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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Yule for a Modern Pagan Family

As the holiday's take their course, the season building blocks are put into place with traditional songs, decorations and stories are drilled into us by media, that are hard to avoid. From your T.V., your mail box, the bill boards that line your trip to work, the traditional modern materialism Christmas is tossing out its messages of buy, buy and buy.
Along with this love towards Mammon, so has the creation of many our most beloved traditions. The giving and receiving of gifts is a popular one, along with the modern image of Santa Claus, his glowing red nose reindeer Rudolph, all were gimmicks in advertisements for products that the image has become so iconic that now have surpass their original creation.

In way, this can be good in that we have traditions and culture to celebrate and enjoy. However as pagans, we do not have the easy option of playing a video explaining our history, our songs, our stories and our beliefs. Its good that our culture isn't being sold on the market completely, but how do we stand against something as big and powerful as Christmas?

The key is family. As shiny and new or big and popular will not give your child love. No out fit you buy them, no toy you fight like a band of rabid animals for, will still be with your child or grandchild in their life. Instead of giving something that will fade out, give them the gift of you. Something that will out live you and bring joy and happiness to that child you love all their life, happy memories of you.


How to Come Together at Yule

You know the way to a man's heart is his stomach. This is very true. However this isn't just true for men, but most people. Eating is one of our most pleasurable actions. Healthy recipes to enjoy!
 Good food is a good ice breaker and a good way to bring even the most bitter enemies to the table.Rather than pin the kitchen duty on just one parent, I suggest making this a family affair. Cooking and clean up, can lesson the load of responisblities and bring families closer together.

Holiday music is always a great way to get into the spirt of the season. You can play your childhood favorite songs or pull out some drums and have a circle of music.
 Even if you aren't musically inclind, your family can enjoy the time together singing and play music together. With practice you may find some musical talent.

Crafts, another pleasureable way to end the year. Creating your own gifts and decorations can really make the holidays a lot of fun.
Children love crafts and you might find you enjoying them as well. Its always good to learn something new.
Feeding hungry animals is also a long practiced tradition this time of year. You can make bird seed crafts and hang them outside on a tree for the hungry birds is a simply way to accomplish this goal.
 You can also look for a clower of cats living wild and give them a bag of cat food. If you are like me and already loyal feed a clower of strays, you can give them a treat of wetfood if you its in your budget. In colder areas, squirls and chipmunks go hungry, leaving a bag of hard shell nuts out for our little rodent friends. This will teach your child empathy for animals and a good time to talk about nature.

Santa

Santa is not completey a christian creation. The idea of giving out gifts has been around since ancient Rome, during their Santurnalla celebrations. In 2nd AD are the earliest records of Holda, the goddess of snow flakes. She is also the goddess of children and would give gifts to good chldren during the winter holidays. For more information about Holda. 


No matter who used, Santa, Father Winter, Father Odin, Holda, rather than lie to your child, tell them stories of theses fabled creatures. When your child inquires if the stories are true, rather than answer the question for them with the painful truth or a lie, simply tell them, they have to figured that out. Give up when they catch you red handed putting out gifts. Show great encouragement when they make their discovery, but remind them that its not their place to ruin the suprise for other children. Part of being a child is discovering the little lies told.

When the cat is out of the bag, make sure to teach the history of the tradition and explain how this tradition has taken on a life of its own. This tradition has effected so many generations, perfect example how traditions evolve. Never lose out on a good history lesson and this time of year is full of stories and legends, one can learn from.

Yule vs Christmas

During Yule, I try to keep thing cozy. We start our affar at sun down the night before, though preperation happenes long before. We have our large feast on Yule night. We often invite friends over to join us in festives.
The gifts we give are most educational, but fun. We also give out some toys and clothes. I try to give more home made gifts rather than bought toys and candy. Home baked cookies are a bigger hit that candies in a plastic candy cane.  Since we live in a warmer climate, we are able to celebrate the holiday out doors  with a fire. If you are not able to have a fire, a row of candles will be fine. You can put them in a safe holder for your purpose or even try flooting candles in water. Always becareful, especailly with small children. The holiday last all night. Children fall alseep, trying to stay awake and parent celebrate until dawn, watching the first new light from the longest night of the year.

For Christmas I had hoped we would visit our christian relatives, who always go way out in creating a beautiful holiday season.
 A large fresh cut tree, a feast that could feed an army, decorations that would put Macy's to shame and the exended family coming together. It truly is wonderful sight to behold. Sadly, we live far away. To bridge the gap, we skype, video the little one opening gifts in the early morning, that they sent her. We end the day with a nice dinner and watching old holiday movies we grew up with.


 When the children are asleep

Eventually, children do go to bed, on both Yule, Christmas and Santurnalla. When that time comes, its a time for grown up to enjoy the less child friendly activies. If you are going out, hire a young sitter to watch the sleepy heads, if not, make sure the feastivies won't wake them.
Drink and debachory are very much a part of spiritual life. Letting lose and having a good time, is important for us all. We should never do this excessively, but we have theses holidays for a reason and they are certianly a good time for this behavior. You can choose to have company, go out with people or choose this time for some friskiness with your partner. Please be responsible when you play. Get a room, stay home, give up the keys, call a cab or have a desginated driver on hand. Also make sure to use birth control, unless you are planning to add to your family.
May your Yuletide be bright
and may you all have a good night!

Happy Winter Solistice!
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