Larry Harrell has generously agreed to post posts others might contribute, and to approve comments while I am gone on a Solstice break from December 22nd until January 4th or so. Contributions are encouraged. While you are contemplating your own Yule log, perhaps you could jot down some ideas for posting?
The Yule log is a large log that is burned in the hearth as part of a Yule, or Christmas, celebration or with Winter Solstice festivals. “Yule log” may also refer to log-shaped Christmas cakes.
Historically, the Yule log tradition may have included an entire tree or the largest log available to be burned in the fire hearth. Historians believe the tradition was derived from pagan worship rites, representations of health and fertility, rituals asking for blessings and protection, festivals celebrating the winter solstice, or was simply for decoration and practical use.
Some traditions included starting the Yule log fire with the remnant of the previous year’s log, to bring prosperity and protection from evil. After the celebration, pieces of the Yule log would be saved to start the fire of next winter’s solstice Yule log. In some European traditions, oak was the preferred species for the Yule log, as it represented the waxing sun, symbolized endurance, strength, protection, and good luck to people in the coming year.
From Larry Stritch’s Forest Service site on Plants of the Winter Solstice, worth taking a look at here.
Best wishes to you and yours from all of us here at NCFP!