The table beside my bed is one of my favorites. I love the color, the weathered patina, the size……but it was hidden under all of the things that I felt like I needed to help me relax and sleep better. There was my alarm clock, my book, my Kindle, my diffuser, my scented candles, my box to hold my wedding ring at night, essential oils, and even a basket of random junk.
I moved the alarm clock to the other side of the bed, put the random junk away, found room in the drawer for my Kindle and book as well as the extra essential oils. Now it’s tidy and restful with my slippers neatly tucked under the bed and my knitting basket waiting under the table. Ahhh Hygge.
Day 11 of the Yuletide celebration is for “Bringing in the Boar.” There is a tradition dating back to the 15th Century of bringing in the head of a boar after the hunt; oaths were sworn on it, and they were as binding as any taken. Tonight we are reminded of the strength of our word and the strength of our heart.
For the penultimate night of Yule, we toast the Great Boar himself, as a symbol of the wildness of nature. Carefully consider your oaths and resolutions; and consider, too, the thing that you will “hunt” in the new year. What will you seek for you and your family? What will you do that brightens your life and the lives of others?
Yuletide continues and on this tenth day we honor the Spirits of the Home and Hearth – asking them to watch over our home and tools and to light our way through the year to come.
Work is customarily set aside for the Yuletide celebration, and as it draws to a close, this is the day to begin preparing for things to be done; sorting yarns and fabrics, looking over stores of herbs and spices, sharpening the knives.
At our home, the Yule tree has made it’s way outside to serve another few weeks as a light in the darkness, the decorations are being carefully packed away and the common rooms are returning to their usual selves.
The pups are tuckered out on the floor near the fire and leftovers from our feasting are being tucked away into the freezer. Last night’s Roast Beef with gravy, along with the roasted potatoes and carrots will become a beef pot pie using leftover pie dough. Some of the leftover ham and cheeses has gone in to a Cheesy Potato Casserole for breakfast. I have more ham to freeze and a turkey thawing in the garage for tomorrow nights supper.
On the fifth day of Yuetide is dedicated to the Alfar, the male ancestors home and hearth. We will remember and try to keep the bargains made to the spirits throughout the year and take a moment to honor our ancestors – – maybe even leave out a little offering for the most well-known of the elves tonight.
My husband’s late grandfather Ivar, traditionally made
lefse and krumkake for this holiday so today we will remember him by making krumkake. We would go over to Ivars home on Christmas Eve and enjoy a big supper and lots of stories. He was always really kind to me and such a gentle soul. On this Christmas night, the family will gather once more and we will fill the krumkake with fresh whipped cream and enjoy a warm fire and good company, just as Ivar would have liked.
All of my male ancestors have passed, but I hope that where they are finds them by a warm fire, enjoying a strong cup of coffee and a peppermint stick with friends and family that went before them….and I hope they can see all of us and take comfort the traditions they helped to create.
Tonight begins the Celtic and Norse celebrations of the 12 days of Yule. Sunset on December 20th this years marks the beginning of the shortest (and this years darkest, due to a total lunar eclipse. December 21st marks the Winter solstice and the beginning to longer days to come.
The eve of the Solstice is called Mothers’ Night: it is an evening to honor the spirit of mothers and all those things that they have given us. Light your candle and remember them at sunset.
On the fourth day of vacation……. (I missed a few days when the water heater went out in the middle of the snow storm) the sugar cookies were baked and decorated. More trees for the tree, snowflakes and reindeer for the cookie tray.
There is a long tradition of Brigittine Monastery Gourmet Fudge in Oregon. At Our Lady of Consolation Priory, the monks quietly go about producing some of the most delicious, rich and creamy fudge in the world. We didn’t have time to make the drive to Amity this Yuletide, but in a wonderful spirit of giving, years ago, the monastery published a recipe (circa 1987) to recreate their fudge at home.
4½ Cups Sugar
13 Ounces Evaporated Milk
9 Ounces Semisweet Chocolate
9 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate
7 Ounces Marshmallow Cream
½ Pound Butter
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Chopped Walnuts (optional)
Combine the sugar and milk to a deep, heavy pot.
Heat over medium bringing the mixture to a boil. Boil for 6 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the remaining ingredients.
Stir like crazy, until everything is melted and mixed.
Pour the mixture into a well-buttered 9″ x 13″ pan.
Let cool to room temperature and cut into cubes.
*** Whoops – I left out the butter. I’ve melted 1/4 cup butter and stirred in half of the semi-hardened fudge, then added a 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped filberts. The other half of the semi-hardened fudge just got the melted butter added.
This year we made one batch, poured about 1/3 into a pan, and added pecans to the pan. We poured another 1/3 into a second pan and then added (as per Noah’s request) some crushed pretzels to the remainder. I think this will help with the “fudge until Spring Equinox” problem.