The wheel of the year has turned us to the time of the Winter Solstice, Yule and of course Hanukkah. All of these traditions celebrate the return of light in one way or another. The darkest day of the Solstice marks the time when the days will grow in length. Yule is a winter festival that was initially celebrated by the historical Germanic people as a pagan religious festival. Large “Yule logs” were burned for many days to chase away the cold and dark nights. Hanukkah of course celebrates a victory for my ancestral people over their oppressors and a miracle involving holy oil and light in the temple.
This year, like in years past I celebrate these holidays. This year, however, I decided to incorporate them all in my holiday decorating. Sadly, last year my exquisite Lennox Menorah was destroyed and I have not been able to replace it as of yet, so I decided to use votive cups and tea lights as a menorah this year. This allowed me to incorporate some of the season’s plants in my home.
I laid out the special blue velvet mantle cover I use each year, then laid out boughs of Pine, Cedar and Boxwood. Herb and plant lore tell us that Cedar will remove negativity from a space; Pine is a spiritual cleanser and that Boxwood energy is used for protection and granting wishes. I also included a dried Bayberry wreath on my mantle for prosperity, health, healing, protection and luck!
I finished the whole thing off with birch candles in large apothecary jars surrounded by golden Hanukkah “gelt” . The word gelt means money in Yiddish and refers to money as well as chocolate coins given to Jewish children on the festival of Hanukkah.
Incorporating these themes into my home helps me feel I am honoring all of my traditions. I hope you all have a peaceful and happy holiday season!