How to celebrate Yule, a historical winter festival. This guide includes ideas for feasting, gifting, and celebrating the winter solstice season.

Remember, Yule is a personal and spiritual celebration, so feel free to adapt these suggestions to fit your own beliefs and preferences. The key is to embrace the themes of renewal, light, and the turning of the seasons.

Woman hanging a large greenery wreath on a door.
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What Is Yule?

Yule or jul is a winter festival historically observed by germanic people that's traditions, over time, have been incorporated into Christmas. In modern Germanic language-speaking areas and some Northern European countries, yule just denotes the Christmas season.

For modern pagans, yule also means a wide variety of different celebrations to the honour the winter solstice. For others it's just a way to celebrate the coming of the days getting longer and the return of the light, the end of the calendar year in a non-denominational way.

How to Celebrate

There are many ways to celebrate yule, and none of them need to involve shopping or disposable gifts. Here's an outline on how to bring in the season with homemade gifts, food for sharing, music, incorporating nature, and more.

Woman smiling, holding a drink in front of a window with a winter garland.

Make a Yule Altar

While an altar might sound off-putting to some, it's no different than setting up a mantle with decorations, or putting up a tree. Bringing the outdoors in has always been a traditional way to celebrate the season – think greenery and natural garlands, like an orange garland to symbolize the sun.

Set up a space in your home dedicated to yule, big or small, including candles, seasonal greenery, and symbols that are meaningful to you. This can be a focal point for your celebrations and reflections. If you have a spot in your living space, that's a great place for it! Decorate with sticks and greenery, seasonal fruits, and any small items that speak to your during this season.

Spiced Orange Pomanders
Make your own orange pomanders at home with a handful of simple ingredients. Oranges and spices are all you need for this classic holiday craft.
Check out this recipe
Several orange pomanders on a plate with fresh oranges.
Dried Orange Garland
How to make your own dried orange garland, with just orange slices and time. You can use a dehydrator, oven, or even a fireplace for this.
Check out this recipe
An orange garland with greenery over a window frame, hand holding a drink in foreground.
Hand Dipped Candles
How to easily make hand dipped candles at home, with just beeswax, wicks, and some basic equipment. This is a great beginner craft!
Check out this recipe
Using a candle to light another candle, beeswax tapers using a baguette as a holder.


Feasting - simply making a special meal for yourself or to share - is a way to pay homage to the coming of winter, and a celebration of the season. Include dishes with seasonal fruits and vegetables like oranges and other citrus, root vegetables, and make a cozy meal.

Vegan Cottage Pie
A plant-based version of the ultimate comfort food, this cozy vegan cottage pie is made with lentils, mushrooms, and plenty of vegetables.
Check out this recipe
Cottage pie with a serving taken from the baking dish.
Upside-Down Beet Tart
An easy, beautiful beet tart, this is made with roasted beets, red onion, and a puff pastry base. Use multicoloured beets for a rainbow tart.
Check out this recipe
A beetroot tart topped with arugula and crumbly cheese, one slice cut.
Cranberry Mocktail
A mulled wine inspired cranberry mocktail, this is made with warm winter spices topped off with cranberry juice, orange juice and kombucha.
Check out this recipe
Cranberry drink in a martini glass on a holiday table.
6 Ingredient Miso Gravy
Vegan miso gravy made with just 6 ingredients for an easy, savoury alternative to traditional gravy. Packed with flavour, it's perfect for any meal.
Check out this recipe
Mashed potatoes topped with gravy and herbs in a serving bowl.
Butternut Squash Dip with Harissa
Butternut squash dip is a festive and easy bean-free dip made with roasted squash, tahini, and lightly spiced with harissa paste.
Check out this recipe
Woman holding a tray of vegetables with a bowl of orange dip.
4 Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Truffles
Easy vegan truffles made with just 4 ingredients: chocolate, coconut milk, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. These truffles are creamy and decadent.
Check out this recipe
A plate filled with chocolate truffles, one cut in half.

Gift Giving

Gifts are traditionally given during the yuletide, and this is one thing that has really been carried over into modern celebrations for Christmas. I try to give almost exclusively handmade gifts like bath salts or candles, but also food items like truffles and other treats.

4 Ingredient Bath Salts
This simple epsom salt bath mix is perfect for an aching body, sore muscles, and just anyone who needs to relax. Homemade bath salts make a great gift and can be tailored to whatever scent you prefer!
Check out this recipe
A salt bath with floating flowers on the water.
How to Make a Lavender Sachet
Make your own lavender sachet with some scraps of fabric, basic sewing supplies, and a sweet smelling dried lavender filling! These sachets are tied at the top with ribbon, so they're a great beginner's sewing project.
Check out this recipe
Two ribbon-tied lavender sachets in a dresser drawer.
Rose Scented Pillows
An easy tutorial for how to make a rose scented pillow for gifting or yourself. No sewing machine needed and you can use fabric scraps!
Check out this recipe
Two small pillows on an oval plate, tied with a white ribbon.
Simple Vegan Lip Balm
A simple homemade 3 ingredient vegan lip balm recipe you can make with simple ingredients, most of which I bet you already have.
Check out this recipe
Lip blam in small metal tins on a kitchen counter.
Vegan Hot Chocolate Mix
An easy 3 ingredient vegan hot chocolate mix, with just cocoa powder, sugar, and a hint of salt for a perfectly chocolatey instant drink. Make it at home and add some extra flavours in, or pop some into a cute jar to give as a gift.
Check out this recipe
A glass mug of hot chocolate topped with cream and chocolate shavings.
Herbal Oils
These 3 simple methods to make herbal oil will become the base of all of your homemade herbal medicines and body products. This recipe can easily be doubled, tripped, or even halved.
Check out this recipe
Brightly lit clear glass containers with oil inside.


The period between solstice and the year end is the ideal time to set goals and make time for personal reflection. Consider the past year, what you have achieved, and what you hope to manifest in the coming year. Set positive intentions for the future.

I like to spend New Year's Eve at the beach and make a list of what I want to work toward, and what I want to let go of. I'll then burn the list and place the ashes in the ocean. Alternatively, friends of mine light candles in different colours corresponding to certain goals (a Latin American practice) to set intentions for the new year.

Nature Walk

Spend time outdoors to connect with nature. Take a winter walk, hike, or simply rest outside to appreciate the beauty of the natural world. This is a time to honour the changing seasons and the cycles of nature.

Listen to Music

I've created playlists for the season, here's the one from this year and last:

Woman pouring a drink into a cocktail making cup.

The Yule Log

While the origins and customs are unclear, it's a popular tradition in Celtic and northern countries (Germanic, Baltic, Slavic) and still practiced even in southern Europe. A log, usually one big enough to burn all day, is kept for burning on the shortest day of the year and celebrated for the warmth and light it brings.

This is a tradition that dates back centuries. If you have a fireplace, consider it, and if not, you can also use a log as a candle holder and burn a candle in its place. The log symbolizes the returning light of the sun.

More yule Suggestions

Create your own rituals and ceremonies! Some I've heard of people doing is choosing something for each day between the solstice and epiphany, which have historically been the period of celebration. So it could be a walk one day, making a craft the next, and so on.

Celebrate with friends, family, and community, surrounding yourself with loved ones in this darkest time of year.

Vintage holiday decorations on a white background.

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