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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 69 - 12/3/2001
What Are Your Favorite Yule Traditions or Memories?
What memories does the season of Yule invoke within you? What was your favorite one? What Yule traditions have been passed down to you and which ones will you hope to pass down in your family? What special celebrations, gift ideas or recipes would you like to share with us? As the Priest and/or Priestess of YOUR home, what energies or magick do you utilize to create your sacred space? Have others felt it when they have entered your home?
| Reponses: There are 17 responses posted to this question.
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| Mostly I Am A Scrooge About Christmas; Everyone Seems To Want To... ||Nov 28th. at 2:24:33 pm EST|
|Erin "Kyle" (Burlington, Ontario CA) ||Age: 25 |
Mostly I am a Scrooge about Christmas; everyone seems to want to make the perfect Normal Rockwell (or Martha Stewart) Christmas and they always wind up overstressed and can't enjoy themselves anyway. Since my husband and I are both pagan, I think--I hope--we will be toning down the whole Christmas thing as our son grows up, and celebrating Yule instead.
I do have one good Christmas memory though.
My paternal grandmother made a wonderful tradition of giving me a Christmas tree ornament every year. I was her first granddaughter (after about 6 grandsons) so I guess she felt like marking the occasion.
When I was little I used to hang all the ornaments myself. After I started university, I usually wasn't home in time to help decorate the tree, so my family would hang them for me. Someday (maybe next year) my husband and I will have our own Christmas tree and I can hang all my ornaments again.
| I Remember Sitting At The Top Of The Stairs With My Kid... ||Nov 29th. at 11:59:29 am EST|
|ƒowyn (Western, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
I remember sitting at the top of the stairs with my kid sister, both of us staring over the balcony from the second floor into the open living room and oogling over all the presents under the tree. We were small enough to slip our legs thru the bannister rungs. We dangled our feet thru the wrought iron as we wondered what Santa had left us, but knowing all along that all our Christmas wishes had come true. We had to be very quiet because it was super early and our perch was literally right ouside our our parents bedroom. When we finally woke them up, it was first to the hearth to grab the stockings ... and the Brach's chocolate marshmallow santas that had been left all over the house.
All of this, of course, is after us being up all night trying to hear Santa come down the chimney. She and I had separate rooms, but Christmas Eve was always spent sleeping is the same bed so that we could giggle into the night and the sugar plum faeries only had to make one stop.
The tree always looked so huge, decked out in silver and gold garland with gold satin balls hanging from it. And it was always a fake tree .... my father always believed that it was wrong to take down a living tree for decoration. He equated it to hunting for sport. I seem to follow in that tradition. Besides, fake trees are neater and pine scented candles do wonders :)
The only other tradition that I have taken with me is Santa Claus. I never can make him become the Holly King, despite being Pagan for over a decade. When I was starting to ask questions about Santa, my mother told me that she still believed in him because Santa is Love. It's is not about a fat man ladened with expensive things. It's not even about the things. It's about the care and heart that went into the giving. That is what love is.
There is a great Pagan story that explains this better than I can. If you want it, please email me. I will send it to you. It is great to read as an adult Pagan who has grown up with Santa ... and it is great to read to kids so that they can enjoy him too :)
May Santa bless you all,
| Lights, Music, Potatoes!!! I'm A Light Person. I Currently Have Almost 1,500... ||Nov 30th. at 5:30:13 pm EST|
|drekfletch (Wolfeboro, New Hampshire US) ||Age: 19 - Email |
Lights, Music, Potatoes!!!
I'm a light person. I currently have almost 1, 500 lights that I start stringing about the second week of November. Then, on Thanksgiving, we light them all for the first time. The lights set the initial mood of the season.
Next comes the music. I absolutely adore Christmas music. All the traditional (religiously centered) pieces are well written, and they convey the joy they tell about extremely well, to me at least. And the soft, quiet songs are very peaceful.
And finally, potato candy. This is a recipe that my family makes every year. It is mostly, almost all, sugar, but the base is potato.
