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The Tradition of the Yule Log

Is your Yule Log a fireplace tradition or a holiday dessert?

This page is all about the different ways that the idea of a Yule log has become part of holiday celebrations. It has links to the history of the Yule Log (the fireplace version), lots of recipes for how to bake modern Yule Log Cakes (the delicious holiday dessert version), a video Yule Log to download for your iPod (just the thing for travelers or the digerati), where to find a Yule log screensaver and much more!

Here's a picture of my very own yule log burning. Further down, I tell you how you can make a yule log that burns with different colors!


What Is A Yule Log? - Customs and History of the Yule Log in Europe and America

Over time, the word "yule" has become associated with both Christmas and the Winter Solstice. You'll find Yule Log traditions that relate to both holidays and which have Pagan and Christian traditions attached to them depending on the time period and culture from which the specific ritual originated. The more you read about Yule logs, the more you realize that burning a ritual log at the darkest time of the year whether for warmth, light, gathering or symbolism is one of the oldest human customs.

May Your Yule Log Burn Brightly and Long!

Yule Accoutrements

  • The Yule Log
    There is a custom that on Christmas Eve an enormous log of freshly cut wood called the Yule log would be fetched and carried to the house with great ceremony.
  • Yule log - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    A Yule log is a large log which is burned in the hearth as a part of traditional Yule or Christmas celebrations in some cultures.
  • The Yule Log
    The Yule log symbolizes the light returning to conquer the darkness. According to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder's land, or given as a gift.
  • The Yule Log by Tomm Larson
    Need an excuse for a Christmas party? How about a "traditional" excuse. If this year's party is already planned, add this old tradition to it. Burning a Yule log is probably the oldest Christmas tradition there is.
  • Urban Legends Reference Pages: Holidays (Yule Log)
    The origins of the yule log.
  • Christmas, Yule and the Winter Solstice
    Past and Present Festivals of Britain
  • Christmas Customs and Traditions -- The Yule Log
    The custom of the Yule Log spread all over Europe and different kids of wood are used in different countries. In England, Oak is traditional; in Scotland, it is Birch; while in France, it is Cherry. Also, in France, the log is sprinkled with wine, be
  • The Yule Log
    The Yule log is an winter holiday tradition that was observed by many European cultures. This ritual fire was held on the longest night of the year.

Warm Your Table With A Yule Log

What Type of Yule Log Do You Have For The Holidays?

Make a Yule Log that burns with Colored Flames - add some colors to your holiday fire

Holes drilled in the yule log

Holes drilled in the yule log

There is a way to make a fancy yule log that will burn with different colors. What you do is take a well-seasoned (nice and dry), thick log and bore several holes into it, a couple of inches deep. I used my grandpa's hand auger as it had a larger bit on the end of it than the largest one my dad had for his drill. The larger the holes, the more chemicals you can put in there and the bolder the colored flames will be. Be careful not to drill too deeply.

Once you have the holes, save the shavings. You'll need those in a bit. Put the chosen chemical(s) into the holes. Then you take the shavings, mix them with a bit of water and flour until you have a woody paste and then use that to seal over the holes so that the powdered chemicals don't spill out. Let the paste dry well.

When you burn your yule log, and the fire burns through the paste sealing the holes, it will ignite the chemicals and you'll get colored flames!

Some of the things that work can be found around the house, like epsom salts (bright white) or Borax (yellow-green) or sodium chloride aka table salt (yellow) but if you want to have a full spectrum, you may have to order chemicals online or go to specialty shops. For things like red (strontium chloride) or blue (copper chloride) or purple (potassium chloride), it's worth it!

Yule Log Mania!

Yuletide Greetings!

Lemming13 on December 22, 2012:

We had an open fire when I was a child, and we used to get our Yule log from a farm up the road; it was usually pine, but sometimes we had an apple tree log and it smelled amazing. We would all go together to fetch it, and lighting it was a highlight of the holiday. Now I only have a gas fire, which just isn't the same, so I bake a big chocolate Yule log and decorate it with icing sugar snow and chocolate robins and holly. we cut it on Christmas Eve because that's also my birthday.

goldenrulecomics from New Jersey on December 06, 2012:

When I was growing up one of the New York stations always had a yule log on the screen and played Christmas music all day long, so that's what I always think of when I hear the words yule log! Nice lens!

WoodlandBard on December 15, 2011:

A lot of ideas I had forgotten and some very new to me. Very nice lens indeed :-)

SandyPeaks on December 23, 2010:

A little difficult to burn with central heating - so it's the chocolate one for me! Blessed by a SquidAngel.

Teri Villars from Phoenix, Arizona on December 14, 2010:

I am still looking for this year's Yule Log on TV, I would have it on right now if available! Nice lens!

julieannbrady on December 06, 2010:

Ah, yuletide greetings to you my dear and a very Merry Christmas!

anonymous on December 11, 2008:

We use a piece of charcoal from the previous year's Solstice Celebration to kindle each year's Yule Log. Each year's log is decorated with pine cones and branches, and anointed with various oils. I began this family tradition in 1988, and each of my children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews as well as numerous friends have taken a piece of our tradition and made it their own.

anonymous on December 10, 2008:

Nice lens! I used to make a yule log each Christmas. Have the urge to make one again after reading this! Lensrolled you on my Christmas in France page.

poutine on November 20, 2008:

We always had a Christmas log when we were kids.

It was exciting to see it made and even more exciting

to see it as the centerpiece of our Christmas dinner.


greenerme on November 16, 2008:

These always look incredibly hard to make, but look great! I've ordered one from a bakery before, but maybe I'll try making one this year. Nice work!

MSBeltran1 on November 11, 2008:

Nice lens... I have lensrolled you to my Yule holiday page. Lots of great info here.

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