As autumn cranks into winter, the sun hovers in the sky for less time every day leading up to the winter solstice (between December 21 and 22 in the Northern Hemisphere), when the day is shortest. The next day, the weakening light is reborn, lengthening through the summer solstice.
Traditionally, we feast at the shortest day, celebrating until the sun begins to wax again. For example, the Yule log, a Germanic tradition, is lit at the onset of the solstice and feasting continues until the fire burns out (three to 12 days). Winter solstice celebrations often dovetail with Christmas, since according to older calendars, the solstice fell on December 24 or 25.
Revive the Yule tradition with an herbie twist: Add dried sage, rosemary, thyme and other aromatic herbs to your crackling hearth and toast the return of the sun through the remaining winter.