1. Create some ice art. With overnight temperatures below freezing in most of the US, it’s the perfect time to make some impermanent art. Fill a rum cake pan with water, evergreens and cranberries and leave it outside to freeze. When it’s rock solid, place a candle in the center hole, light it and leave it on your front porch to welcome guests in from the cold during your holiday get together.
2. Make hot cocoa from scratch. There is nothing more heartwarming than a piping hot cup of real, homemade hot chocolate. Invite over some friends or gather your family to enjoy an evening in your living room around this delicious treat.
3. Build a Yule fire. Yule is most often associated with the Yule log, but you can also “season” a fire with traditional Yule herbs. Toss in a handful of cedar, a sprig of rosemary and a few pinches of frankincense to warm the house with the spirit of the season.
4. Buy a potted evergreen. Adorn it with traditional Yule decorations. Have everyone in the house write a holiday wish for the coming year on a piece of paper and bury the wishes in the root ball. When the holiday season is over, plant it in your yard as a reminder of hope and happiness throughout the year.
5. Donate your time to a local charity or homeless shelter. People are always lamenting the expense of the holiday season and its focus on materialism, but the true spirit of Yule is the giving of love and light to those around us. Nothing brings us closer to our spirits than service to our communities. In the cold weather months, there is an abundance of ways to give to those in need. Find one.
6. Make a natural wreath for the door. Bundle up and go for a walk to gather evergreens like cedar branches from a nearby forest. Use only items found in nature, like pine cones or uniquely shaped pieces of wood, to decorate it.
7. Bake something for the neighbors. Yule is the perfect time to connect to your community and nothing brings people together like rich, sugary, forbidden foods! Make something that includes seasonal spices such as cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
8. Start an indoor winter project. The weeks and months following Yule are the coldest of the year. We are brought closer to the hearth and the home, making it the perfect time to turn inwards and begin projects of deep reflection. Try starting an indoor project that you plan to carry through to the spring, like making a quilt or learning to knit.
9. Make your own witch balls. You may have noticed this time of year, the craft stores carry these clear Christmas balls that you can open and put stuff in. These are the perfect vehicle for making witch balls.
10. Gather the kids and tell the story of the Oak King and the Holly King. This classic tale is, of course, central to the Celtic Yule festivities. Make it part of your tradition! Have everyone in a circle cuddle up with some blankets and your homemade cocoa, and have the most theatrical person in your circle (you know the one) tell this story with imagination and flare.