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The Llewellyn Journal

Celebrating Yule without Losing Your Mind—Or Your Life Savings

This article was written by Dorothy Morrison
posted under Pagan

Ah, the Yuletide season! No matter who we are or where we live, it's something we all look forward to. And why not? When it comes to the Winter Solstice, cultural differences don't matter. Language isn't a barrier. And neither is the fact that the traditions with which we commemorate this festival are as varied as the celebrants themselves. That's because it's a time of light and warmth—the time when the newborn Sun appears again in the sky—a confirmation that the dark, bitter chill that envelopes the Earth will soon give way to longer days and the greening of Spring. And in the dead of Winter, that's a promise we can all appreciate.

Even so, it's more than that. The promise of the newborn Sun brings its light and warmth into our hearts, as well. Common courtesy and good will becomes the norm, rather than the exception. Senseless worries give way to something much more important: A sincere appreciation for our neighbors, friends, and loved ones, and all they do to enrich our lives. We find ourselves smiling at each other, speaking to strangers on the street, and going out of our way to practice random acts of kindness. In short, we all become nicer people, and even if only temporarily, the world seems a much better place to live. In this day and time, that's definitely something worth celebrating!

As worthy of celebration as the Winter Solstice is, though, doing so often presents its own set of problems in the form of time and money. There are holiday cards to send out, gifts to buy, and our homes to decorate. There are parties to plan, additional trips to the grocery store, and all that holiday baking and cooking to handle. Unless you've got a staff of personal servants and an unlimited bank account, it's enough to make your head spin. And that's certainly no way to spend the season.

So, what do you do? How do you get everything done on time? Or handle all that extra expense without taking out a mortgage-sized bank loan? More to the point, how do you manage to relax, enjoy the season, and actually have some fun?

Contrary to popular belief, the answer is not double-dipping into the eggnog. But it's almost as effortless, and comes in the form of three little words. Simplify. Organize. Delegate.

At this point, I can almost hear what you're thinking: It starts with "yeah, but" and ends with "nobody else can do this the way I want it done." And believe me, I understand. By the same token, though, Yuletide meals don't have to be twelve-course extravaganzas. Nobody will gasp in horror because every loop of garland on the tree doesn't measure exactly nine inches at its drop. And no one—not one single person in the entire history of Yule—ever died because a Yule card arrived addressed in a childish script or with a printed computer label adorning its envelope.

If you're still not convinced, though, consider this: The whole idea behind any celebration is to celebrate. And you just can't do that if you're so worn out you can't even remember your own name. That said, take a deep breath and regroup. Then get started with some of the tips below. You'll be glad you did!

Of course, I realize that nothing is ever as easy as it appears in print. Things seldom go according to plan, and we often find ourselves changing course in mid-stream. Sometimes, we even find ourselves upstream without benefit of paddles. And a good many of us just don't do well with those sorts of changes. For this reason I urge you, no matter what your Yuletide plans involve, to keep it simple. That way, you'll truly be able to enjoy the season. What's more, you'll know that the light, warm, fuzzy feeling starting at your core and spreading through your entire being is exactly what it should be: that wondrously awesome, magical spirit of Yule—and not the early signs of complete and total holiday exhaustion!

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