Yes you can have a family Yule celebration and still have a holiday tree, and hang stockings with care by the fire.
During the Roman festival of Saturnalia, celebrants often decorated their homes with clippings of shrubs, and hung metal ornaments outside on trees. Typically, the ornaments represented a god — either Saturn, or the family’s patron deity. The laurel wreath was a popular decoration as well. The ancient Egyptians didn’t have evergreen trees, but they had palms — and the palm tree was the symbol of resurrection and rebirth. They often brought the fronds into their homes during the time of the winter solstice.
Early Germanic tribes decorated trees with fruit and candles in honour of Odin for the solstice. These are the folks who brought us the words Yule and wassail, as well as the tradition of the Yule Log!
In other words, if you want to have a decorated tree for the holiday, don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t have Pagan origins. And if you’d like to go for a more authentic pagan look, there are a ton of other things out there you can use.
Here are some ideas:
- Suns and solar ornaments – raid the craft stores and find stars to turn into suns
- Gods Eyes – make then out of cinnamon sticks and seasonal coloured yarn or ribbons
- Pentacles – make them out of shiny chenille stems, bent into stars with circles around them
- Natural objects like acorns, feathers, holly, mistletoe or pine cones
- Lights, lights, and more lights
- Magical items – cups, wands, or daggers
- Fertility symbols – eggs, antlers, horns