An enormous log of freshly cut wood called the Yule log was fetched and carried to the house on Christmas Eve. In England it was the custom to burn the log for the twelve days of Christmas, from Christmas eve on December 24th to Epiphany on January 6th.
The Yule Log was originally burned in honor of the gods and to bring good luck in the coming year. Since ancient times, the yule log ceremony celebrated the sun during the winter solstice. The log was chosen from a massive tree that required hauling by a team of horses or oxen. Tom Larson writes, “On or about Christmas eve, a big log was brought into a home or large hall. Songs were sung and stories told. Children danced. Offerings of food and wine and decorations were placed upon it. Personal faults, mistakes and bad choices were burned in the flame so everyone’s new year would start with a clean slate.”
Learn more about the origins of the Yule Log at the following sites: