Christmas – December 24-25.
People ask me all the time why I do so many “Christmassy” things if this is not my holiday? Well, that’s because there are a lot more similarities between the 2 holidays than most people realize.
And no, I’m not going to play the blame game, saying that ancient Christians stole this tradition or that one. It is what it is today because of an amalgamation of things. Traditions over the years have gotten intertwined so much that no one really knows what started where, not for sure. It’s pointless to start flinging blame when the whole point of the season is one of joy and goodwill.
Yule- Celebration of the birth of the Son who will become the God. Our holidays have a cyclical nature, following the seasons and what we call the Wheel of the Year. Yule sits at the top of that Wheel, as it is the official start of the new year for us. After the Winter Solstice, the days start to get longer, the sun starts warming things up, albeit very slowly. Life starts coming back. This is the day that the Goddess gives birth to the God, represented by the sun.
The Tree that gets decorated – You start with an evergreen tree. Evergreens don’t lose their needles in winter, like deciduous trees do. They stay alive all winter, bright and green, holding on. It’s a symbol of that eternal life, and that’s why I decorate a tree for Yule. It is a mass celebration of all the little “gifts” that we receive throughout the year. Ornaments and lights symbolizing all those precious memories and moments, laughter and tears. I use a fake tree, instead of a real one. Personal choice, as I can’t cut a living tree down for a holiday, not when I’m not going to actually use the wood to stay warm afterward. But the fake tree works just as well to remind me that life survives.
A family member recently asked me why I do “Christmas”, if it’s not my holiday. Well, I don’t really do Christmas. But there are members of my family that celebrate it. Members that are not pagan. I spend that time with them, because it’s about family, this holiday season, whatever you call it. My holiday, Yule, is spent giving home-made gifts, things I spent my own time and heart on, to the other people that appreciate and celebrate this holiday.
And yes, when someone tells me “Merry Christmas” I thank them, and say “Happy Holidays” back.
Just to be fair.