Yule or winter solstice happens near December 21, which is the longest night and the shortest day of the year. I was raised celebrating Christmas, but even as a little girl the holly, mistletoe and pine were for me, the magick of the season.
It is a time of New Hope, of light appearing in the midst of darkness. It commemorates the return of the sun when the new king is born, with promises for the light and longer days ahead. The fact that the Goddess gives birth to the Sun God emphasizes the duality of power ... it is from the fertility of the Goddess that the Sun God and his power to come forth to raise up the grains and fruits.
This year we will tie ribbons to and burn a Yule Log cut from the bottom of our Christmas/Yule tree from the year before. Evergreens are cherished at this time of year as a natural symbol of rebirth and life especially in the frozen and stark contrast of white snow and green tree of the British Isles and Northern Europe. Holly was particularly prized to decorate doors, windows and fireplaces- to ward off evil spirits and to bestow protection and hardiness.
Some of the other sacred plants of Winter Solstice are Yew, Oak, Mistletoe, Bayberry, Blessed Thistle, and Ivy. Frankincense and Myrrh are blessed resins burned at this season. During Yule we see the Green Goddesses and Gods, Dionysis, The Holly King, Old Nick, Baccus, Wood Spirits, and The Oak King and of course the birth of the Sun King.