Happy Yule! Decorations, Gifts, and the Yule Tree

Updated on December 21, 2018
kittythedreamer profile image

Kitty has extensively studied the history, traditions, and celebration of ancient and modern holidays.

A Yule Wonderland

Whether you live in a winter wonderland or in the tropics, winter solstice is about celebrating all we have in our lives.
Whether you live in a winter wonderland or in the tropics, winter solstice is about celebrating all we have in our lives. | Source

Happy Yule to All!

Glittery snow covers the cold earth, and the animals and all of nature seem to be in a deep sleep. Your husband just finished placing the freshly cut fir tree in your living room, and your children can't stop talking about their upcoming presents. There's a ham cooking in the oven, and the smell of cinnamon undulates the air down the hallway.

What time of year is it? It's Yule time! Also known as the Winter Solstice, and celebrated by Christians on December 25th as Christmas. This Happy Yule article is going to present to you the meaning of Yule, some ideas for Yule decorations and Yule gifts, as well as ideas for the perfect Yule tree. Happy Yule!

The Goddess and the Oak & Holly Kings

The Yule Goddess
The Yule Goddess
The Oak King & The Holly King
The Oak King & The Holly King

The Meaning of Yule

Happy Yule everyone. This is the time of year to really focus in on what the meaning of Yule really is. Yule is the celebration of the winter solstice, which means on a more mundane level that this night is the longest of the year and the day is the shortest of the year. Yule is also the official changing of the tides...when the seasonal tide switches from the tide of recession to the tide of consolidation. But what are the ancient Pagan meanings of Yule?

Yule, the winter solstice, is known to many who practice Wicca and Celtic traditions as the time when the Oak King and the Holly King go to battle for who will rule the oncoming part of the year. The Holly King is defeated and the Oak King takes the crown. The Oak King will warm the land in preparation for another Spring and Summer season. Another belief is that the Mother Goddess gives birth to the sun god on Yule. He will grow into a youth in the coming Spring. Others see Yule as the time when the Goddess goes into the underworld to bring back the sun for Spring, like the story of the Greek goddess Persephone. There are many Yule traditions and rituals and they vary from person to person. Despite the rituals and traditions, the true meaning of Yule is to celebrate the earth and it's coming Spring and to honor the gods, as well as to enjoy and appreciate our families and lives.

Yule Decor

Gingerbread men are traditional Christmas cookies but can be used in pagan decor too!
Gingerbread men are traditional Christmas cookies but can be used in pagan decor too! | Source

Simple Yule Decorations

Decorate for Yule just as you would for Christmas; there's not too much of a difference as much of the Christmas decorations we use today have Pagan roots.

Quick Yule Decorating Ideas:

  • holly, ivy and evergreen wreaths
  • evergreen garland
  • yule log
  • yule/Christmas tree
  • decorate your trees outside with red ribbon
  • hang lights on the outside of your home and inside your home
  • white and gold candles and symbols of the sun
  • colors red, green, and gold are traditional
  • poinsettia plants (fake or real...if real watch the plant around small kids and pets as it is poisonous if ingested!)
  • winter animals such as reindeer, polar bears, penguins, etc.
  • winter incense

Christmas wreaths work just as well for Yule as they do for Christmas. Poinsettias are beautiful in Yule wreaths, and maybe think of adding little goddess or Oak King & Holly King figurines or symbols to the wreath before hanging it on your door or above the fireplace.

Fir, yew, holly, ivy, and mistletoe were all used during the Winter Solstice in Celtic countries to symbolize the coming of rebirth and renewal of the earth. Snowflakes are beautiful decorations to use for Yule decorations and simple to find almost anywhere that sells holiday decorations. Remember that the Winter Solstice is also about celebrating the beauty of winter.

Reindeer and other winter animals can be used as simple Yule décor. We should use the Winter Solstice to also celebrate and commune with winter deities and winter animal guides. Symbolize this with reindeer, penguins, polar bears, etc.

Candles and symbols of the sun represent the growing day. Place red and green candles, as well as gold candles, all around your home and in the windows. Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons can be used in decorating, as throughout the centuries many Yule traditions included going wassailing and carrying citrus fruits to represent the return of the Sun.

The options are endless for simple Yule décor, just use your imagination and go with whatever reminds you of the reason for the season! Oh, and don't forget the Yule log!

Yule Gifts

Even though you might be celebrating Yule this year instead of Christmas, that doesn't mean you have to forego in the present-giving. Yule gifts, especially for Pagans, can be great fun to find and to give. Search online for special books of shadows and tools for the Pagan gift-receiver. Divination sets are fun gifts for Yule gift giving, too. Try rune sets, tarot cards, scrying mirrors, and crystal balls as Yule gifts.

Even books on Yule as a Sabbat (holiday) are a great Yule gifts. Use your imagination and good taste to pick out Yule gifts this year. And if the person you're buying for isn't Pagan, just call it a Christmas present...they won't know the difference.

Decorating the Yule Tree


The Yule Tree

The "Christmas" Tree actually has roots in Paganism... the ancient Celts in Europe would decorate the trees on the Winter Solstice, as well as on other Pagan holidays. The "Christmas" tree should actually be called the Yule tree, if you are indeed a Pagan.

To deck your Yule tree in Yule décor, look for ornaments that are shaped like stars, suns, and moons to symbolize the god and the goddess, as well as the growing daylight. Oak King and Holly King ornaments are great as Yule tree ornaments, as well as candles. Don't light real candles while on the Yule tree though, please! This is for your own safety.

Holly garlands are perfect for your Yule tree this year, as well as Star toppers. Or opt for a Yule fairy to top off the tree, instead of the typical angel toppers.

Fruit ornaments are perfect for Yule tree decorations, as well; particularly citrus fruit ornaments.

Happy Yule, everyone!

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Kitty Fields


    Submit a Comment

    • Chatkath profile image


      7 years ago from California

      Good job Kitty, it is amazing how similar the traditions really are, I enjoy finding out how and why they came about in different cultures and religions and is it a coincidence that the "true" meaning seems to be the same...

      Happy Yule! I do look forward to the Fall and Winter months! Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      Eiddwen - Thanks so much. You are too kind. Happy Yule to you!

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      What a brilliant hub,so well presented and one to bookmark.

      Here's to many more hubs to share on here.

      Take care and have a great day.


    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      writer20 - I hear ya. I figured I'd put it out there so that it can build up momentum until Yule hits! Hehe. Thanks!

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      7 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Wonderful hub. Although a litlle early for me to start thinking about the holidays and Christmas is my favorite time to dress the house up. beautiful and up


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