The Spirit of Yuletide Décor

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and most Joyous Yule, my dear friends.  Our household, throughout the year, tends to honor and celebrate the oldest of traditions and beliefs, long before organized religion and that feels beautiful and real to us.  We will be celebrating Yule, but since I was raised Christian and Doug was raised Jewish, we incorporate all sorts of lovely traditions into our house and celebrate with our families.  For all the celebrations are really the same, the celebration of light, love, and hope.

20181126_171244

Decorating for the holidays should be nothing short of fun!  Incorporating ideas, palettes, and items that bring joy are the basis for holiday décor.

20181126_172424

We have collected cute stockings for a long time.  The children took some of their stockings to their own homes.  We are one short this year with the arrival of Ayla Mae, so I will find an adorable one for her.  Santa is coming to Grammie and Pa’s house Christmas Eve!  (To my great delight!)  I hung the stockings with care from the curtain rods.

20181126_172413

This was the first tree top angel I bought when I was nineteen years old in my first home.  I, of course, chose the tallest tree I could fit in my house this year so angel sits in the window welcoming loved ones.  Find these beautiful candles for a buck and some in the religious aisle of your grocery store.  They have them without the pictures on them.  They burn for a long time and they add festivity and charm to the home.

20181126_172448

Incorporating things you love is easy.  This moose was one of two that Doug got me our first Christmas together.  Her head is falling off but way up on the bookshelf she has a safe place of importance.

20181125_095305

The tree is filled with ornaments of old and new.  Photo ornaments the children made in grade school and ones from my childhood.  Ones from Grandma’s tree and many from our travels.

Yuletide décor is in the details.  Use holiday china this time of year, even for lunch!  Put oil lamps in each room.  Light plenty of candles.  Place strings of garland and twinkly lights in each room (even the bathroom!)

20181126_172706

These sweet, little cloches hold seasonal treasures.  Bird’s nests and moss covered twigs, sprigs of pine and pinecones.

20181127_165555

We opted this year to just string lights around the front porch and set them on a timer.  I love my ristras (one day I will be in New Mexico) and I leave the chairs and tables set up all winter in case of a sunny day that can be spent on the porch.  Always add pieces of yourself in the décor.  A sterile scene from a store doesn’t create the spirit of life that your own personal touches can.

47109550_2320409564640218_8500220567796842496_n

Place tea candles on sand inside lunch bags and line your front walk.  Light an oil lamp on the front porch for visitors.  Make handmade gifts this year.  Spend time enjoying the season.  And make space in your heart for light, love, and hope.

The Magic of a Yuletide Card

Thanksgiving eve.  There is always so much to be thankful for.  Health, family, security, home, and an inspired life.  These things I think of and am thankful for each day of the year.  As a vegetarian and a history lover, Thanksgiving isn’t really my favorite holiday.  And this year my children will be other places.  So, I have put up my Christmas houses and am clearing a place for the tree.  Yes, Yule is my very favorite holiday of the year.  The lights, the charity, the music, the wrappings, the trimmings, the beauty and joy that surrounds Yuletide is intoxicating for me.

20181119_114705
My grandparents with their great, great granddaughters. So much to be thankful for.

Now, I feel like we are all old friends here.  Just like you are over for coffee this pretty morning and I am telling you about how I, on a whim, just registered for a full load of classes to pursue a teaching degree (yes, I did that the other night) or am showing you photographs of my new granddaughter.  Over the years we’ve have had some laughs, we’ve had some tears, we’ve had some wine.  But I like the tangible as well.  I would love to be on your Christmas card list this year and I will add you to mine.  Let us pen old fashioned wishes and hopes for the new year.  I love hearing from readers and responding.  It makes us friends out there in this big, small world.

20181120_140949

Christmas cards may seem old fashioned, but they are a link and a wish to family and friends, old and new, and a moment of your time and love.  There is no greater gift than that.  Christmas cards have led to a few really fabulous pen pals for me.  I enjoy so much that moment of peeking in the mailbox and finding a card or letter.  Placing the envelope in my apron pocket as I make a cup of tea.  Sitting down to savor every word.  To be there.  To listen.  To read.  To pull out a few pieces of beautiful stationary and respond.  Yes, it is one of my favorite things.  Send me a card and I will send you one as well filled with good wishes and cheer, from my cozy home to yours.

Mrs. Katie Sanders

1901 Brown Ave

Pueblo, CO 81004

Wishing you a joyous Thanksgiving and a happy beginning to your Yuletide festivities.

