View From The Glen

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas In The Country (Part III)

Christmas in the country,

Like another time and place.
I see it in the little things,
In every smiling face.
It's crystal nights and far off lights
And children count the days.
Country Christmas and love will lead the way.
- Roger Whittaker, Christmas In The Country

It's the last weekend before Christmas. The house is decorated, the cookies are baked, the tree is lit. School is out, spirits are high, excitement is mounting.

It's time to Deck The Halls, by which I mean incorporate one of my favourite Christmas traditions, one that stems from medieval times, and is a bit on the pagan side too. The Winter Solstice is upon us, the Yule season, and in our house that means enjoying a crisp winter afternoon out of doors collecting pine boughs and red berries and bringing all those smells of the outdoors inside, to be placed with the holly and mistletoe, and the strings of popcorn and cranberries, on windowsills and around doorways. We light up the house with oil lamps and candlelight, and make sure there is a blazing yule fire to ward off the darkness on this longest night of the year*.

Feasting is an important part of the day. We enjoy tourtiere and decadent desserts, including a spicy figgy pudding, sing carols and drink mulled wine shouting wassail (be whole) to which the reply is drinkail (drink and be merry). We'll move the furniture and dance Christmas polkas before settling down before the fire and telling riddles and stories by its light.

Welcome mid-winter!

* Yes, I know the actual solstice doesn't occur until Monday, Dec 21st

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