Taking the Brrr! Out of December with Winter Solstice Celebrations “Yule” Love
The twelfth month of the year is full-on festive! We have the winter solstice to celebrate — so cozy up for ideas on how to observe the onset of the season.
We’ve rounded the Sun yet again and are on the verge of winter once more. Instead of succumbing to the chill and darkness, let’s live it up!
What & When Is Winter Solstice?
The winter solstice — aka the hibernal solstice — is one of the two times during the year when the northern hemisphere is furthest from the Sun. This is why it’s also the shortest day of the year.
Because of how our calendars work and the angle of the planet, the winter solstice isn’t always on the same day. It’s usually on December 21 or 22 — this year, it falls on the 21st.
The winter solstice is often a time of reflection. We celebrate the ongoing cycle of life, the presence and passing of winter, and the eventual arrival of spring.
The Wiccan/Pagan Holiday of Yule
Wiccans and pagans have observed the winter solstice since who knows when — it goes back a long way, predating Christianity for sure. Yule is a Wiccan and pagan holiday associated with the winter solstice.
In the old days, Yule was its own separate thing. It was a November-/December-time festival that lasted for multiple days and coincided with the winter solstice. (Different sources give different descriptions, dates, and durations for Yule.) Today, many modern pagans and Wiccans observe Yule on the winter solstice.
According to Wiccan and pagan beliefs, the winter solstice/Yule isn’t just a time to rejoice in the return of the sun and the end of winter. It’s when the barriers between the worlds are the weakest, making it the perfect moment to connect with nature and celebrate the phases of life.
Get into the Solstice Spirit
This is such an awesome and wonder-filled season — it’s worth honoring that greatness. And, there are countless ways to do that.
Check out our ideas as a starting point, then branch out to find more suggestions. Guaranteed you’ll be creating your own winter solstice traditions in no time!
Opt for Alt Winter Clothes
Look the part and keep from freezing your butt off — that’s what a kickin’ cold weather wardrobe can do for you. There are loads of witchy, goth, punk, and other alternative fashion clothing options so go crazy with it.
- Dress for the occasion. It doesn’t matter if it’s solstice eve or one of the 12 days of Yule, you can notch your style up a peg or three with the right dress. One with a grimoire or celestial motif would be especially fitting and flattering.
- Let winter suit you to a T. If extra casual is more your speed, a tee is always a solid pick. They’re available in infinite holiday-appropriate designs and are insanely versatile. We love that they’re perfect for layering (because you know you’re going to end up at some scorching hot house party or bonfire).
- Fancify your footwork. Don’t forget about your feet! One of the best parts of winter is getting to wear kick@ss boots without feeling like you’re going to melt into a puddle. Platforms are also a spot-on solstice selection, if you like to avoid street/sidewalk muck….
Add Wintry Wiccan Touches to Your Home
Nature-inspired elements and symbol-laden décor are a quick and easy add an arctic blast of Wiccan to your space.
- Candles are always a “Yes.” Any and every room is just a bit cozier with the warm glow of some candles. Considering that they come in pretty much every size, shape, color, and scent — well, let’s just say you won’t ever get bored of your available choices.
- Plenty of plants is a plus. Holly branches in a vase, fragrant wreaths of evergreens, a bowl of pinecones, or even a hibernal botanical print will do the trick. You can really run with this theme and come up with natural home accents that are totally you.
- Go all in on the iconography. Think throw pillows with elves on them or wall art featuring a Yule tree. You can even find some cool rugs, curtains, or other décor to get you into the holiday mood.
Party Like a Pagan
With your home and clothes situations squared away, you’re primed and ready to celebrate some solstice with your friends and family. Whether you’re hosting or not, here are some festive options to explore:
- Get crafty. Make some wreaths, swags, trees, or bushes with pine, mistletoe, ivy, or other seasonal greenery. It’ll smell OMG woodsy fantastic and remind you of the never-ending circle of life.
- Get lit, wood you? We’re, of course, talking about your DIY Yule log. You can make a traditional one from a piece of oak adorned with berries, vines, spices, and such. (Or go the culinary route and make one of chocolate.) Then burn you log to symbolically rid yourself of any lingering bad juju.
- Gather and feast. Nothing says “celebration” more than family, friends, and food! Opt for dishes made from seasonal ingredients. Oh, and potlucking is A-OK.
- Enjoy some nature. Honor the Earth and heavens by spending a while outdoors. Obviously, what you do will depend on what works in your location and climate — but stargazing, picnicking, or taking a stroll are some simple, low-fuss options to ponder.
- Have a ceremony. It’s a special occasion after all and deserves to have some rites and rituals to mark its significance. Take this opportunity to reflect on the prior season or year and set intentions or goals for the next.
Winning with Winter Solstice Rituals & Traditions
The winter solstice reminds us to take stock of our recent past and start gearing up for what’s to come. It’s part of the endless cycle of death and renewal that people have been observing forever.
When it comes to partaking in wintertime festivities — you’ve got sh*t tons of ways to do this. From tweaking your outfits to fit the season to swapping in some chill home décor to enjoying some traditional Yule activities, you can fill these long months of short days with warm and sunny vibes.