Start with one potato's worth of mashed potato. We do this on large dinner plates. Add a little vanilla, I'd guess about a teaspoon, maybe two, and a little butter. Then mash in a little confectioners sugar. Continue to add confectioners sugar slowly until it reaches the consistency of playdough.(A note to parents: younger children will not have the strength to mix in the last few rounds of suger.) Then, shape into balls, ropes, etc., decorate with sprinkles, nuts, chocolate chips and eat. It is okay to let them dry on the counter overnight.
| My Favorite Christmas Memories Are Many, But I Have Some Absolute Faves... ||Dec 1st. at 11:30:35 pm EST|
|Bryony Ravenwillow (Kansas City, Missouri US) ||Age: 33 |
My favorite Christmas memories are many, but I have some absolute faves....When I was little my mom would bake sugar cookies. Each year my sisters and I would bring her the cookbook holding the recipe and beg her to make the cookies. We'd cut them out with a variety of different shapes of cookie cutters: bells, stars, reindeer, gingerbread men, etc, and then we'd decorate them with colored sugar, sprinkles, and those little silver and gold colored dragees that are so hard they threaten to crack a tooth when you bite them. We would save the most perfect ones to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve night the weatherman would show where Santa was on his special "Santa Radar", so we knew we had to go to bed soon or he would pass by our house!
We were always up early Christmas morning, while it was still dark to look at what Santa had left us under the tree. We would shake a few packages, then go and see the proof that Santa had really been at our house: the leftover cookie crumbs on the plate and the dribble of milk left in the glass. By then mom would tell us to go back to bed, so we'd all grab our bulging stockings and take the early loot back with us to our bedrooms, and content ourselves with that until it came time to open presents. We were not allowed to open gifts until dad finally woke up and we ate breakfast, usually banana pancakes and sausage. Then dad would hand out our presents. Later in the day mom would gather us together and we'd have our pictures taken in front of the tree, and then we'd have Christmas dinner. Some years we would have turkey, and other years we had ham.
Now that I'm pagan, I am still in the process of combining Christmas memories with new Yule traditions. While I still celebrate Christmas with my family, I gather with friends on Yule to exchange gifts and hold ritual and eat. It's a good time with lots of laughing and good fellowship and cheer. On the Christmas side I got to put up my very own tree for the first time this year, decorated with as many strings of lights as it would hold and lots of stars and pinecones for decorations. I have evergreens on my altar, a holly garland in the doorway separating the living room and dining room, even mistletoe! I send Christmas cards to my relatives, usually ones with evergreens, reindeer, or winter woodland themes, and they never say 'Merry Christmas', but 'Season's Greetings' or 'Happy Holidays'. If I ever find one wishing a 'Joyous Yule' or similar I will definitely get it to send! Even my wrapping paper is usually printed with reindeer, holly, pinecones, or snowflakes. I try to sneak in as many pagan elements as possible. And now that I will soon have a stepson, I am going to continue the tradition of baking Christmas cookies, so he will have something to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve.
Christmas and Yule traditions are so closely intertwined that I never feel guilty about celebrating Christmas. Though they have different names, both celebrate the birth of the Sun/Son, and are beacons of love, hope, and peace, which are things to be especially treasured in these times.
| Light And Song. Yule Was Trimming The Tree, One Strand Of Icicle... ||Dec 2nd. at 4:45:50 pm EST|
|Sage (Olivet, Michigan US) ||Age: 49 |
Light and song. Yule was trimming the tree, one strand of icicle at a time while taking breaks to drink candy cane stirred cocoa. We'd sing carols as we decorated, my dad would lead. He had the most beautiful, deep, bass voice and he knew ALL the songs. Yule was light. My parents let me sleep on the couch while the tree was up so I could see the lights. I discovered the one benefit of being nearsighted almost to blindness. Christmas lights expand to fill your universe with a magical blending of red, blue, green, white...
Now, Yule is still light, song and now smell. I cook bread and cookies and stews and soups and turkey with all the trimmings. I still sleep on the sofa, but now with my own little one and the lights are still as magical. I still sing, but my Dad's bass notes have gone on and been replaced by the beauty of a 7 year old's soprano.
Whether I was 8, 28, 38 or 48. I knew and know that when I sleep something magical happens and the world is transformed when I wake. Call it what you will (I still call it Santa) there is a beauty, a freshness to the morning during Yule. I wish all of you the joy of the coming year and the return of the Sun.
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