Yule is almost upon us! As a Pagan parent how do you celebrate Winter Solstice or Yule time with your kids? Yule celebrates the time when the sun begins to return to us. It is the shortest day, and the longest night. It’s a great time of year to get cozy by the fire, drink hot drinks, share meals, and reflect on some of the things we’d like to focus on in the year coming. Here are a few ideas to get you and your little ones into the holiday spirit!
Printable Yule Activity Pack
We’ve created a cute activity pack that you can download and print at home.
Much of the symbolism of Christmas is the same as that from Yule, which is due to Christmas’ Pagan origins. We’ve tried to make this pack lean a little more towards Yule than just wintery/Christmas, so you’ll see some celebrations of the sun and in there, as well as some other things that are generally familiar to the winter holiday season as well.
There’s a Yule word search with pagan-themed words, some mazes and my personal favourite, the Yule Wishes & Goals page.
Yule Spells for Kids
If you want to add a bit of magic to printables above, use the Wishes & Goals page to have your child write down their intentions for the year. Next, roll it up into a tube and tie it with some red string or ribbon and burn it with your yule log or in your cauldron or other safe burning vessel. Visualize the wishes/goals as the paper burns. Be sure to focus on the wishes and goals they wrote.
Kitchen Witchery - Bake Bread
A really satisfying activity is to bake some fresh bread with your child. Everyone in the family can take turns kneading their intentions into the dough. Later, partake in the bread together with your Yule feast. You can use any bread recipe you like, here is a simple crusty French dough that I love:
- 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 3 C all purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 C warm water
- 1/2 tbsp cornmeal
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- olive oil
(Makes 1 large loaf.)
Combine 1 cup of flour, yeast and salt. Stir in 1 cup of warm water. Combine until well blended. Stir in remaining flour. On a lightly floured surface, knead until the dough is stiff, smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes total. Each person should take turns kneading their intentions into the dough. Form dough into a smooth ball. Coat a bowl with olive oil (ruled by the Sun, perfect to use for the Winter Solstice) and place the dough inside. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until double in size. I suggest keeping it by the stove while you cook the rest of the Yule feast.
Once it has doubled, punch it down. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Roll out into a large rectangle. Roll up, starting on the long side. Seal the edges and taper the ends.
Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place the loaf seam side down on the sheet. Lightly beat egg and water together and brush on the top. Cover with kitchen towel and let rise until about doubled, approximately 40 minutes.
Score the top of the loaf with a very sharp knife or lame. You can get creative with this or just go for a few classic diagonal lines.
Bake 375F (190C) for about 40 minutes. When the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the top it is done! Enjoy with your feast and imagine your intentions coming to fruition.
Bonus idea: form your loaf into the shape of a sun with a face to represent the return of the light!
Burn a Yule Log
Note: If you don’t have a fireplace or fire pit, another option is to drill holes into a log and burn candles in it instead.
Traditionally the Yule log should be quite huge- large enough to burn for several days, or at the very least burn through the longest night of the year. That's not typically done anymore! It’s the symbolism and intention that is the most important part. We’re burning the log to ensure prosperity and protection of the house for the year to come. If you can, keep a small piece of the log for following year, and use it to start the next Yule fire. Decorate your Yule log with fir or other tree parts that are native to your region, twine, ribbon- choose colors that represent the types of energy you would like to bring to your life in the coming year.
Write some wishes for the year to come on slips of paper and tie them to the log before setting it ablaze.
As you burn the Yule log, recite the following:
May the log burn,
May the wheel turn,
May evil spurn,
May the Sun return!
Make Yule Tree Ornaments
Does your family already have a Christmas tree? Great news! The tradition of bringing a tree inside and decorating it originates from Pagan traditions. Why not add some Yule or Winter Solstice themed ornaments to your tree?
This year with my toddler we created a thumbprint sun ornament out of air-dry clay. You can also use salt dough. Roll it to about 1/4″ thickness, then cut out a circle with a glass or cookie cutter. Use the child’s thumbprint to make the rays of the sun. Once the ornament has dried (or baked) you can let them paint it.
You could also create some sigil ornaments to hang on your Yule tree. Choose some runes that fit your intentions for the year (love, prosperity, family, etc.) and draw them into the dough/clay. Paint them a color that corresponds to the intention.
Decorate with dried orange slices
A symbol of the sun, dried orange slices are a perfect way to decorate your home for the Yule season. Don’t have a dehydrator? No worries. Just put your oven on the lowest temperature possible, spread the orange slices out in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake for a few hours. Once they are completely dry (almost brittle) they are done!
Have your child help string them on twine to hang from the windows or mantle, or turn them into Yule tree decorations.
I hope you found some of these ideas fun and useful. What are some family traditions you have with your kids for the Yule season?