Sunday, 10 September 2017

Yule Activities, Crafts, Decor(ations)


·         Tree of the traditional seasonal type

·         Decorative materials: Popcorn strings, tinsel, wooden stars, ornaments of any sort, fake snowflakes . . . use your imagination!


Simply decorate the tree however you desire. One fun activity is using popcorn strings, which can be created by stringing them together with a needle and thread. (Make sure you get unsalted, unbuttered popcorn!) Little brooms, apples, or stars, and any other symbols of Yule you like, can be placed at strategic intervals all over the greenery.

Ritual use:

Candles or lights can be added to the tree and solemnly lit at a family or solitary ceremony. Gifts can be stored under the tree and joyously given on Yule.


Altar-Sized Yule Log

  Small altar-sized log

  3 candles (1 white, 1 red, 1 black)

  Bits of artificial holly to decorate with

  Red and green ribbon to be tied in a decorative bow

  Glue gun



The candles can be short squat ones or longer ones if your willing to drill holes in the

log and insert them.

Just gluing them is fine. The white candle represents the innocent phase of life: it

goes first. The red represents the childbearing phase: it goes in the middle. The black

candle represents maturity and wisdom; it goes last. Arrange the holly around them

show that drill holes or glue gun marks do not show. Tie a bow with the ribbon and

stick on the front.

Ritual Use:

Burn the candles during ritual or any times the Yule darkness threatens to over




Shaving Cream Snow Painting

The materials required for this activity are foam shaving cream, white glue, construction paper, paint brushes, small bowls and food coloring (optional). Mix even amounts of glue and shaving cream (if you want colour, mix a couple drops of coloring into the glue first). Place each color of snow into individual bowls. Allow children to paint a picture on construction paper. Let the painting dry. When dry the picture will be puffy just like real snow.


Homemade Snow Globes

Materials that are needed are: baby food jars with lids, glue gun, small ornaments or trinkets that will fit in the jar, water, glitter and ribbon, if wanted. On the jar lid glue the trinkets onto it. Allow it to dry. While drying fill the jar with water and add glitter into the snow globe. Place lid on jar, and glue around the outside of the lid to seal it. If you want, tie the ribbon around the outside of the jar.


Beaded Snowflakes

These beautiful snowflakes can be used to decorate the home. Materials needed are pipe cleaners, beads (make sure the opening is wide enough to thread a pipe cleaner through) and narrow ribbon. Use three six inch long pipe cleaners. Twist the pipe cleaners together to create six arms of the snowflake. Bead the pipe cleaners with the beads however you would like. Finish by wrapping pipe cleaner under last bead and through the next to last bead to keep beads from falling off. Tie ribbon through one arm for hanging the snowflake.


Make paper snowflakes. Have the children fold up white sheets of paper. Then have them cut small pieces out all along the edges. Unfold . hang up in windows.

Make snow pictures using cotton balls, glue, glitter, and crayons. Children can color any scene they want, then glue down cotton balls to make the snow. They can glue glitter onto the cotton balls to make the snow sparkle.

Have your child draw a snowman on a heavy piece of paper. Have them paint glue on the snowman. Then they can sprinkle coconut over the glue. Shake off excess coconut.

Make tissue paper wreaths. Take a paper plate and cut out the middle. Give your child small squares of green tissue paper. Then have them ball up the tissue paper and glue it onto the plate. Then they can decorate it with other colors of tissue paper and a big bow.

Make Ivory Soap Flakes pictures. Mix 1 cup of Ivory Snow Powder (in the laundry section,) with 1/2 cup warm water. Have the child use a craft stick to "paint" it on paper to look like snow.

Make a reindeer hat. First make a construction paper band to fit around the child's head. Staple it together. Then trace the childs hands on brown construction paper. Cut out the hands, and staple to the head band as antlers.

Make paper plate suns. Have the children paint a paper plate yellow. Have them tape strips of yellow streamers all around the edges on the back. You can have a parade around the house or yard carrying the suns.

Have the children make a wreath. Trace around their hands on green construction paper. Cut several of these hands out. Glue together in a circle. add a red bow.

Make apple candle holders. Core apples. Carve whatever symbols or designs you want. Dip in lemon juice. Put in candle. These will only last a day. You may also add some cloves if you wish.



Red and green (God and Goddess respectively) are the colors of Yule, as are gold and silver (God/Goddess). Hot foods representing the return of the sun are very much appropriate, like ginger (gingerbread), cinnamon, cloves, and—out here in the Southwest—hot peppers! Of course pine, cedar, and evergreens are an important incorporation of the Sabbat, representing the eternal soul.


For prosperity in the coming year, burn Ash Wood.


Watch the sunrise

It was amazing and magickal. Watching the sun breech the horizon is truly like watching a birth. It's innate and raw and deeply spiritual. Wherever you choose to watch the sunrise, you won't be disappointed!


Light a Yule candle

Nothing says Yule like a Yule log. Traditionally, carving wishes and spells into a Yule log and then burning it is a meaningful and simple way to cast and celebrate Yule.

Carve in your wishes for the New Year and light that bad boy up! If you're super in-tuned with fire, you may even try your hand at divination!


Bake gingerbread

We all know gingerbread men are a huge part of Christmas. And without getting into a big debate, that tradition stems from Yule. The reason they're gingerbread men is because they are representing the God.


So whether you bake some men or get creative and make gingerbread suns, anything incorporating ginger and cinnamon is most definitely a Yuletide-appropriate treat! Make your home smell amazing, make your belly happy, and treat yourself to some holiday music while you bake!


Listen to the silence

Winter is a pretty quiet time in nature. Most animals have migrated or are hibernating. Even people seem to stay inside after dark. One of the ways I love to relish the winter solitude is to simply go outside and listen to the silence, especially at night. There's a magickal quality to the quiet, a certain hum of energy that can't be felt any other time of year. Maybe it's the impending renewal. Maybe it's the promise of possibility. Whatever it is, it's tranquil and serene.

Bundle up, bring some tea, and sit outside for a few minutes in the silence. Star gaze. Watch the snow fall. Take the cool night air deep into your lungs. Enjoy the quiet whisper of the wind cutting through the trees. Breathe in the season. Winter, after all, is a magickal one!


Many people have a Yule tree, a Yule log, or both. The Yule Tree is often lit up with candles on Yule, and the log is decorated and later burned. It is customary to exchange Yule gifts and to make wreaths, and to hang mistletoe over doorways. The altar and other areas of the house can be decorated with holly, mistletoe, evergreen, pine cones, ivy, berries, and ribbons. Also, holly and mistletoe represent different things: Holly is representative of the "holly king," the king of the waning or old year, and the mistletoe is representative of the "oak king," the king of the waxing or new year.


Make a Yule Log

Since the celebrating and parties would last for as long as the log burned, people would choose the biggest log they could find. Sometimes the log would be so large that it required a team of horses to drag it home! Then the families would decorate it, pour wine over it and sing songs around it. The Yule log represents Good Luck in the coming year.

Decorating the log is so much fun and there are so many ways you can do it!

Tie pine and holly to it with a bright red ribbon. Glue on Pine Cones, berries and even dried flowers. Color and cut out little paper suns and glue them to ribbons that can dangle down. Sprinkle the whole log with glitter from a craft store. Each member of the family can even write little wishes for the coming year on bits of paper then roll the paper up like scrolls and tuck them under the ribbons.

If you don’t have a fireplace you can just "glue" a candle on the top of the log with a bit of melted wax!


For Yule Blessings
Hang a Yule wreath on the front door, yhang mistletoe indoors, make food and clothing donations, place bird seed outdoors for the birds that stay near your home ion the winter, ring bells on the Solctice morning to greet it, and perform magick for a peaceful planet.



