Many of us were raised by Christian parents, so we often associate childhood Christmas celebrations with family togetherness, cheerful holiday music, yummy food, and awesome gifts. Whether Christmas is inspired by ancient Pagan festivities or purely a Christian holiday is irrelevant.
At Patheos, they make this point wonderfully by saying, “Christmas is a confluence of religious traditions, capitalism, story telling, and the human need to simply connect with those we love.”
In that same article they point out that some Christmas traditions are actually secular in origin, and I agree with their notion that part of the beauty of the holiday is its cosmpolitan embrace of non-religious, Pagan, and Christian imagery.
Maybe this is why a lot of Pagans are comfortable having their Yule celebrations on Christmas day. I am usually too busy to celebrate Yule on the day of the winter solstice. But I’m off work on Christmas! And if you have kids, good luck getting them to forgo the gift-giving and tree-decorating of the Christian holiday. A lot of Pagans come from Christian roots, so that feeds into their comfort with Christmas symbolism.
My favorite thing as a kid was decorating the Christmas tree — I enjoyed it more than opening gifts! Now that I’m a Pagan, I want to continue that tradition. If you feel the same way, here are some ideas on what you might adorn a “Yule tree” with:
- Decorate your tree with symbols of light and the sun: solar ornaments are good ideas.
- Colorful Christmas lights make perfect additions too!
- Symbols of winter: snowflakes cut out of paper, for example
- God images: tiny statues or portraits of solar gods and goddesses
- Herbal sachets: fill small, lacy bags with cinnamon, clove, and other dried seasonal herbs. A variation on this would be to create pomanders.
- Pinecones and acorns
- Prayers for the coming year
- Strands of popcorn and cranberries
Remember to bless your tree and have a wonderful Christmas!