I set up a simple Yule altar with a handmade altar cloth made by my cousin and an ornament that she made, a pine cone, and a white reindeer. I placed tall jar candles, red, white, and green behind the reindeer and decorations. *Protip: seven-day holy candles are super inexpensive, safe, and readily available in dollar stores and at Walmart. It takes less than ten minutes to soak off the labels and pictures in hot water. It’s hard to find decent-sized votive candles, at least here, and then there’s the whole digging the old candle out of the holder issue. I use 7-day candles for almost everything except rituals requiring a small candle that burns down completely in a few hours.*
My mother isn’t a pagan, but she supports me being one. She liked the Yule altar. We exchanged gifts. I gave her a Three Birds of Rhiannon pendant that I bought on Etsy, and she gave me The Vintage Wisdom Oracle by Victoria Moseley (I picked it out.) We listened to holiday music, and then we put together a quick holiday meal of turkey burgers, seasonal vegetables, homemade gingersnaps, and cranberry sauce.
We will have our usual Christmas because my mother still identifies as Christian, although she has become a non-traditional Christian. She doesn’t go to church. She’s actively interested in my pagan beliefs and holidays. She kept saying “this is lovely. This is lovely.” There’s something about the simple Yule altar that speaks to the spirit. I included a gift exchange because we have had such a dreadful month so far, and I wanted to give her a gift in advance of Christmas simply to cheer her up.
Here are pictures of our Yule altar and gifts. If you celebrate Yule, I hope yours was a merry one like ours!