Wood Between Worlds

Yule, Advent, Christmas and Saturnalia Altar Ideas for the Season

There is a complex tapestry of holidays in December, and so many different ways to celebrate. I tend to pick an emphasis each year to avoid overload. Below are some traditional elements to include during the winter months, if you are looking for new additions to your altar space.

Candle Colors

Advent/Christmas: Theotokos, Hope, Heaven
Yule: Peace, Serenity, Forgiveness, Kindness

Advent/Christmas: Royalty, Love
Saturnalia: Celestial Light, Return of the Sun
Yule: Sunlight, Prosperity, Success

Advent/Christmas: Starlight, Celestial Light
Saturnalia: Return of Light
Yule: Moonlight, Intuition, Dreams

Advent/Christmas: Faith, Rebirth
Yule: Sunlight, Growth, Prosperity, Healing

Advent/Christmas: Sacrifice, Penance, Royalty
Yule: Power, Ambition, Wisdom

Advent/Christmas: Joy, Love
Yule: Kindness, Love, Empathy, Friendship

Advent/Christmas: Holy Spirit
Saturnalia: Sunlight at it’s Zenith
Yule: Passion, Divine Feminine, Rebirth, Courage

Advent/Christmas: Purity, Unity
Yule: Purity, Cleansing, Unity, Snow/Ice, or as always, a neutral color that can be substituted for any other

Yule: Divine Feminine, Underworld, Warding

Juniper Advent Wreath


Advent/Christmas: Protection (especially with red cord), Holy Family, Blessing
Saturnalia: Healing
Yule: Protection, Healing, Crossing the Hedge


Advent/Christmas: Eternity, Passion of Christ (keep a piece to burn later on Shrove Tuesday)
Saturnalia: Sunlight, Rebirth
Yule: Protection, Eternity, Rebirth

Holly for Yule and Christmas


Advent/Christmas: Unity with God, Protection
Saturnalia: Revelry, Celebration
Yule: Eternity, Divine Feminine, Luck

Evergreens (Cedar, Fir, Pine)

Advent/Christmas: Strength, Resilience, Eternity
Saturnalia: Good Luck, Celebration
Yule: Resilience, Eternity

Evergreens and cat for Yule and Christmas


Advent/Christmas: Protection, Healing, Love, Peace
Joy, Celebration, Healing (do not let it touch the ground)
Joy, Protection, Love, Rebirth, Healing


Advent/Christmas: Protection, Theotokos, Faithfulness, can be used as a substitute for Frankincense
Remembrance, Love, Healing
Protection, Love, Cleansing, Loyalty, basically this can be used as a substitute for any herb


Advent/Christmas: Eternity of God, Everlasting Life in Christ
Saturnalia: Victory, Celebration, Return of the Sun (with candles)
Yule: Return of the Sun (lit on fire or with candles), Cycle of the Year, Protection, Prosperity

Oranges for Yule and Christmas

Pomander Balls / Oranges

Advent/Christmas: St. Nicolas originally filled stockings with gold, and it morphed into oranges (another rare treat). It was especially popular during the Victorian period.

Yule: Protection, Healing, Good Luck
Often tied with a red ribbon and dressed with oils


Advent/Christmas: Humanity, Adam’s Fall, Creation
Saturnalia: Used as food offerings and added to spiced wine or decorated in gold
Yule: Healing, Isle of Avalon, Rebirth

Yule Log

Advent/Christmas: Represents the fire the shepherds made to keep the child warm on Christmas night, usually a bundle of twigs, rather than a single log. It can also be represented by lighting a single log on Christmas Eve and allowing it to burn all night long.

Yule: There are all sorts of traditions, but overall it is seen as protection, representing the return of the sun. Part of it is saved for the next year, and the ashes have magickal properties. They can be inscribed with runes / sigils before setting them on fire, and some practitioners burn petitions in the flames.

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