Yule Decorations: 14 Traditional DIY and Store-bought Winter Solstice Decor

Embracing Yule includes decking your halls (and the rest of your home) out with seasonal decor. You’ll find Yule decorations traditionally are actually decently easy to track down thanks to Christmas seasonal decor that uses many of the traditional Yule designs.

Yule is often celebrated on Winter Solstice (December 21 into December 22) as well as the days that follow through to the new year. You can celebrate as you see fit. Personally, we find that celebrating more days is just more fun—the more the merrier and all that. Plus, you can incorporate more traditions and activities when you aren’t condensing everything down into a single day, especially if you are newer to celebrating Yule and didn’t grow up with these traditions.

But no matter how you celebrate, be it one day or many, getting into the spirit of Yule is best done by decking out your home in Winter Solstice-inspired decorations.

Ahead, we’ve gathered 14 gorgeous Yule decoration ideas you can handmake or order from your preferred retailer. Get into the spirit this coming Winter Solstice with this decor inspiration.

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1. Hang Evergreen Garlands

Evergreen is a consistent theme in Yuletide decor from garlands to trees to wreaths. You can fashion these yourself with real evergreen and floral wire or you can purchase some from a local Christmas tree stand or nursery.

While the purpose is to bring living evergreen pieces into your home, you can certainly hang fake evergreen garlands. These are certainly more cost-effective, if less eco-friendly. There are actually some really gorgeous options available that are pre-lit and include pinecones and holly berries.

2. Bring In a Yule Tree (or Pick One to Use Outside)

A Yule tree is a quintessential part of Yule decor. You can use a live tree outside and decorate it with wildlife-safe ornaments or you can have a cut one brought into your home. We’ve personally had a potted juniper for the previous two years; which, while not technically a tree, did the job for our space constraints at the time.

There’s no wrong way to celebrate the holidays and in present times many households might celebrate multiple winter festivals. You can have a separate Yule tree (as we do) or combine your Yule and Christmas trees by using ornaments that reflect both traditions. This is especially useful for those who are still in the broom closet and have to celebrate Winter Solstice under the radar of family and friends.

Decorate your yule tree with orange slices, pinecones, and other natural ornaments. Many of these can be handmade but store-bought is always an option if you simply don’t have the time to handmade an entire tree’s worth of DIY ornaments. I like incorporating wildlife into my Yule decor where possible as we are rather drawn to fauna in this household. These woodland animal ornaments would be cute additions to any Yule tree (although not necessarily traditional). I’m also a fan of “snow-dusted” pinecone ornaments.

There’s also this gorgeous tree skirt that I’m 100% planning to use for a Yule/Christmas tree hybrid in the coming years. It’s very natural and can easily be integrated into a multi-faith home.

You can also opt for a tree topper for your Yule tree. Tree toppers you may want to use are fairies, stars, or pentagrams. Personally, I really like the look of a nature-inspired star. These are somewhat in vogue in the Christmas tree realm which makes them easier to track down. I purchased mine from a box store but if I were shopping online I might go for one like the Topadorn Tree Topper.

3. Create an Evergreen Wreath Adorned With Holly and Berries

Evergreen wreaths are a Yule decor staple. I recommend purchasing a wreath from a stand or nursery and decorating it yourself with holly berries, dried oranges, and pinecones. When I work with dried citrus I prefer to use the fruits from my backyard trees, however, you can always purchase dried orange slices if that isn’t an option for you. Cinnamon sticks are another options you can incorporate into your evergreen wreath.

The major things of note when decorating wreaths (as well as your yule tree) are to opt for real materials when possible instead of fake alternatives. As previously mentioned, this can be less cost-effective but it tends to connect you with the Earth more closely which is an important part of Yule (in our opinion!).

4. Dry Orange Slices and Hang Them On Your Yule Tree

As mentioned above, orange slices are essential Yule decor. You can hang these on your Yule tree or add them to your garlands and wreaths. Orange slices are used to represent the sun which is a focal point of Yule as we are celebrating the return of the sun.

Try to go for oranges you pick yourself to slice, dry, and decorate with. You’ll dry these in your oven over the span of an hour or so. Alternatively, you can go with store-bought dried citrus. You can even get some that are a mix of citrus and apples like this mix from Andaluca.

5. Arrange Candles Throughout Your Home (Using Yule Colors of Course)

Yule is a time to celebrate the gradual return of the sun and you can best do this by lighting candles. We recommend using the colors associated with the Winter Solstice like gold, silver, green, red, and white. You can also incorporate orange and yellow which are representative of the sun itself.

Phoenix Candle Company has a Yule-specific package of beeswax altar candles perfect for your Yule altar or other decorating throughout your home. The different sizes in this pack are useful as you can burn the shorter candles if you don’t want to stay up too late into the night. (It’s bad luck to blow candles out.)

Alternatively, you could make your own candles ahead of Yule specifically for use during Yule. We’re all about going handmade here at Opulent Charms. The more you can create or grow by hand the better as it connects you more closely with your spellwork and celebratory practices. You can purchase a kit and plan a family or friend gathering where everyone makes their own Yule candles. We’ve used a candle-making kit similar to the one recommended but buying individual ingredients and tools is also an option. If you are going to make your Yule candles by hand, just make sure you have dyes unless you want to go the white candle route.

