Christian Christmas Yule Log Traditions
In England and Serbia, Oak is traditional; in Scotland, it is Birch; while in France, it's Cherry. Also, in France, the log is sprinkled with wine, before it is burnt, so that it smells nice when it is lit. In Devon and Somerset in the UK, some people have a very large bunch of Ash twigs instead of the log. This comes from a local legend that Joseph, Mary and Jesus were very cold when the shepherds found them on Christmas Night. So the shepherds got some bunches of twigs to burn to keep them warm
In the French tradition the log is paraded around the house three times by the oldest male, then anointed with wine. Carols or the Troparion would be good to sing during the procession. Some Serbian families anoint it with honey, and it is decorated with ribbons and greenery. Then is said:
"O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, who did plant the Tree of Life in paradise so that it might bestow upon us eternal blessedness, bless also now this tree which is a symbol of Thy cross and the Tree of Life in paradise, and which reminds us of Thy holy birth and of the logs which the shepherds of Bethlehem kindled to warm themselves when they came to worship Thee, the divine infant, and thereby prefigured Thy salvation-bearing cross."
The log is lit, and the family sings “Deck the Halls,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” or “The Christmas Song.” Toasting Marshmallows, telling ghost stories, and mulled cider or wine go well with the Yule Log.
A jolly dinner party between some Winter Solstice chums from all over the world: The Holly King & Oak King twins, a spirit of Yule, Gryla (the Christmas Witch), and Jólakötturinn (the Yule Cat). But if you know anything about Gryla, you might want to pass on that stew she prepared. 😉