It’s the most wonderful time of the year…if you don’t mind wet, cold weather.

I do mind wet, cold weather, especially since I’ve spent a significant amount of time in train stations the last couple of days. It was siling down this afternoon in Harrogate.

But on to the purpose of this post. I’m trying to work out when Yule began. If I count twelve days, then it’s today, lasting until midnight on the 1st. If I count twelve nights (sunset to sunset) then it’s yesterday afternoon, and ends at sunset on New Years Day. According to some sources, in early medieval England a new day started at sunset.

It is something of a befuddling situation, especially as the Solstice – Midwinter itself – is tomorrow, at 0448 GMT. Sunrise is 0810 GMT. Does that make today, the 21st, or yesterday, the 20th, Midwinter’s Eve?

I have been mulling over the answers to these questions over my filling tea of pie and veg, and a glass of cider (Yule gift!). I have come to the conclusion that Yule began yesterday at sunset and that I am going to have a slightly ahistorical and confusing joint system. Today – that is until midnight – it is Midwinter’s Eve. My Yule will end at sunset on New Year’s Day.

The reason is simple; it fits around my schedule. I have to work on 2nd January so I need to get undecorated by the morning of that day. As sacred as the holy nights are traditions adapt to changing circumstances, that’s how they survive.