Yule and the Talking Tree

Yule01

The Yule tree is always a conifer because evergreens survive the winter and they are a sign of hope and renewal.

I worked with a lovely Comanche elder for years and he told me the story about taking his children to gather cedar for ceremony.  As the children watched, he asked the tree if he could have part of her dress.  He said he needed a little of her cloak to help the people.

“Dad!  Did you see that?  The tree lowered its branch to you!” his daughter exclaimed.

I smiled and nodded knowingly.  I was taught to honor the plants and trees that I gather medicine from and on more occasions than I could possibly recall, the plants move and respond to voice and request.

trees

In the book, The Hidden Life of Trees; What They Feel, How They Communicate―Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben, the author forays into the scientific explanations and the mesmerizing experiences regarding trees communicating.  Of course there is science behind everything regarding plants growing better to music and singing or trees lowering their branches to offer medicine, but in my work we don’t need to hear the scientific explanations, we just know.  We see it.

tree.jpg

This is a beautiful time of year to go for a walk, go hiking in the mountains, or around a trail in your park.  There are less distractions and you can get to know an evergreen.  You will find them quite jovial.  When you say hello, it will move in a small area.  Sometimes the whole thing shakes without the help of wind or breeze.

Real magic is all around us, beyond cubicles and meetings, beyond television and bills.  It has always been there.  We are heading to Taos for the weekend.  And in the woods there and along the paths evergreens wish those that pass a Merry Yuletide.

Keeping Yule Celebrations Alive

3e7331f731062bf3148a4019704f9b1c--russian-painting-painting-art

The nights were dark and starry.  Cold as the winds blew and the people of the time stayed indoors, lamps and fires lit, families gathered in the dimly lit homes of the land.

The solstice was coming soon and across the lands the sun would shine a bit more each day.  This was a cause for great celebration among the people.  Twenty-thousand plus years before organized religion the families of the ancient lands bundled up in furs and lit lanterns and went from house to house bringing light and song to their neighbors.

The spring prior the God and the Goddess conceived and on December 21st the Goddess would give birth to the son of God, the sun.  The Holly King and his reindeer came around with gifts in exchange for a bowl of porridge.  And during the twelve days of Yule fires were lit, celebrations were had, and light was spread by all.

The newer religions of today borrow the same concepts of celebration and light.  What can we do today to celebrate Yuletide?  Spread light around you.  Compliment strangers and friends.  Check on elders and see if they are well fed and if they need company.  Invite folks into your home for a warm pot of soup and a game of cards.  Give simple, handmade gifts.  Set up twinkly lights and a Yule tree.  Sing and rejoice for the Sun God is coming and will brighten each day.

Xmas card 2017

Happy Yule everyone!

Yuletide Wishes

stone

My granddaughter spent the night.  This morning in the cool of the dark morning I pulled the soft covers up under our chins refusing the late dawn.  The smell of coffee wafted in the door.  The cats purred and stretched.  Bits of light cascaded past the window to announce the winter solstice.  Last night was the darkest and longest night of the year.

Maryjane and I went out last night with a small bow of pine from the Christmas (Yule) tree.  We lit the end of it and let the smoke rise up to the bright stars above (the only kind of bonfire allowed on an apartment balcony!).  We said hello to Kat as well as our animals, friends, and family that have passed on to the next dimension among the star people.  We said thank you for all the many blessings of the year and welcomed the new sun.

The people of the world for centuries upon centuries have held bonfires and feasts to celebrate Yule.  Using precious food from their dwindling larders as a way of letting Mother Earth know that the people trusted her to provide for them in the fields of Spring.  Bonfires on the darkest night, perhaps a bit of spirits, food, and festivity sang through the cold night air.

Today starts the sun’s presence growing stronger over the next six months.  Each day it will be light a bit longer.  Yule is a celebration of light and renewal.  The 12 days of Christmas was actually the 12 days of Yule, beginning on the winter solstice and lasting until New Year’s.  Greenery was thought to protect the home from illness and bad luck and as much Fir as one could put in their humble abode was good.  Boughs of greenery were decorated with ribbons and candles.  From the Yule log, to the 12 days of Yule, to the birth of the new sun god by the virgin goddess all seem to ring of coincidental familiarity.  This is the time of year to be close to the hearth, family, and loved ones, and to celebrate the light growing each day.

This is the time of the year to review our lives, our habits, and decide what will make us better, happier, and more peaceful people.  May your day be filled with light!

yuletide_card_by_lds_jedi