The Origins Of Yuletide

The Origins Of Yuletide

Yule is Here! 

Ritual celebrations play a key role to motivate and move us, especially in times of uncertainty. Through ritual we strengthen bonds, build communities and simply celebrate the joy in life and all it has to offer. The Pagan celebration of Yuletide (also known as Yule or the Winter Solstice) is one of the oldest celebrations in the world and our modern-day Christmas takes many of its traditions and practices from this ancient celebration. 

A Yuletide celebration is the perfect way to connect with nature and your loved ones, so read on to find out more about the history of Yule, Yuletide traditions and how you can celebrate!


what is yuletide, what does yuletide mean, what are the origins of yule? rustic Christmas decorations foraged from nature


What is Yuletide?

Yuletide is a pagan festival, historically observed by Germanic peoples. Scholars have connected the original celebrations of Yule to the Wild Hunt (a ghostly procession in the winter sky), the god Odin, and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht (an event held on what is now Christmas Eve).

The Yuletide season originally spanned around two months, falling along the end of the modern calendar year between what is now mid-November and early January. Today, Yuletide begins on the 21st December, which marks the shortest day of the year and the official start of winter. Yule celebrations now last 12 days (like a certain familiar carol!), ending on the 1st of January. 

Illustration of an ancient Nordic Yule festival , what does yuletide mean, the origins of yuletide

Illustration of an ancient Nordic Yule festival (Die Gartenlaube, 1880)

What does Yuletide mean? 

Yuletide can mean many different things depending on how you choose to celebrate, but much of the focus is on rebirth, light, celebrating nature and setting intentions for the coming year. It’s safe to say that many of us could do with some light and love after a very tough two years, and the positive meaning behind Yuletide is a great way to reconnect with nature and focus on the light in the darkness. 

Woman in warm boho scarf setting solstice intentions and manifesting yuletide wishes

How to celebrate Yule

Much like our modern-day Christmas, traditional Yuletide celebrations focused on eating, drinking and spending time with loved ones (with the odd ritual sacrifice thrown in for good measure!). Thankfully, the last aspect isn’t strictly necessary for modern day celebrations, but Yuletide is still the perfect time to reconnect with nature, eat, drink and exchange gifts with people we love. Looking for some ideas for a happy Yuletide? See below for some of our favourite ways to celebrate. 


woman sitting in front of yuletide shrine, with boho kimono, crystal jewellery and rustic Christmas decorations behind her from Forage Design

Build a Yule altar

 Much of the symbolism and meaning surrounding Yule is linked to light, life and rebirth, so many people like to celebrate by lighting candles on an altar. Add symbols of winter like evergreen boughs and pine cones, plus some sage for cleansing.  

evergreen yule wreath, rustic Christmas decoration on a wooden door

Make an evergreen wreath

Evergreens were traditionally brought into the home to celebrate life and renewal. An evergreen wreath is a beautiful decoration for your home and it’s the ideal way to get creative and connect with the natural world. 



Christmas gift ideas, boho spiral earrings in hand made silver with beautiful rustic gift box, surrounded by yuletide decorations and natural ornaments

Exchange nature-based gifts

The practice of exchanging Christmas gifts has its roots in Yuletide traditions and the customary items to give come from nature. You could give crystals, raw stone jewellery, a plant-based candle, or a beautiful handmade wreath as mentioned above. 


hand painted luxury baubles for decorating a yuletide tree or rustic christmas tree

Decorate a Yule tree

In old pagan traditions, Yule trees were actually living outdoor trees that were decorated with hanging candles. The candles and any additional ornaments were used to symbolise the sun, moon, and stars, as well as remembrances of loved ones that were lost. Real candles do pose a fire hazard(!), but try our hand painted luxury baubles for a beautiful addition to your tree this year. 


Boho book and crystal jewellery gift set, raw stone jewellery placed on a leather bound book

Forage Design - Beautiful Gifts for Yuletide and Beyond 

Searching for the perfect gift this winter? Celebrate Yuletide, Christmas or the joy of the winter season with our range of jewellery, crystals, clothing, homewares and more. We’ve curated some beautiful gift sets too from some of our bestselling items, with bundles to suit every budget. 

Every sale triggers a donation to charity and we’re committed to tackling waste as much as possible, so you can be confident that any gift you give is good for you and good for the planet. We hope you and your loved ones enjoy these gifts as much as we do and we wish you all a very happy Yuletide!


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