Now that you have your new tree or shrub firmly planted in your garden, why not bless it with a new twist on an old-fashioned wassail ritual?

This ritual is a great way to bless your new addition to your garden, and it also blesses the birds who call your garden home.

Try your hand at making my dairy-free and egg-free version of old-fashioned wassail. Or how about picking up some locally brewed hard cider or beer?

You will need:

Evergreens (real or artificial)
Floral wire
Wassail, beer, or hard cider
Bells, pans, whistles, etc. for making noise Small bird feeder filled with seed
A pretty wassail bowl (optional)

Elect someone from your family or friend group to lead the procession.
(This ritual can also be performed alone, though it is more fun worked as a group.) Twist the greens with floral wire to form a crown. This will be worn by the elected leader, who represents a Green Man or Green Woman character.

Your leader will carry the wassail bowl, or whatever container holds the cider or beer bottles. All others will carry the noisemakers, which may include bells, whistles, pots and pans, and so on. Don’t forget to have someone carry the filled bird feeder. As you make your way to the tree, bang those pots and shake those bells—be as noisy as you please! Yell out for winter spirits to flee. Remember to make it fun—dance about and make merry!

Your elected king or queen will then lift the wassail bowl or open container and spill just a bit over the roots of your tree. As this is done, all say something like this:

Health to thee, my [fill in type of tree] tree Steadfast upon the ground.
Be it weather good or foul,
May every sprig flourish well
Upon your leafy crown.

Then have your elected leader take the bird feeder and hang it from a branch. As this is done, all say something like this:

Hail thee birds who grace this tree,
Your presence brings us cheer.
We hope this offering of seed and mirth Eases your stay here.

Now everyone can cheer and share in the libation.


4 small apples
¼ cup brown sugar
1 quart apple cider
1 cup orange juice
1 cup cranberry or pineapple juice
½ cup brandy (optional)
6 allspice berries
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Dash ground cinnamon and ginger before serving (optional) Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Use a melon baller to scoop the cores out of the small apples. Set the apples on a cookie sheet and fill each one with approximately a tablespoon of brown sugar. Bake for 40 minutes. Pour apple cider, juices, and optional brandy into a stockpot and warm over medium-low heat. Cut a square of cheesecloth or muslin and place the spices on top. Tie it closed with cotton twine and float it in the mixture until it warms. Do not let the brew boil.

When ready to serve, remove the spice bundle and float the baked apples. You may also add a dash of cinnamon and ginger to the bowl.


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Monica Crosson
Monica Crosson is a contributing writer for Llewellyn Worldwide, having written many articles for The Magickal Almanac, The Witches Companion, The Herbal Almanac, Spell-a-Day Almanac, and both The Witches Datebook and The Witches Calendar. Her first book, The Magickal Family: Pagan Living in Harmony with Nature, was released by Llewellyn Worldwide in October of 2017.