Decorate a Yule Log

This will be our second year decorating a Yule log. Last year, I got out all of my collage supplies and we made a really beautiful log with all sorts of glittery adornments and sparkly ribbons. It wasn’t until we got ready to put a match to it that someone (and it certainly wasn’t me…) suggested that just maybe all that plastic-y stuff might put out some pretty noxious fumes. Good point. So—we undecorated most of our log prior to burning it. Lesson learned.

I wanted to post the photo we took of it (before un-doing it) because it really was beautiful. So I looked in my highly organized filing system (which is to say, the bin under the table in the spare bedroom where I toss everything that I’m going to organize soonsomedayeventually…maybe, hopefully before I die…) but strangely enough, wasn’t able to put my hands on it. So I guess you‘ll just have to take my word for it.

Anyway, now with the benefit of that experience, this is how I recommend you do it:


A log (duh…)

Natural materials such as pine cones, sprays of evergreen, berries, etc.

Maybe some nice smelling stuff—like, perhaps, cinnamon sticks

Twine (to tie it all on)

Then just put everything on the log in a way that looks pleasing. Pretty simple.

And you know what? It can be even simpler than that. I’m going to come clean here and confess that I was under a pressing deadline just recently and ran out of time to decorate the Yule log exactly as I had planned. So—for the log pictured here—I just bought a natural garland at Michaels and wrapped it around the log a few times. It still came out pretty nice, I think.

Now. if you don’t have a fireplace—or for whatever reason don’t want to burn your Yule log—you can put candles on it (either tea lights or votives) and make a centerpiece like the Italian ceppo we talked about in our post about Yule log traditions.

I like to make a party out of the whole process. Last year we made only the one log—a joint project (and almost asphyxiated our guests, as already discussed). We served a Yule log cake with coffee and a hot chocolate “bar” with lots of toppings (for the kids) and shots (peppermint schnapps, kahlua, etc. for the adults). We also resurrected an old tradition that I read about somewhere and set out a plate of bay leaves for people to write the things they wanted to leave behind from the past year and/or their hopes for the coming year and throw them in the fire. We used Sharpies to write with, which I’m guessing was not traditional, but it worked.

This year, I think I’ll get lots of logs, decorating materials and candles and let everyone—or every family—decorate their own log to take home. And we’ll burn one, too, of course. Should be fun. If you try it, let us know how it goes. Or better yet, send a photo!

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