The day that has the fewest hours of daylight in a year. For months I look forward to Yule. I celebrate it much the same way that people celebrate Christmas. I get together with friends and family, have a good home-cooked meal, exchange presents, and have a grand old time.
We celebrated Yule yesterday, Rachel and I. We went to a friend's house, where we were kindly given use of the kitchen to prepare the meal. It was the first time I cooked a turkey pretty much by myself, and it was quite an experience. Laura, our host, gave me pointers, for which I'm very grateful, and also taught me a good recipe for sausage stuffing which I plan to use again as soon as I get some sausage and something to stuff it all into!
I've also got the skin and bones from the turkey in the freezer, and I expect we'll be eating soup for many days now. Over half the meat came home with us, too, which I'm going to try to stretch as far as possible. I may ve going to my mother's place on Christmas for another turkey dinner, but there's no harm in making food stretch while I have it. It saves money and cuts down on waste, and those are going to be increasingly important themes in my life.
We also have a tradition of acquiring some sort of Yule log. Not a real log, since we can't exactly light it on fire and keep it going for many days of festivities, but we have our symbolism. In years past, it's been an ice cream log cake, with candles. This year it was a small homemade carrot cake with candles stuck in. I think the Yule log might be my favourite tradition, really. The meal is always good, but I look forward to seeing the log so much. Not eating it, but just seeing it.
I recieved some wonderful gifts, too. A kit with wax for crafting, and a bead loom. The loom needs a little tweaking, since the grooves aren't deep enough to keep the threads from popping out every time I breathe, and the instructions are far from clear, but once I figure it out I expect that I'll be making plenty of beaded bracelets and the like!
All tied in with this is the knowledge that this is a season of death, of hibernation, and of privation. It's the start of a hard time, both in the past and for us today. Cold winds, snow, ice, and with me having no job at the moment and money running a little thin, it isn't exactly a happy situation.
But through all that is the knowledge that despite it all, we had enough to pull together to have a good meal and to be with friends. Even in the darkness, there's plenty of light, and the days are only going to get longer and brighter from here. It was a heartening thought.
May all your days be brighter from here on out, too!