them: so, do you celebrate Christmas?
me: no, we (my family) celebrate Yule, or winter Solstice, which is around the 21st of December.
them: what about presents? santa claus? christmas tree? everything else?
me: well, Yule is a celebration of the end of the fall and the beginning of winter. the winter solstice is the darkest day of the year, so we celebrate the return of the sun, and the beginning of the new.
My family doesn't have Santa Claus come and visit. instead, Chris Kringle, who is much like the early 1900's version of 'santa' comes, wearing his long green robes, and brings one gift to each good child, plus stockings for everyone. (he doesn't come visibly, of course. i'd be willing to help costume someone if i knew anyone willing to play the part some time!)
we have a yule tree. it has a lot of nature based ornaments, and pentacles. we also decorate a tree outside, and include decorations that serve the dual purpose of being food for the local birds...
as for everything else.. well, we tend to be pretty low-key pagans. we sometimes, but not always, do religious-specific celebrating. it is, however, a bit on the back-burner lately with our children needing most of our time, energy, and attention.
we also sing carols, and you'd recognize some of them, and give gifts to each other, our family, and friends, however, we work towards making gifts rather than buying them, and don't try to focus on the amount spent, as long as the gift is thoughtful and well meant.
(to note, this exact conversation is just a paraphrasing of a number of conversations i've had with friends over the years)
|our yule tree 2009|
The Yule Song
(Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) : Lyrics -my version!
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping on your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.
Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe,
Help to make the season bright.
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow,
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.
They know that Kringle's on his way;
He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh.
And every mother's child is going to spy,
To see if reindeer really know how to fly.
And so I'm offering this simple phrase,
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although its been said many times, many ways,
Merry Yule to you.
hope everyone has their gift making and buying nearly done! mine is about 90% !!!