yule craft is making your own snow globes; this craft can be done with witchlings too, provided they are old enough and/or responsible enough. All you need are jars, fillers (small plastic toys, tumbled crystals, or anything that’s small and won’t dissolve in water), glitter or fake snow, aquarium glue or E6000, and water. Using waterproof glue, affix items to the inside of the lid of the jar – that will be the bottom of your snow globe – to form a scene, and let dry completely. Add glitter, fake snow, snowflake confetti, or whatever you want floating around, to the bottom of the jar, and fill partially with water. Test with the lid to see how much water your items displace, then glue the lid to the jar with waterproof glue and let dry. Once it’s dry, flip the jar over, and you have a beautiful, handmade snowglobe. You can even write the year on it and make it an annual tradition in your household.
4. Mulled Cider: This is one of my coven’s traditions that I always look forward to; if there’s mulled cider in my cup, it’s Yule. Some companies sell special mulling spices, and there are no shortage of recipes, but they’re all fairly similar. Generally, mulled cider will include heating unfiltered apple cider and adding orange peel, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and allspice. I add fresh cranberries and a small apple to my cider; when the apple peel splits, I know it’s ready to drink!
5. New Year’s Goals: Setting New Year’s Resolutions is a modern tradition, but I like to put my twist on it by setting New Year’s Goals instead. Instead of trying to change a bunch of things about yourself (resolutions), brainstorm a list of accomplishments you’d like to check off at the end of the year. I then write monthly goals, so I’m checking in with myself regularly. You could also set couple, coven, or family New Year’s Goals as well.
6. Pine Cone Bird Feeders: I can’t think of many pagans who don’t like making simple pine cone bird feeders to help our feathered friends get through the winter. They’re so popular that people even see special pine cone bird feeder stands and Martha Stewart even has a recipe for making them. The principal is very simple, you attach the cone (found naturally) to a natural string, add peanut butter (vegan) or suet (not vegan, needs to be warmed), then roll the pine cone in birdseed, and place outside. This makes a wonderful craft for families that have witchlings as well. Just be sure to avoid preserved or store bought pine cones because they have harsh chemicals on them.
7. Sweet Treats: Last year for Yule I made cayenne dark chocolate truffles for my coven’s feast, and they were a hit. They were delicious, and I was really proud of them. I got my recipe from Faerie Magazine, but this recipe looks pretty similar. Special hot cocoas, gourmet marshmallows, or those fancy chocolate dipped spoons are some more ideas for great Yuletide treats your coven will love. One year I made cake pops, and learned that they are very messy, plus I forgot the sticks, but everyone liked the ‘cake balls’ that resulted. You can also try out my Yuletide pound cake recipe that I’ve been using for over 10 years.
8. Wreath Making: One of my favorite yuletide activities is making the annual wreath from pine boughs. Many holiday tree sellers will save the lower branches (aka greens), that are taken off, for people who make their own wreaths. Sometimes you have to buy a tree to get them, while others give them away for free. It’s best to ask around; some tree sellers have wreath makers on staff, in which case they probably won’t give away greens for free. Even if you have an artificial tree (me) using the discarded branches is a good way to keep trees from going to waste. The wreath can be made in an hour or so using a simple wire frame available at craft stores. Wreaths are a traditional symbol of the Wheel of the Year and can be further decorated or left au natural. My wreath for Yule 2017 can be seen here (click to view larger).
I hope that these ideas help you and yours have a beautiful Yule season. It’s one of my favorite sabbats, and I can’t help but get excited about it. As the years go on, the things I remember the most are the things that were handmade, and not so much the gifts that were bought. If you have the time or ability to make things by hand, it will add a lot to your Yuletide season. Blessed be, friends.
Header image via Pexels
Wreath image by me