6. Hang Mistletoe (and Steal a Kiss From Your Partner)

Viewed as a symbol of fertility and tied to the story of a goddess named Figg and her son, Baldur, mistletoe remains to be a Yuletide decoration meant to spark romance. You can go the fake mistletoe route and there are plenty of options but I personally recommend picking out a real bundle of mistletoe.

You can find bundles of real mistletoe from Trader Joe’s, Lowe’s, and Home Depot. You can also find it at a local Christmas store or florist.

Here’s a major warning, however, if you go the real route. This plant is poisonous and potentially toxic to people, dogs, cats, and likely other small creatures who might reside in your home. If anyone in your home could potentially come across and ingest any part of this plant then it’s better to play it safe and go with artificial mistletoe.

Kurt S. Adler’s Mistletoe Ball Ornament is a popular option for fake mistletoe but I personally think maxgoods’ four-piece mistletoe decoration picks are cuter.

7. Deck Out a Yule Log and Put It On Display

Purchase a Yule log and deck it out with nature-inspired decor, candles, and other Yule-inspired decorations. This Yule log will be a central part of your Yule festivities with burning it and saving a piece of it for next year’s Yule log being the grand finale.

If you don’t want to do a Yule log in the traditional sense then you could bake a Yule log cake. While traditionally these are rolled cakes, they also have Yule log cake pans for the beginner baker.

8. Burn Pine Incense

Burning incense isn’t necessarily a decoration but it adds to the ambiance. Plus, we were able to track down some cute Yuletide-inspired incense burners. There’s one from Adroiteet that is a house that lights up (but leans a little heavy on the Christmas theming) and a similar, yet far more simple, alternative log cabin incense burner from Paine’s. If the cabins aren’t your thing, there’s this absolutely adorable mushroom incense burner. (Check out our info below on Yule mushrooms for more context.)

I like to burn incense sticks over the other types of incense in most situations. But what you use will depend on your burner. We recommend the pine incense stick sets like the one from Trumiri Leafy.

9. Handmake Witch Balls and Hang Them on Your Tree

Witch balls, also referred to as faerie balls and yule balls were born out of the 17th century. These are what typical Christian Christmas balls were inspired by. Originally, these witch balls were used to protect your space by capturing evil spirits and bad energies within them.

These can be hung year-round or you can make some to hang on your Yule tree or in your home. These can be bought but we think it’s far more exciting and sentimental to make your own Yule balls. You can make these with fillable glass ornaments and fill them with crystals, herbs, and whatever else you’d like to include.

10. Incorporate Pinecones Into Your Garland or Yule Tree

Pinecones are another Yule decoration that is based in nature and will lead to a cozy Yuletide home interior. Purchase a pack of pinecones or collect some of your own to incorporate into your garland and Yule tree.

11. Create a Tomte or Gnome

Tomtes come from Nordic folklore (Nisses are the Norwegian version and gnomes are as you likely recognize these little bearded guys.) and are said to be protective spirits with a potentially mischievous streak if disrespected.

There are so many adorable gnome decoration options. (I have three I absolutely adore I’ve included on my bookshelves for the first time this year.) I can’t find the ones I purchased online but I think the set of two gnomes from JOYIN is a comparable option, as is the set of three tomtes from FFPTBNYX.

12. Make Your Own Salt Dough Ornaments In Yule-Inspired Shapes

Salt dough ornaments are fun for the whole family and ridiculously simple to make. All you need is salt, flour, and water. I mean, you’ll also need paint (if you want to paint your ornaments) and cookie cutters that are aligned with Yule imagery. Good Yule-inspired salt dough ornaments are the Yule goat, bells, stars, the sun, and reindeer.

If you get creative and poke around you can find some pretty cool cookie cutters for this DIY project from mistletoe cookie cutters to hearts with Nordic runes cut into them.

13. Include Mushrooms In Your Decor Line-up

The typical mushrooms that appear in Winter Solstice decor are actually known as fly agaric. These are red mushrooms with white dots (think Mario). These are poisonous and result in a rosy flush to the cheeks and hallucinations. This has been tied to stories with wintertime figures like Santa. (Apparently, it’s also a favorite snack for reindeer. But as I’m not a reindeer expert I can’t completely confirm that claim.)

You can include the fake stand-ins of these good luck mushrooms that grow at the base of pine trees in your Yule decorating. There are plenty of mushroom decoration options like felt mushroom for your Yule tree as well as shatterproof glittery alternatives made from plastic.

14. Hang Bells on Your Door

Witch bell door hangers are commonly used during Yule to protect from bad energies and demons associated with the darkest time of the year. (There are also likely some ties to the Wild Hunt with this traditional decoration piece.)

With this kit from Charniol you can make your own Witch Bells to hang on your doorknob during Yuletide. (If you make one that isn’t too festive, it can be left up for all the seasons for year-round protection.)

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