Colors: Red and green are the classic colors of life in deep midwinter, as combined in holly berries and leaves. White and silver stand for snow, purity, and daylight. Deep blue is the color of midnight. Gold represents the sun and abundance.
Plants: Greenery is more apt for the season than flowers; evergreen boughs are ubiquitous. Holly and ivy are also used to make wreaths and garlands. Mistletoe is tied in small bunches to hang. Pinecones may be hung as ornaments or stacked in bowls. Most of these are masculine symbols. The poinsettia and Christmas cactus are more feminine; bright red ones can stand for the fire of the sun, while white ones represent the purity of the Goddess.
Incense: Frankincense and myrrh give an intense, spicy fragrance with a long tradition. Cinnamon, clove, and orange are popular fruity-spicy choices. Pine and bayberry are more resinous and woodsy. Consider the woodsy-musky oakmoss if you’re honoring the Oak King.
Music: The primary music of Yule is vocal, so collect some Yule carols for people to sing. Favorite holiday instruments include bells, flute, harp, lute, and piano or synthesizer keyboard. Play some seasonal music such as Firedance: Songs for Winter Solstice, Yule, and Beautiful Darkness: Celebrating the Winter Solstice.
Altar Tools: Candles, candle holders, and candle snuffers appear in most Yule rituals. You may also want a mirror or other shiny things, sun symbols, animals to honor the deities, divine icons, etc. Cakes and ale are often presented on elaborate dishware: a platter of gold or silver metal or glass, or ceramic made to resemble an evergreen tree or poinsettia flower; and a chalice of silver, gold, or crystal. (You can get these things on sale for a few dollars between Christmas and New Year.)
Yule Log: This comes in at least four types. The traditional Yule log is a giant hunk of wood left burning in a fireplace for a whole festival lasting several days. A modern variation is a small log sliced flat on the bottom and drilled for several candleholders on top. Then of course there is the Yule log cake.
Bells: A rope or strap of bells, either round sleigh bells or trumpet bells, is a traditional holiday decoration. Bells produce a cheerful sound that lifts the spirits and drives away malicious influences.
Snow: Decorate with artificial snowflakes, glitter, or other materials that mimic snow. If there is snow on the ground, you may wish to build snow gods and goddesses, or snow lanterns.
Lights: Holiday lights are a modern alternative to open flames. They come in all colors so you can choose them to match your theme. The new LED lights use much less energy and are very beautiful.


Decorating Yule Tree, Gifts in Memory of Deceased, Storytelling

Decorate a yule tree. For ornaments use natural items such as pine cones, acrons, string popcorn or berries, or suns and cresent moons.
String popcorn or cranberries for outdoor trees.
Decorate pine cones with glue and glitter as symbols of the fairies and put them on the Yule tree.
Hang little bells on the Yule tree to call good spirits.
Remove the caps from acrons, insert the middle of a long string, glue the cap back on, and, after it has dried, hang on the Yule tree.

Have the children make a paper chain loop to decorate the tree.


Dough Art Decorations

4 cups flour, 2 cups water, 1 cup salt, Cookie Cutters, Wire Ornament Hangers, Acrylic Paints.

Combine flour, salt, and water in a large bowl. Dough should kneed easily but not be sticky, if so, add more flour. On a flat surface, lay down some waxed paper. Take a handful of the dough and roll out with a rolling pin. Cut dough into shapes with the cookie cutters. Make a hole in top of "cookie" for wire hanger. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and put in oven at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until *slightly* brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool thoroughly. Paint with acrylic paints. Allow to dry, place hanger in hole and adorn tree, packages, or hang in windows. (Allow children to make-up Yule stories to go along with each decoration they are making.)


Salt Dough Ornaments


Use salt dough and cookie cutters to make your own Yule ornaments.

Salt dough is one of the easiest things in the world to make, and you can create just about anything from it. Use it with cookie cutters to make your own Sabbat ornaments.

You'll need:

·      4 Cups flour

·      1 Cup salt

·      1 ½ Cups hot water

·      1 tsp vegetable oil

Combine the salt and flour, then add the water until the dough becomes elastic. Add the oil at this time and knead the dough (if it's too sticky, add more flour). Once it's a good consistency, make your decorations with cookie cutters. Bake ornaments at 200* until hard (about 20 - 30 minutes). Once they've cooled, paint them with designs and symbols, and seal with clear varnish.

If you're planning to hang them, poke a hole through the ornament BEFORE baking them. Then, after you've varnished them, run a ribbon or thread through the hole.


Scented Ornaments:
1 cup cinnamon,
3/4 cup applesauce,
1/4 cup white school glue
Mix ingredients together, roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut out with cookie cutters. Punch a hole in the top of each oramnet with a drinking straw. Dry for at least 48 hours. Tie a string or a ribbon through the hole, and hang on the tree. Do not eat!


