Yule / Xmas

Discussions about festivals

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Postby wherethewildrosesgrow » Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:07 pm

Moongoddess wrote:I think I'm just a heathen.... I start celebrating as soon as decently possible in December and carry on right through to the end of January when it my birthday and imbolc :lol: :lol:





:lol: :lol: :lol: love it!
where the willow weeps tears of diamond
and the oak bleeds pearls of dew
I have often dreamed there....
have you?

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Postby Taz » Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:58 pm

Well, coming from what would loosely termed a traditional English 'Christian' background, we celebrate Christmas with parents, grandparents etc and Yule/Solstice in our own manner in line with our personal beliefs.
My husband is pretty much a Pagan these days, by association :wink: :D :wink: (actually, he starts celebrating and getting ready right after Firework Night!) and my daughter is Pagan by virtue of her own decision when she turned 18 several years ago: her older step brothers are lapsed :roll: :wink: Catholics via their late Mum who was a very devout lady so they are all about Midnight Mass, carols and cribs! The older folk who visit just want an old fashioned Christmas: eat loads, drink loads, play a few games, watch the Queen and then fall asleep........!
We tend to mix the decorations/celebrations so as to suit all: we have gaudy baubles and tinsel alongside the cut and living holly and ivy, there's a very Pagan looking 'Angel' on top of the tree, carols and Pagan chants are played and I still hang up stockings for the kids. If we didn't see the boys or the rest of our family then maybe we'd be totally Yule focused but I don't want to upset or alienate older folk just to prove a point about faith - I personally don't feel the need :D.
I do believe it's possible to come to a compromise so that every one is happy or at least catered for!!!
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Greymalkin » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:52 pm

Like I said, in my family we never celebrated Christmas as anything other than a 'being together' time.
There's me and my three sisters and nephew plus mum and dad and remaining grandparents and we rarely have an opportunity at any other time of the year to all be in the one place at the same time.

I think it's important to uphold the celebration of christmas because religious meanings to one side it's part of British culture along with Guy Fawkes Night, New Year, and all the rest.
Heaven knows our culture and identity is slowly being whittled away enough as it is so it's important we continue these things.

As for some ideas of what we do to entertain everybody, there are the obvious games, no matter what flashy new toy comes out each year good old fashioned monopoly takes some beating!

I try to make my own decorations in the run up to Yule (when I have the time) not for any other reason than it's fun.
I go out and find my yule log in the local park, flatten one side so it doesn't roll over, hammer a couple of nails into the top to put a red and green candle on it and place it on a bed of freshly cut holly.
Voila! Instantly attractive-looking Yule log.

Something else I like making is decorations for the tree.

Get some large oranges (the bigger the better) and slice them very thinly, coat them in lemon juice, put the oven on at a very low heat (and I mean very low, we don't want to cook them!) put the slices in the oven to dry out. Put a piece of gold thread through each and hang on the tree.

Small bunches of cinnamon sticks tied with pretty coloured ribbon makes attractive tree decorations as well.
In fact, pretty ribbons tied in a bow make lovely tree decorations on their own.

To entertain the kids, get bits of tissue paper and using small pieces get them to stick bits on a piece of very thin paper to make a seasonal image, could be a robin, holly sprig, a snowman, etc, then tape them to a sunny window. They really are quite pretty and keeps kids quiet for hours. After Yule the whole lot can be recycled.

Other tree decorations can be paper cornucopias. Decorate one side with glitter or get kids to colour it in, roll it into a 'trumpet' shape and put little gifts inside or sweets. Make a little hole, lace some gold thread through and hang them on the tree.

And of course my favourite, easy-peasy mulled wine.
A bottle of red wine, a carton of fresh orange juice, 2 teaspoons of powdered cinnamon, half a grated nutmeg, 6 dessertspoons of Brandy.
Chuck the whole lot in a large saucepan and simmer on a low heat until it boils.
Allow it to cool down, throw in some chunks of oranges and apples and wey-hey!!!

Just call me Martha Stewart.
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Postby Sujee » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:00 pm

I am a demon for mulled wine! :twisted:

I always make my own too using a herb bag and brown sugar and orange juice as well.

I have felt decorations for my tree and wooden ones which I found in Ikea the other year. I like it simple with clear lights and a real tree which I mulch afterwards with the Round Table to raise money and put on our local flower beds.

I make my own puds too using an adapted Delia recipe (no mixed peel or cherries - ugh!) and fed with barley wine, stout and Drambuie.....mmm! I am getting requests from friends already for their puds this year so as I am being frugal this Yule, that will be their present too - wrapped in muslin with a parcel tag and ribbons.

Getting excited already :lol: :roll:
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Postby Greymalkin » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:30 pm

I almost forgot! Tea light lanterns!!!

Actually, you can do these for all the festivals of the year. You'll need some coloured stiff paper or thin card.
Fold the paper so you make a 'box' shape. Cut out seasonal shapes and on the inside of the box glue coloured tissue paper, so for example if you cut out a holly sprig shape use red tissue paper for the berries and green for the leaves.
Fold the paper back into a box shape and tape the ends together so it stays put.
Put it over a tea light and it will colour the whole room.

