In the beginning was the Seed.
Before the Yule Tree, was the Yule Sheaf.
Across a broad swathe of Northern Europe—from Scandinavia, through the Baltics, and across Russia—the central symbol of Yule was (and in many places, still is) the Sheaf.
The Sheaf goes by many names. In the Old Language of the Witches, it was called the Yule-Neck (no relation to the body part). In Ukraine, where he's known as Didúkh, “Grandfather,” it wouldn't be Yule without Grandfather Sheaf, with his bristling golden beard.
The symbolism of the Sheaf is rich. He's the crop, continuity, the ancestors, family, community. He's men. He's seed, animal and vegetal.
Men are the seed-bearers. In every generation, we sow, tend, reap, and guard the seed.
Here in Paganistan, the men of the clan will gather on one of Yule's Thirteen Nights—whenever it's convenient, there's no set time—for the Feast of the Sheaf.
Then we pour to Grandfather Sheaf, we sing, we dance, we tell the stories. We eat the traditional pudding made entirely from seeds; we drink, we feast. The power that we raise is for the keeping of the seed through the winter: for its preservation, and for its new growth in the spring. Even now in the very depth of winter, it is our duty to work for the well-being of next year's harvest, for “frith and year.”