Cinnamon Stick Garland
Thread some dental floss or embroider floss, or quilting thread onto a needle. String cinnamon sticks through the long hole in the middle of the stick onto the thread. You can add whatever else you want in between the cinnamon sticks (cranberries, popcorn, etc.)


Yule Log
When Yule comes around, celebrate by creating a Yule log. Take a walk in the park or near your home if you live in a rural area. Look for the perfect log to burn in your fireplace. Remember to try and choose a log that has already fallen instead of cutting one from a living tree. Driftwood is also good to use. Collect items to decorate your log with. These can be:

holly leaves and/or berries
oak leaves
winter flowers
pine cones
pine needles
corn or corn husks
evergreen sprigs
gold string or bows
apple cider

Decorate the Yule log in the fireplace before starting the fire. Traditionally, the Yule log was supposed to burn for 12 days. Today, however, few people are able to have a fireplace or log to size. Save a piece of the log to use to light the next year's log.


Cinnamon Stick Bundles - Bundle a few short cinnamon sticks together using a bit of slender ribbon and tie a bow and a loop at the top. Then glue on little sprigs of holly, pine or dried flowers like rose buds, marigolds or baby’s breath, tucking the stems under the bow.


Bay Balls - Take some Bay leaves. Fresh is best but if all you have is dried, then soak them overnight in warm water to make them pliable (that means you can bend them more easily without breaking them). The next morning, pat them dry. Next, take a Styrofoam ball and use Tacky Glue to cover it with bay leaves. Start at the bottom of the ball and work your way toward the top so they overlap a bit. Some of the leaves you may have to hold in place while the glue dries so they don’t pop up. Cloves or rosebuds stuck through the leaves into the ball will help hold the leaves in place and look pretty besides. A very pretty effect is to “dust” your finished ball with a light spray of gold paint. Pin a pretty loop of ribbon or gold cording to the top to hang it by.


Pinecone Ornaments - If you have pine trees in your area, collect the fallen cones. If not, you can buy the cones in a craft store. Cover the very edges of the pinecone with glue and sprinkle glitter over the glue. It will look like the cones are tipped with frost – very pretty! You can also simply spray paint the cones gold or silver and then immediately sprinkle them all over with iridescent glitter.
Pinecones are light enough to just tuck into the tree’s branches or you can glue on a ribbon loop to hang it with or twist a loop of wire around the base.


Cinnamon Stick Pentagrams – (this project uses hot glue, so parents might wish to help younger children) Soak 5 cinnamon sticks (each about the same length) overnight in warm water. In the morning, pat them dry and form them into a pentagram. The soaking will make them pliable so that as you overlap them, they will bend more easily. Hot glue the ends together and then wrap the ends also with twine or raffia and tie it off. Use extra raffia to create a loop at the top for hanging.


Yule Sachets - Take about a 4 inch square of lace or fabric (if you’re going for a very “organic”, natural look for your tree, then burlap works well) In the center, put a tablespoon of Yule sachet mixture, bring the ends of the fabric up and tie ribbon or twine around the top making a little pouch with the herbal mixture inside. Tuck a sprig of holly, mistletoe or little birch pinecones into the ribbon. If you can find a rubber stamp at the craft store with a sun, star or moon on it, you can stamp the outside of the fabric with a picture before adding your herbs.


Yule Sachet Mixture - 2 parts fragrant pine leaves, 1 part rosemary, 1 part cinnamon, 1 part cloves, 1 part dried orange peel broken into little pieces. Add a bit of cinnamon oil; stir it up good and let it sit for a few days in a closed jar.


Pomanders - Tie a loop in a length of ribbon leaving the ends long enough to wrap around a small orange, lime or lemon. Wrap it around the fruit and then tie it at the bottom. If you want you can cut the ends off, let them dangle or even add a tassel.
Then, poke large cloves all over into the fruit. You can use a nail, wooden skewer or even an old crochet hook to get the holes started if you want. Completely cover the fruit with the cloves or create a pattern with some of the fruit showing through.


Gilded Acorns - Often, when you find acorns on the ground, their little caps have come off. If that’s the case, then collect both caps and bases. If not, then remove the caps yourself when you get home. Paint both halves with spray paint or craft paint using either gold or silver. Then cut a slender ribbon about 3 inches long and glue each end to the inside of the cap so that it forms a loop. Then glue the cap back on to the base of the acorn. When it’s done, you can paint the cap with watered down white glue and dust it with glitter.

