Ten Reasons to Enjoy The Winter Solstice

For some people, the winter solstice seems dark and gloomy. However, as Yule approaches, sometimes it helps to think of all the things we like about this time of year. Here are some things that we love about the winter holiday season!
Welcome back the sun at the winter solstice. Image by Sam Edwards/OJO Images/Getty Images

The days are going to start getting longer again. Aren't you tired of it getting dark before you eat dinner? Of course you are. However, when the nights are long and the sun has gone down, there are plenty of ways for you and your family to get some quality time together. Build a fire, read some stories together, play board games, and hunker down for the chilly nights. Then at Yule, celebrate the return of the sun.

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I don’t care what religion you follow, some of the classic holiday specials are magical for all of us. Personally, I still get a little lump in my throat when Linus puts his blanket over his head and tells the Peanuts Gang the story of the three wise men making their way to Bethlehem. Also worth watching: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Story, and It’s a Wonderful Life. More »

Holiday Music

Go caroling at Yule and sing traditional wassail songs. Image by Ray Laskowitz/Lonely Planet/Getty Images

Whether you're Pagan, Christian, Jewish, or Other, there's a ton of great stuff to listen to this time of year. Be sure to read our list of reader suggestions for some great Yule songs for Pagans - but don't rule out the tunes of other religions as well. Handel's Messiah is obviously Christian, and one of the most beautiful pieces ever written.

The exchange of gifts is rooted in Roman tradition. Image by Paul Strowger/Moment/Getty Images

Who doesn't love presents? If you don't have a lot of money to spend, don't worry about it. Give handmade gifts to your friends. Better yet, give presents to total strangers via different charity drives, such as the Toys for Tots project.

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During the medieval period, the Yule season was a time of great feasting and revelry. Image by Dennis K. Johnson/Lonely Planet/Getty Images

If you don't bake, find a friend who does, and you may well find yourself gifted with some delicious goodies in December! It's a good season for comfort foods, as well as cookies, cakes, breads and candy. Put your delicious creations in a decorative tin and give it as a gift to your favorite teacher, neighbor, or someone else who has made a difference in your life.

  • Chocolate Yule Log
  • Yule Peppermint Fudge
  • Baked Spaghetti Squash
  • Hot Buttered Rum
  • Make a Pot of Wassail
  • Sun King Soup
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Make your own Yule decor as part of a family project. Image by mediaphotos/Vetta/Getty Images

It's cold outside, it's probably raining or snowing, and there's no way you want to get out from under that Snuggie. Don't worry - this is the perfect season to start working on some of your favorite craft projects. Whether you're a whiz at needlecrafts or a beginner to woodworking, any hands-on creations you can put together this time of year are good for the heart and soul. If you have time, put your energy to work making crafty gifts for friends.

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Yule is a season of light and magic. Image by Martin Barraud/OJO Images/Getty Images

There’s a reason we deck our halls with boughs of holly at Yule – it allows us to bring the outdoors inside to celebrate the season. Pine and holly boughs, Yule logs, snow globes, Santa figures, candles and woodland treats are all great ways to celebrate the solstice during the winter. Incorporate decorations from your Yule altar into the rest of your home. More »

Make a snowman as a protective guardian in front of your home. Image by Carl D. Walsh/Aurora/Getty Images

There's something magical about snow. While you might be sick of it by February, and willing to sell your soul for a day at the beach, the first time we see those fat fluffy flakes coming down, we all turn into seven-year-olds. Go outside and build a snowman, have a snowball fight, or make snow angels. It's fun, and you can follow it up with a cup of hot cocoa by the fire.

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WinterFamily.jpg
Get the whole family celebrating the simple things in the season. Image (c) BrandX/Getty Images; Licensed to About.com

Winter often reminds us that it’s the basics that count. Decompress a little and focus on inner growth – stop worrying about the material things, and instead spend time doing the things that make you happy. Reduce your seasonal stress, and you'll have a lot more fun. More »

It's hard to get along with family sometimes... especially when they drive you nuts. Image by Jason Verschoor/E+/Getty Images

Lots of us only see our extended family at the holidays. Make the best of it! Even if your family isn’t Pagan, try your best to spend time with them and celebrate the season. More »