Saturday, December 10, 2011

How Do You Celebrate Yule In a Mixed Pagan Faith Family?

Today I’m going to go a bit to the personal side for my entry into The Yuletide Ball Yule Blog Party hosted by:
I’ll admit as a family we have yet to truly celebrate Yule in our house. Really I’m not sure how to do it.
As I’ve shared before I’m Heathen, I don’t identify as Asatru because I have some beliefs that don’t follow true enough and I feel using the more general term is safer.
My Hubby is an Eclectic-Pagan but has never been fully immersed in it. He’s still in his discovery period.
Right now he leaves all religious practices to me to orchestrate because I have a lot more experience in both my faith and even in eclectic paganism. (I went so far as a first degree with an eclectic church many years ago so I have the basics pretty good though a bit rusty.)
As of right now I’ve always been trying to do a hybrid practice in our house but I’m considering altering that a bit for Yule. Ethically my Hubby is very Heathen, and I swear if he were to hang around a bunch of heathen guys he would either love them or hate them. Love them because of similar views or hate them because they’d butt heads. I think I’m going to stop trying the hybrid because well I’m just not feeling it.
Yule is the Holiday of all Holidays for Heathens. It isn’t just 1 night either, it spans for 12. Hence, where the 12 days of Christmas came from.
I’ve never practiced Yule solitary though. I have only ever done so with a group, also only a group of adults. I’m not sure how to bring in the kids to it but I am determined to do so.

My current Yule Plan:

December 20th: Mother’s Night
    • We’ll have a family feast and maybe invite some close friends over to join us.
    • The kids can have one tiny gift to open.
    • We light the Yule log (or Yule log substitute as we don’t have a fire place)
    • The kids go to bed and maybe the adults have a Sumbel.
December 21st – 31st: We light the Yule Log every night
December 24th:
  • We’re having dinner at my Brother’s with his family.
  • Set out cookies for Santa.
December 25th:
  • Every year I make cinnamon rolls or sticky buns for breakfast just like my mother.
  • We open the rest of the gifts.
December 31st:
  • End of Yule feast.
  • Sumbel / New Years Resolutions

Yule Crafts & Holiday Traditions:

As always I like to incorporate crafts into what our family does.
  • This year I made a countdown calendar IMG_0250that goes from Dec. 1st to the 25th and shows the  beginning of Yule. On it the kids decorate a holiday scene. The picture of it is partially decorated as we aren’t done with the countdown yet. On Mother’s Night the kids will add a fire to the fireplace. There will even be cookies and milk for Santa along with many other things.
  • We always make cookies. This year I may try to make the shortbread recipe my mother gave me. It was originally my great-grandmother’s. Hubby loves it but oh is it awful for you.
  • Make our own Yule Log. Maybe like this one pictured here that I found at Pagan Pages.
  • I’m considering making a Yule Goat like Freckles: The Happy Heathen talked about. I’m not sure though. Though I’m heathen I’m not Norwegian and that is more specifically a tradition from there.
  • Every year we always watch our favorite holiday movies. Yes some are really Christmas themed but it’s about the spirit more then anything. They include:

No matter exactly how you celebrate Yule is about family and spending time together. Ours definitely isn’t traditional anything. We have a mix of traditions from our own upbringings mixed in with our faith. Somehow we’ll make it into a cohesive unit for the kids.
What traditions do you do in your family and how do you bring it all together?


  1. I have never truly celebrated Yule either. The Mortician is athiest and the rest of the family either devote Chrisitians or at least Chrisitian enough that the idea of celebrating a pagan holiday is not only scary but grounds for going to hell. Haha! So, we still celebrate on the 25th. I think for children, its easier just to celebrate on the 25th and call it Christmas. Kids can be cruel to those who believe differently, especially when they don't know better.

  2. This will be our third year! I'm kind of in the same with you, where I'm pretty comfortable with my path and the hubs is still on the path to discovery. He leaves most of it up to me. He's a Heathen and I'm a Shamanic Witch. We do Yule/Winter Solstice when it falls with a feast, the lightning of the Yule log candles, and I ended the evening with a ritual, giving offerings to our deities, Ancestors, and Spirits. Then come, the 24th/25th, we do Christmas with the family. I would like to combine them, but we're the only Pagans in the family--everyone else thinks it's weird; but we focus on the aspects of family, love, and fun. When we have kids, hopefully we'll have more traditions and lore for them. Blessings. ~)O(~

  3. Over the years my family tradition has evolved. I'm an eclectic pagan, for lack of any better term, and my husband is atheist. Often our celebrations include friends who are other faiths.

