The longest night of the year was always greeted with a feast; singing, dancing and much drinking. In ancient times, this was their way of enticing the Sun to come back; ensuring that it would continue to rise in the morning, set in the evening and bring life to the world for another year.
Gradually it became a celebration of of the sun's return, a festival of thankfulness that the cycle of seasons would carry on through another year.
Evergreen plants were all that grew at this time of year, and so came to be revered as a symbol that life could survive the winter.
Holly with its prickly leaves and cheerful red berries represented protection from evil spirits, and was used to decorate walls and doors.
Mistletoe was a sacred plant and may have been distributed to each family by Druids to hang in their homes for protection.
I have evergreens in my yard. A tree in my home decorated for Christmas or Yule. I will light my candles as soon as it is dark and give thanks that the sun's light will become stronger - each day a little bit longer.