Cinnamon Ornaments – Put about a cup of applesauce in a strainer and let it sit & drip for a few hours. Then combine1 cup cinnamon with one tablespoon each of cloves and nutmeg. Add 2 tablespoons of white glue and ¾ cup of drained applesauce.
For a more intense fragrance, you can add about ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon and/or apple oil. Mix it all up with your hands until its a smooth ball, all mixed up. (be careful to wash your hands after handling the oils. You don’t want to accidentally get any in your mouth or eyes)
Roll it out about ¼ inch thick and either cut shapes out with cookie cutters or use the templates below. Use a straw to poke a hole in the top. Let them sit out to dry for a few days, turning them over once or twice a day so they don’t curl up. Then, poke a ribbon through the hole to hang them with.


Yule Spell Ornament


As Yule approaches, the opportunities for spellwork are seemingly endless. If you have a holiday tree this year, why not use ornaments as a way of directing your magical energies? Make a spell ornament to bring prosperity, love, health, or creativity into your life.

You'll need the following:

·      Clear plastic fillable ornament

·      Filler material associated with your purpose: herbs, small stones, colored paper or glitter, etc.

·      Colored ribbon

·      Fill the plastic halves of the ornament with items that are associated with your purpose. Try a couple of the following, or come up with your own combinations:

·      For a money spell, add shredded bits of play money, Bay leaf, basil, chamomile, clover, cinquefoil, tonka bean, Buckeye, pennyroyal; stones such as turquoise and amethyst; bits of green, silver or gold glitter.

·      For love magic, use Allspice, apple blossom, bleeding heart, catnip, lavender, periwinkle, peppermint, tulip, violet, daffodil; crystals such as rose quartz or emerald, coral; small heart-shaped cutouts, bits of pink or red glitter.

·      For workings related to creativity and inspiration, add feathers, sage, tobacco leaf, hazelwood or birch, symbols of artistry such as paintbrush tips, crayons, or colored thread. Add diamonds, quartz crystals, also consider colors like yellow and gold.

·      If you're doing healing magic, use Apple blossom, lavender, barley, comfrey, eucalyptus, fennel, chamomile, allspice, olive, rosemary, rue, sandalwood, wintergreen, peppermint.

As you're filling your ornament, focus on your intent. Think about what your purpose is in creating such a working. For some people, it helps to chant a small incantation while they work - if you're one of those folks, you might want to try something like this:

Magic shall come as I order today,
bringing prosperity blessings my way.
Magic to hang on a green Yule tree;
as I will, so it shall be.

Once you've filled your ornament, place the two halves together. Tie a colored ribbonaround the center to keep the halves from separating (you may need to add a dab of craft glue for stability) and then hang your ornament in a place where you can see it during the Yule season.

Gift-giving tip: Make a whole box of these with different purposes, and share them with your friends at the holidays!


Easy Pipecleaner Pentacle Ornaments

Use chenille stems in your favorite color to create one of these. They're easy, and your kids can do it once you show them how to bend the stems. You'll need three pipe cleaners, or chenille stems, for each pentacle.

Bend the first stem into a circle, and overlap the ends by about an inch, so you can twist them closed.

Take the second stem, and create three arms of the star inside the circle. Be sure to twist it around the circle as you make the points, because this will keep it from sliding apart.Take the last stem and create the final two arms of the star. Use the remaining length of stem (don't snip it off) to twist into a loop so you can hang your ornament.


Cinnamon Spell Ornaments


Will you be decorating a tree this year for your Yule celebrations? There are all kinds of things you can hang on it! Try making a batch of cinnamon spell ornaments as a fun and magical holiday project.

For starters, let’s be clear about one thing – these ornaments may be made with cinnamon, but they are NOT edible, so make sure you hang them out of reach of hungry pets or roaming bands of feral toddlers.

Let’s talk a little bit about cinnamon. It smells good, sure, and it tastes delicious… but what else is it good for? Cinnamon has been used in a variety of ways for thousands of years. The Romans burned it in funeral ceremonies, believing that the aroma was sacred and pleasing to the gods. Because it was hard to come by, during the Middle Ages, wealthy Europeans made sure to serve cinnamon at feasts so their guests would know that no expense had been spared. Now, fortunately for us, you can buy powdered cinnamon in bulk just about anywhere.

