No doubt many people will offer an assortment of advice on how to celebrate Your Very Own Yule Ritual, whether you are planning for a small group or celebrating alone. I have an alternative suggestion, a practice which has served me well for many years and provided some of my best, most hilarious, happiest Winter Solstices of yore: Go to someone else’s.
I have hosted Yule celebrations before, of course, though the best ones included a healthy dollop of cameraderie, random elements, and wandering about. Aside from the obvious advantages of not having to plan, prep, or clean up afterwards, and being able to show up bearing grog or cookies and then leave when you get tired of talking to people…you introverts know what I mean…or just tired, there’s a fundamental element of Yule that will only be satisfied by being in company with others.
The origin of Yule is in midwinter festivals that were all about community, warmth, gathering together, singing, and food. Plus fire. I think that, while some aspects of your path are about you and your inner life, there are some thing that are and must be about community. This holiday is one of the ones where the spiritual dimensions of community find their natural home. This is a bit astray from the typical approach of Traditional Witchcraft, which is solitary as often as not, and given to dealings with the more-than-human world, animal, vegetable, and spirit. It’s all the more important because of that; as I’ve said before, it’s as important for those of us on the kind of path that put us athwart the boundaries between worlds to keep one foot among our human community as it is to value the Other folk. So, I say to you, even if you are a solitary practitioner most of the time, make the effort to find a lively community celebration of the solstice. Show up. Bring food. Bring booze. See what happens.
Go, even if you are planning a celebration of your own. Go, even if they are not your kind of Pagan. Go, even if the people throwing it aren’t Pagan at all. There is a deep mystery here, in that there is an ordinary yet profound kind of magic to be made in a circle of warmth and friends who are keeping the cold at bay, together. It is encapsulated perhaps in the Danish word hygge, a complex concept usually translated as “coziness” but which of course means much more than that. Or this: “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”