The Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year falls usually on 21st of December. It is a time where darkness rules over the light and from which the nights start to get shorter and shorter.
The Oak King wins the battle over the Holly King who ruled since the Summer Solstice and his rule made days shorter and shorter and nights longer and longer. Evergreens like holly, ivy or mistletoe are traditional plants representing magic of Mother Earth - everlasting energy of life, always green, sleeping but alive. Holly is the representative of the male energies, Ivy of the female and Mistletoe is ancient protection plant. It was cut out from Oak trees, divided among the community households to hand in each house for protection. Traditionally houses were decorated with these evergreens to also invite Fae into homes from the cold.
Yule is a fire festival, celebrating return of the Sun. The time of Winter Solstice or Midwinter is a time of celebration for many cultures around the world, from Buddhist's Festival of Lights, to the Jewish Hanukkah, to Christian Christmas to Pagan Yule. The Sun is born again on the Winter Solstice and it will symbolically grow as the days will get longer. Traditionally Yule log out of Oak tree would be burnt 12 days and 12 nights from Yule to about 2nd or 3rd of January. Yule candles were also lid, decorated with holy, berries, green and red ribbons, then put at window's sills to invite good spirits who would bless and protect homes during the cold long winter. Candle would be also burned for 12 days, often such a candle would be given as a gift to the love ones, for the blessed and prosperous next year.
Decorate your altar with pine cones, garlands of cranberries, lots of candles and mistletoe. Yule colors are dark green, deep read, white, gold and silver. Herbs and plants used are cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, mistletoe and apples. Green color represent prosperity, red representing fertility and gold color represents power of Sun.
Witches put down their magical tools and do no magic during Yule period, but they rest and contemplate on what year's blessing they have received. After the last pieces of Yule log or Yule candle is finished on the 12th day, which will fall on 1st of January, the witches start to practice magic again.
You can however made Yule blessings, for yourself or your loved once by saying during Yule:
"You waned, now growing like the Sun,
Who's born again, the light has won!
With Yule log placed upon the fire,
Rebirth delivers heart's desire.
This magic is worked, with harm to none.
So mote it be. There, it is done".
Yule Blessings to All,