Winter Solstice | Sitting by the fire or Wassailing?

Winter Solstice, also known as Yule, is when the sun’s return is welcomed. From now on the nights will start getting a little lighter (even if you don’t notice at first), and the days a little longer. The solstice itself is the shortest day and longest night, and usually falls around the 21st-22nd December.

The Wheel of Fortune. The Winter Solstice is often depicted with a wheel.

In some traditions, the Holly King rules from Midsommer to Yule and the Oak King from Yule to Midsommer. In others, it is Thor and Odin who are honoured. And in still others, it is when the Goddess becomes the Great Mother and gives birth to the new Sun King.

The Winter Solstice is often depicted with a wheel, each of the spokes is a solstice celebration, always in motion.

Bringing in the Winter Solstice Brings you…

  • A good harvest in the coming months
  • Fertility
  • Light and Warmth
  • Everlasting Life
  • Good Health and Protection
  • Rebirth
  • Reincarnation
  • Healing
  • Joy

So, what are you meant to do to celebrate?

With Fire! Okay, so a lot of Winter Solstice festivals are fire festivals. The bright orange flames against the darkest night sky and have been going on since ancient times, why not light a bonfire or if you have a fireplace or a log burner select a particularly large log to burn. But you can’t buy it, you must acquire it by other means. You could even write on a piece of paper a thing you wish to achieve in the coming year and attach it to your yule log.

You can decorate your house with -oh look at that, you already did, what a nice Winter Solstice tree- boughs of evergreen bushes and trees. You can give gifts and take a day off work. You may even choose to bring Mistletoe inside to protect against fire and lightning. Or perhaps you have a nice candle (blue, red or green) surrounded by wintery greenery that you can light from Christmas eve till twelfth night for good luck, just remember not to blow out the candle or you’ll blow away the luck. It’s also a good excuse to drink Cider -Wassail!

Wassailing might take place as part of traditional Winter Solstice celebrations and can be done door to door with accompanying carols or in the orchard where you sing to the trees to encourage a bountiful harvest.

So many of the traditions remain part of our Christmas celebrations and whether you choose to celebrate this extra day or keep everything to the 25th (and 26th, and probably those other things you’ve agreed to go to, and that winter walk with a bunch of people you haven’t seen in a while and aren’t entirely sure you remember but what the hell you’ll end up in the pub anyway probably) it’s a time for family and friends, looking forward, and celebrating your achievements.

Movies & Shows for the Winter Solstice

Plus, there are plenty of options for things to watch on those nights you just want to curl up, eat that extra box of special mince pies you’ve stashed, and enjoy the benefits of the darker nights, like:

  • Holidays (2016) -an anthology of uniquely dark winter tales
  • Winter Solstice (2003) -if you’re looking for something romantic
  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Winter Special (2018) -on Netflix
  • The Hogfather (2006) -Adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s novel
  • A Christmas Carol (2019) -Airs on the BBC on the 19th of December
  • The Man Who Invented Christmas -Netflix
  • Black Christmas -whichever one you prefer