    Starting on the 21st, the kids open a gift each night (usually starting with something seasonal like new pjs or a sweater). On solstice we have feast, light candles, listen to music and tell stories. One Night between Winter Solstice and Christmas Eve, we watch "The Hogfather". On Christmas Eve, we set out cookies for Santa/the Winter King (who only brings hand made items). Christmas Day, I make a big lunch and we sit around and play, call the friends and family who celebrate Christmas. The kids open the rest of their gifts. Then for New Years, we travel to visit my husband's grandmother who spends New Years in NV with my mother-in-law.

    I think all that matters is that you develop a pattern that your family enjoys. My kids now help pick out ornaments that suit our collection, pick out dinner and fix it. They understand that other people celebrate different winter holidays and that it's all about being together.

    Happy Yule and many blessings to your family!

  4. The idea that you can only follow one faith or creed is linear Western thinking, subscribed to by only a portion of the world. I say fling the doors of faith wide open, have beliefs that you believe in a literal fashion and beliefs that you believe in a metaphorical sense and celebrate them all. Whether you call it Yule, Christmas, Hanukkah or something else, if it has bright lights on the darkest nights, evergreens and streaks of red, it's Winter Solstice anyway.

  5. Just thought I would mention that I think the Patrick Stewart version of "A Christmas Carol" is the best. He is a great Scrooge!!

  6. This sounds like a lovely Yule holiday! Thanks for participating - Dana and I really appreciate it!

  7. IMerry meet!
    I enjoyed your post very much, as it touches on things i think many of us deal with.
    I come from a christian family...fairly active, hubby was raised RC, but was not active when we met, we started going regularly to a methodist church for several years...until some awful behavior by adults towards my 2 youngest children, was shown to me in public, not just through the kids telling me about it. i left the church, hubby left before me.
    then for many years I battled with my faith and beliefs as many, many bad things kept befalling me, my family, and my extended family...especially my newly born Grand niece who was born with an awful, fatal disease that causes daily EXCRUCIATING pain, pain to the point of her not breathing, turning blue and needing CPR. What God does that to an innocent child? that and my on-the-job injury that took my job, career and ability to work away, where the 2 straws that broke the camel's back and I starting reading.

    as of last Autumn I considered my self new on the path of a neo-pagan solitary witch.
    This year I had my first alters for Mabon and Samhain, and I am making one for yule.
    Sadly, there isn't going to be any gifts or much in the way of celebrating as we are completely broke, and the kids are grown and out. but I do plan on have a yule log cake next year, and burning a yule log outside. (we have wood stoves no fireplaces.
    so this year an alter and ritual, next year the same plus 2 logs (1 edible and 1 to burn) and I hope maybe to add more and let it grow each year.
    I hope you find a comfortable mesh. I get the newsletter from for pagans, and just read about 2 articles where children were singled out for being by other kids and the other by a teacher...IN THIS DAY AND AGE??? I am afraid I must still be a bit naive, as i blieved in this electronic age where knowledge is all around us for the taking that ignorance that certainly would not be in a teacher's tool box! sad!

    well, let's dwell on the beauty and love of the season :)
    Blessed Yule to you and yours!
    Love n Light,

    come see my post

  8. I have always felt that being a good person, striving to do the right thing, and above all, respecting ALL life, including plant, animal and the earth itself is what it's all about. I have never subscribed to any religion, as I do not believe in a 'god'. We do celebrate holidays however, as a time for us to honor family and friends and the changing seasons.(AND because I love to decorate)! Thank you for sharing your traditions!

    Wishing you a wonderful season!

  9. Because my husbands side is very Christian, and my side is loves the holiday so much, we still have a lot of actual Christmas traditions. Right now, our Yule celebrations aren't very defined, but each year I try to add a little something new to the mix. So far, the biggest thing is they receive a hand made gift from me, and we have a special dinner. As they grow older I know our Yule traditions will evolve.

    Visiting from the Yuletide Blessings Blog Hop!


    If you can catch it on tv or buy the video, "The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus" Is IMHO the best pagan Yule movie. :-P But that is just me. LOL



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