Monday, December 22, 2014

Honoring Hestia on the Winter Solstice

Although I disagree with the author's view of what the REAL season for the season is (as most people have their own and not one of them is the only one reason pertaining to all...except for axial tilt), I do like how they honor Hestia.  Three of my reason's are family, fire,and warmth, I don't know why I never thought to connect my Matron...  But that's why I'm on the internet to learn and gain new perspectives.

Although yesterday, I had a candle lit for Odin and the Julbocken (as they're our family's gift givers), I also had a candle lit for Hestia, as we had guests over.  I almost always have a candle lit on Her shrine, as She's about hospitality and creating a sense of warmth.  In a way, I do honor Her.

As for the Winter Solstice, for me it's about honoring the season and beginning of Winter.  It's an important time for celebrating family, warmth, joy, abundance, and charity.  We give donations, make and bake gifts, have a blast with family and friends, decorate our Yule Tree with what matters to us, light the Yule Log, and gives thanks for all we have with offerings to the Spirits, Deities, and Ancestors.

 Odin and Julbocken Came to Town!
 Yule Lunch

For me, Hestia represents all of these things.  But, for me, the Winter Solstice isn't just about Her, besides, She has the Vestalia in June. But it is an interesting idea.  

Blessed Yule, Winter Solstice, Christmas, and all other Holidays!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Yule and Christmas

I had an idea this year.

When we had kids, we said, "Finally, people will have to come to US on holidays instead!  Hahahahahaaaa!"  Nope.  Doesn't happen when you have different holidays.  We don't celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter at our house.  We have Fall Equinox, Samhain, Yule, Spring Equinox, May Day, and the Summer Solstice.  We've invited family and friends on these sabbats, but most people don't really show up because it's 'weird'.  Many of them aren't willing to learn new things and it's annoying, especially since we're expected to be at their homes for their holidays (which I usually don't bitch about because the main emphasis is family and the focus is largely on the kids having fun).  But the important people come, like my BFF...and those who want a free, good meal, right?  Oh, and one of my other Pagan friends has come over.

This year is going to be different.  See, with two young kids, we don't feel like running around on Christmas Day, we have three places to hit: My moms, My dads, and hubby's family.  No.  Just no.  My oldest son LOVES his grandparents and he throws fit whenever he has to leave them.  Not doing that three times.

AND, as of last night, I learned that I need to cook on Christmas Day, because hubby invited his family to our house.  Why not?  It's our first house.  

I had already planned this, but now it's a must.  I'm going to be running around and having to cook a dinner on Christmas.

On Yule, we're inviting my dad's side to our house for lunch.  Drink some hot chocolate, exchange gifts, then have some lunch.  There will be no "Oh, I can't make it", because listen: We have a lot of driving and cooking to do on Christmas.  Either come to our house, or don't bother with Christmas period.  We're not super heroes.  Get over your problem with our holiday.  It's not that different from yours.  It's not like I'm expecting these people to participate in any rituals!  Just come for fun and food.

Speaking of food, that means I need a plan.

Yule Lunch, Sunday, December 21st

  • Greet: Peppermint Hot Chocolate- I make peppermint tea then add hot chocolate to it.  This year, I may just add peppermint sticks to the hot chocolate.  Haven't decided.
  • Main:  Cranberry Cream Cheese Turkey Sandwich
  • Side: Spinach, Raspberry, Almond, Goat Cheese, Turkey Salad.
  • Dessert: Almond Yule Stump- Using no chocolate, since I have some non-chocolate lovers in the family (nor am I using sponge cake).  Garnished with raspberries, mint leaves, and almond slivers. (I found one recipe here, for an Almond Cake, but I need to try it first).
  • Beverages: Blackberry Cider, Wine

As for Christmas, not as well a thought out plan...but I do have time.   I'm really trying to find a recipe for the meat dish that I can do in the crock pot (I love using my crock pot!).  Because we go to my mom's on Christmas Eve and stay the night.  Have gift exchange and breakfast in the morning.  Then head out.  It would be nice to already have something going or done by the time we get home.  Luckily, my crockpot has a cook timer on it.  I'm just worried about drying the ham out.

Christmas Dinner, Thursday, December 25th

At least hubby didn't spring this on me days before.  Maybe I'll have them bring food, just not desserts because that's my favorite area to bake!  Unless they don't like peppermint....

Then I have my son's 2nd birthday on the 28th!  At least I won't need to cook, just decorate.  Getting his cake from the bakery, then having a meat and cheese tray, a fruit tray, and some popcorn.  

I love this time of the year, but man.....Oh, and I still have to bake sweets for the adults as their gifts... It's busy!