Over on the article; Time to Decorate for the Season Sharon left some wonderful tips on how she decorates her house for the season.
Oh, I love making Yule decorations! I'm drying slices of oranges on a low heat at the moment to hang up as well as whole scored oranges, I've tied cinnamon sticks in ribbons, the kids and I are going to go out hunting for more pine cones today now the news is through that my son's school is closed due to the snow, I've got a lovely apple branch that I pruned from my lovely tree this autumn that will be used to hold the hanging decorations on the altar.... oooh, it's exciting! I'm also recycling my autumn equinox decorations of poppy seed heads - covering them with glue and sprinkling with glitter (another fun one for the kids to do!)
Then over on the article; Only Three Weeks Away . . . Bridget left a comment about her family's traditions for Yule;
We light a candle during the 13 mights of Yule. My family also celebrates over those 13 nights. We do not celebrate Santa though. We tell lots of different stories, make a chain from construction paper to count down the days to Yule beginning then all the way through until the last day of Yule (my kids love this - it carried over from when I was a kid in school and the teachers had us count down the days to Christmas). Since we celebrate over so many days, the children only open 1 present each day. That present may be from us, or it may come from grandparents that have dropped by for a holiday visit. All in all, we make the holiday about our family, blood and otherwise. I also have the kids write thank you notes to whatever relative may have brought them something (aunt, gramps, grandma, etc). We sing, dance and have a great time the whole holiday. Since our 13 days ends with the New Year, we are usually making treats of some sort to ring in the year and end our celebration.
The kids truly do enjoy the way we celebrate and we have all found it to be less stressful for everyone.
Oh, and sometime during the first 2 weeks of December we get the tree and decorate.
In response LuhnaZita left a comment on her traditions for Yule as well. She also has a guest post coming up this week, so make sure to check out her blog in the meantime.
What I like most about the 13 days idea is the one gift per day. We have 4 kids and a large extended family. Our kids rip through their presents so fast I can't keep up - even for photographs. The other problem is the thank you notes. 2 of my kids are just now 4 years old, the others are 9 and 11. Getting any of them (especially the little ones) to hold still long enough to make thank you cards for each gift giver is REALLY trying. I like that if they only open one gift per day (or the gifts from one person that day), then they can really take the time to express their thanks and love for that person. I REALLY like this idea.
We do celebrate the "Santa" concept still, however we try to take a different cultural approach each year - and the family traditions of Yule/Christmas dinner, presents under the tree and so forth, will have to stay. I don't see why we can't do a combination of both though.
Then Chantal made a cogent point on the same article about my family's tradition of lighting candles;
I love that you've brought the candle lighting tradition into your home for this Yuletide. Of course I say with a bias because it is the one tradition I have kept from celebrating Advent with my family during my childhood. It's a beautiful and simple weekly ritual than reminds us of light in the darkest season, but also the people and events that bring light to our lives. It's hope for things to come, and gratitude for things that are. The weekly lighting of a candle can symbolize so many things, it doesn't not have to be specific to one Faith!
If you want an activity for your kids (or yourself!), one thing I've always done on the first week of December, is gone out in the woods and pick up sticks and bows and things and made up my own candle wreath. I could then use it to place a candle in every week until Yule. Blessed Be!