Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Yule!

At the moment, a very excited small person is jumping up and down, having just seen the breaking news on the BBC website that the title of the final Harry Potter book has just been released. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, eh? Well, my money was on HP & The Graveyard of Memories, but there you go. I daresay many children (and many grown ups who probably should know better but can't help but get sucked in!) will have worked themselves up into a frenzy of anticipation by the time the thing's published, speculating on what/where or even who the Deathly Hallows are or were! I reckon it's got something to do with that veil in the ministry of magic. We shall see.

Anyways. We had a wonderful day yesterday. Emily's friend Maisie came round for the day and the two girls made angels from gold/silver paper plates and doilies and they made secret Christmas sweetie holders in the shape of Xmas trees from loo roll holders, lol. Very Blue Peter. They also had lunch, tea, a wonderful play and completely trashed the place, but it was so nice to hear the laughter and giggles; it was worth the mess!!

Today we've been celebrating Yule and the winter solstice. Because we've still go so much to do for Christmas, we didn't get to look at this festival as indepth as we would have liked to, but we did read a lot about the pagan yule traditions and symbols and discussed how much of this has found its way into the Christian Christmas. Emily hadn't realised that nobody actually knows when Jesus was born, and that it's pretty unlikely to have been on December 25th, so she was surprised to learn that the only reason this date was adopted was because the "ruling classes" of the time wanted to convert the heathens without undue fuss and so chose a time of year when they were used to celebrating anyway. I think I remember reading somewhere that what little evidence there is suggests that Jesus was born in February sometime, but I can't quite put my finger on that bit of knowledge. May have to look it up again.

We're not having a real Christmas tree so we couldn't follow the tradition of bringing on in and decorating it today, but we did what we could to get plenty of greenery into the house, braving the extremely frosty and fog ridden garden complete with more spiders webs than I've ever seen in my life. Look at this bush, for instance - always knew there was a reason I didn't like this one!

Then we set about making some yule wreaths. Emily loved doing this, but it was an awful lot harder than it looks!

We had holly from our tree, loads of fir cones, evergeen bits and bobs, dried orange slices and cinammon stick bundles, some of which we left natural and some of which we sprayed gold, silver or snowy. Here's Emily's finished wreath with orange/cinammon. In the middle is another smaller wicker circle she made with an orange at the centre and cinammon at the top, all sprayed gold. I think she made an excellent job of arranging and wiring everything on.
And this one's mine, with holly and greenery sprayed gold. The snowy dried oranges in the middle are Emily's again.
We also read some yule stories and used a smudge stick in every room in the house to clear negative energy:

We spent the rest of the day finishing up some Christmas presents. Emily's made Boxes of Love for Nana/Gramps and for Grandad - beautifully decorated boxes and inside she's written dozens of reasons why she loves them, all rolled up into tiny little scrolls tied with gold ribbon :-))

Merlin has made an incredible recovery from his surgery. His appetite is back to being HUGE again and he's very disgruntled at only being allowed the mushy prescription food. He's also desperate to go out and survey his kingdom. Basically, if it wasn't for the large shaven areas you wouldn't know he'd been through the surgery at all. It's going to be a long week for him until next Friday when the stitches come out and he's allowed to eat what he likes again - and go out!

Meanwhile, Royal Mail are up to their usual standards of service this Christmas. Every time I walk past the PC there are another few frantic messages from customers, wanting to know why their items haven't arrived yet. Sigh. It really is a disgrace. Although I do wish people would order earlier too - everyone knows the postal system is utterly incapable, so why leave it to the last second?? We're looking forward to a few evenings with very few items to pack now - just as well, as Santa needs some help wrapping Emily's presents!

Off for a quick bath before watching "A Tudor Christmas Feast" documentary on BBC2 tonight. Oooh, and Emily saw a trailer yesterday for the 2nd series of Project Catwalk coming soon, so we're looking forward to that.


lucy said...

Love the look of your Yule :) We did wreaths one year and found them really hard - made the mistake of using holly which was painful!

Elle at Ellesfuntimes said...

Enjoyed reading about the birth date of Jesus, hadn't really considered all that before!! Also, lovely wreaths and so pleased to hear Merlin's still doing well. Elle