A Magical Night
Tonight is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, and the night when my family (at least my father's family as my mother completely disapproves of this tradition) burns the Yule log. According to my paternal grandmother (now deceased) tonight is one of those nights when anything can happen. We burn the log to grant our holiday wish.
I always use white birch. Don't know why it is so important but my granny always insisted that it had to be white birch. Traditionally you carve your wish into the white bark with wood working tools. I go the easy route and use a wood burning kit. Sadly, white birch is becoming hard to find. In my area only the Whole Foods Market carries it.
December 21st is also when I do all my holiday cookie baking. I must say that I really look forward to this night. Between the delightful aromas coming from the kitchen and the crackling fire ... well it just might be my favorite night of the year.
Lastly, if you adopt this custom make sure your wish is significant. The symbol you carve/burn into the bark must represent your deepest need for the coming year because it is never good to take the Yule log lightly.