My mom and I are going to start a 21 day countdown to Yule on Thursday, November 30th. We will be holding a short candle ritual each evening at sundown, and then will turn off the internet and do a Yule activity or craft together. We invite you to join us in slowing down every evening and truly enjoying and appreciating the season! To get ready, we put on my Yule playlist and made a Yule candle for the center of our Yule log:
We also went shopping and bought a bunch of tealight candles, a big log, and a spray of fake holly leaves and berries. We already had a little table, a festive tablecloth, and pine cones from a friend’s yard. This is how we put it all together:
The tealight candles are arranged in a spiral toward the larger center Yule candle. I found a great description of the meaning of spiraling into the center in this article:
“Spirals are believed to represent movement through experiences in life. The Celts in particular viewed this symbol as one of progressive development, growth and expansion as we make our journey towards the center and towards the light. At the spiral’s center is where we find spiritual balance and realize our deep connection to the eternal forces of nature and the universe.”
We will start by lighting the first tealight candle on November 30th, and will let it burn out while we decorate our Yule tree. The next night we will replace the burned out candle with a new one and light the first two candles. We will let them burn while we do a Yule craft or activity. Each successive night we will light an additional candle until all of the tealight candles are lit on December 19th. On Yule eve, we will transfer all of the candles to the table and burn our Yule log outside. Before the log finishes burning, we will light all of the candles, including the center Yule candle. It will burn all night during Solstice night and we will only extinguish it after greeting the sun on Yule morning. (To keep replacing the burned out tealight candles, and keep lighting new ones each night this way, we will need 230 candles for the three weeks. We thought about using votive candles instead, but tealights are inexpensive ($3.99 for 100 at Walmart) and we liked the idea of letting them burn out each evening.)
After we finished decorating our Yule log, we went to the tree lighting event in our town. They had holiday music playing and all the little children were lining up to see Santa!
All of the center of town was lit up with festive lights and most of the shops had decorated their windows
After walking through town, we drove around to see the houses that were already decorated. We haven’t put up any lights yet, so we really appreciated the families who have!
It was cold out, so we made hot cocoa to warm up when we got home! My favorite way to make it is with peppermint extract added to the cocoa and then topped with peppermint Dandies mini marshmallows!
We drank our cocoa and wrote up a list of crafts and activities we want to do during our countdown evenings. (I have a Yule board on Pinterest if you are looking for more ideas!) Here is our list:
- Decorate our indoor Yule tree with pre-made ornaments
- Make icicle ornaments for our indoor tree
- Game night
- Bake cookies
- Make bells for Solstice morning
- Make pinecone elf ornaments for our indoor tree
- Decorate mini Yule trees
- Make dried orange slice garlands
- Make spiced cider and read in bed
- Make witch’s ball ornaments for our indoor tree
- Make a Yule wreath
- Go find an outdoor tree
- Make bird treat ornaments for our outdoor tree
- Make pentacle ornaments for our indoor tree
- Plan our Yule menu
- Go on a nature walk with flashlights
- Make popcorn and have a movie night
- Plan our Yule log ritual for Yule eve
- Make lanterns for Yule eve
- Make a greenery spiral outside (Yule Bonfire will be at the center)
I’m not sure if we will get to all of these, and we may end up with multiple evenings spent reading or watching movies. But, no matter which activities we choose to do, we will be spending time together celebrating the long, dark evenings. We hope our countdown and activities will inspire you to also set aside time to truly enjoy this blessed Yule season!