As I said, these can be made for all eight festivals just by changing the picture to something of the season.
Obviously you will need different coloured card for each sabbat, maybe Black for Samhain, Red for Yule, Navy Blue for Imbolc, Light Green for Spring Equinox, Dark Green for Beltaine, Light Yellow for Midsummer, Dark Yellow or Gold for Lammas and Brown for Autumn Equinox.

Let your imagination run wild.
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Postby Carprimulgidae » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:10 pm

your making me feel hungrey :cry:
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Postby MISTYCAT » Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:54 am

There are some brilliant ideas on here - I'm going to try Greymalkins 'orange slices' and cinnamon sticks this year. I'm also making me own pud too.

I tend to celebrate Yule myself, by myself - just a quiet token of acknowledgement from me. I then do the 25th with the family. I'm looking for ideas as to what I can do on Yule though. I like Greymalkins idea of the log but can't imagine I'm going to find a lovely log.

Does anyone do any rituals on Yule, simple ones?

Looking forward to it all - doing my gift buying already! Once Samhain is finished, I'm on a countdown!
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Postby Moongoddess » Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:34 am

Greymalkin said

Get some large oranges (the bigger the better) and slice them very thinly, coat them in lemon juice, put the oven on at a very low heat (and I mean very low, we don't want to cook them!) put the slices in the oven to dry out. Put a piece of gold thread through each and hang on the tree.

Small bunches of cinnamon sticks tied with pretty coloured ribbon makes attractive tree decorations as well.
In fact, pretty ribbons tied in a bow make lovely tree decorations on their own.


These smell lovely too :D :D
I also like to take a whole orange and stick cloves in to hang up at Yule/Christmas.......makes the whole rooms smell really nice....far better than artificial room fresheners

We are lucky enought to have an open fire....I love to collect pine boughs from the pine tree at the bottom of the garden and trim them around the fire with some handmade decorations and the odd orange too. Smells really nice, especially when the fire's lit :D
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Postby solsticedreamer » Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:15 am

i have both yule and christmas.

being a very solitary, solitary i do my own thing like i do at other festivals and christmas is a small family gathering of me and swampy at my mums with sam and our nan. sam and i do the cooking every year and generally we play games and of course dog walking over the forest.
this year will be better as we now live a ten minute walk to the other end of the village rather than a 50 mile drive :)

i guess with decorations i tend to meld the two, tree with lots of natural decorations, felt bits and bobs, i always make my own wreath and other bits and bobs, like dried oranges, cranberry strings and lights are small clear only. and i always make sure the house smells of cinnamon/cranberry etc :D

oh and i love a glass or two of mead of course although this year i need to find a new source...better start hunting :)

oh and another thing about being back in the village is they always have a fayre in the village centre, all decorated with lights and tree's with hot chestnut sellers etc and as its at night it feels really nice :)
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Postby Greymalkin » Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:06 pm

Morrison's sell a lovely bottle of Mead, not too expensive either.
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Postby wherethewildrosesgrow » Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:54 pm

Greymalkin wrote:Morrison's sell a lovely bottle of Mead, not too expensive either.


they sure do! [smilie=msn_wink.gif] but you can't bead a good Lindisfarne Mead :P
where the willow weeps tears of diamond
and the oak bleeds pearls of dew
I have often dreamed there....
have you?

http://wherethewildrosesgrow.co.uk
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Postby Beantighe » Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:20 pm

I'm afraid I don't have much in the way of family, just my three daughters, and at the moment I haven't heard what any of them are doing for Yule/Xmas. They do tend to spring things on me unannounced. Hubby's youngest son, aged 25, is the only one of his four children who lives near us, and he'll probably be with his girlfriend and her family. Another son and daughter and their families live up North, and one daughter and family live in Minorca. So as it stands at the moment, it'll be just hubby and me for Yule and Xmas. I do decorate the house, though, but I'm hoping one day that hubby'll treat me to a new Xmas tree. I've got a lovely whole leg of lamb in the freezer that I've been saving for Xmas dinner - yum!

By the way, Greymalkin, I really love your ideas for decorations and mulled wine. Only one little piece of advice - don't allow the mulled wine to boil, or you'll evaporate all the alcohol! :shock: Just heat it to just below boiling point and it'll blow your socks off!! :wink: Sounds wonderful! And I'm quite partial to a wee drop of mead at Xmas, too!

Love Beantighe
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Postby Greymalkin » Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:35 am

Beantighe wrote:By the way, Greymalkin, I really love your ideas for decorations and mulled wine. Only one little piece of advice - don't allow the mulled wine to boil, or you'll evaporate all the alcohol!


You're absolutely right of course, I only said to boil it because I posted with the kids in mind. If they take part making it then they will want a drop. :)
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Postby Daffodil » Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:19 am

My house smelt lovely last night.
I found some oranges in the reduced section of the supermarket and had a go at slicing them and drying them out in the oven.

I plan to thread them into a string and decorate the tree with them. I might also make some into hanging bauble type decorations and thread beads on the ends too.

Lots of ideas right now, just need an extra few hours each day to get them all done. If I get anything finished I will post it on the arty-farty thread.

:D
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Postby Firecracker » Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:35 am

Ooooh, so if I follow you instructions GreyMalking and actually let it boil a while it will be an alcohol-free mulled wine that I can drink while pregnant????

This would be a lovely alternative to fuit juice as the weather gets colder :D
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