Here’s what you’ll need:

·      1 Cup cinnamon

·      ¾ Cup applesauce

·      1 Tbs. nutmeg

·      1 Tbs. ground cloves

·      1 Tbs. allspice

·      2 Tbs. plain white glue

This recipe makes about a dozen ornaments, depending on the size of your cutouts.

Mix all of your ingredients in a bowl. You can start out stirring them with a fork or spoon, but as the mixture gets thick and dough-like, just give in and use your hands to mush it all together. Squash it around until you can form a nice big sticky ball of dough – if it seems like it may be too dry, you can always add a little more applesauce, or a teaspoon of water.

As you’re blending the dough together with your hands, think about your intent. What is the purpose of the ornaments you’re about to craft? Are they for protection? To bring well-being and health? For financial prosperity and abundance? Think about the goal, and send those intentions through your hands into the dough as you mix it.

Sprinkle a clean surface – if you have a baker’s mat for rolling, use it – with cinnamon, and roll out the dough until it’s about ¼” thick, and use your favorite magical cookie cutters to cut out the dough. You can choose random holiday shapes, or drag out those old gingerbread man cookie cutters to make little people for your ornaments. Cut out house shapes for ornaments that focus on security and family stability. Use hearts for love, and so forth.

Make a hole in the top of each ornament – use a toothpick or skewer –so you can hang it up after it’s been baked.

Now, here’s where you get to make some additional magic. Remember how you focused your intent into the dough as you blended it? We’re also going to add magical symbols to it. On each ornament, use a toothpick or small paring knife to inscribe a symbol of your intent. You can use any kind of symbol at all that’s meaningful to you, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

·      Financial prosperity: dollar signs

·      Protection: an ankh, a horseshoe, a gate

·      Security and stability: pentacles, earth symbols

·      Passion and love: hearts, fire symbols

·      Wisdom and intuition: moons, yin-yangs

Once you’ve inscribed your ornaments with symbols, place them on a baking sheet in the oven. Leave them in there on a low temperature, around 200, for several hours – the goal is not to bake them so much as just dry them out completely. Once they’re dry, let them cool all the way down.

Finally, thin a little bit of white glue with some water, and brush a light layer over the top surface of each ornament, to give it a nice glaze. Once the glaze has dried completely, thread a string or ribbon through the hole, and hang it on your holiday tree – or give it as a gift to someone you care about!

Tip: Another option, rather than inscribing the ornaments with a symbol, is to use icing piped into place. Use your favorite decorative piping tip to create sigils on your ornament AFTER you’ve dried and cooled them. Once your icing has dried completely, apply the coating of thinned glue for a glaze.


Scented Pine Cone Ornaments

If you want to keep an earth-friendly theme to your Yule decorating, one way to do so is to use the elements found in nature as part of your decor. This is a project that you may have made before if you have a Girl Scout -- simple things such as seeds, acorns, feathers, and other found items are easy to make into ornaments and other decorations.

For this simple project, you'll need the following:

·      Pinecones, of any shape or size

·      Equal amounts ginger, nutmeg and allspice, blended

·      A 1:1 mixture of water and craft glue

·      Glitter

·      Ribbon

·      A small paintbrush

To prepare the pinecones, rinse them under running water and then spread them out on a baking sheet. Bake at 250 for about 20 minutes -- this will make them open up, and also get rid of any trace amounts of bacteria that might remain on them. Don't worry if there's sap on them - it will harden into a shiny glaze and look pretty. If you bought your pinecones from a craft store, they're probably open already, so you can skip the rinsing altogether.

Once the pinecones have cooled, use the small paintbrush to apply the glue to the cones (I'd recommend spreading out some newspaper ahead of time). You can either cover the entire cone, or just the outer tips of the petals for a more "frosted" look.

Add the spices and glitter to a zip-loc bag. Drop the pine cones in, and shake until coated with spices and glitter. Allow to dry thoroughly, and then tie a ribbon around the end so you can hang it up.

Add a few springs of greenery if you like. Use it on a holiday tree, or place them in a bowl to scent your room.