"When we bring in armloads of pine, spruce, and holly to bedeck our homes for the holidays, we are enacting traditions that began with the ancient Druids, Romans, and Christians, all of whom believed greens had magical properties. Even primitive people hung holly above doorways to encourage woodland spirits to enter their huts during the Winter solstice.
Early Christians believed holly had sprung up from Jesus's footsteps as he walked through the Holy Land preaching the gospel. The ancient Greeks believed ivy brought fruitfulness.
In medieval England, holly and ivy became thought of as Christmas greens, inspiring one of the loveliest carols. According to legend, the first person to bring holly into the house would rule the home in the coming year. Evergreen trees were considered a symbol of eternal life; they showed that no matter how hard the winter, the earth would come back to life in the spring. Fragrant pine and fir boughs were thought to bring good luck, even fertility.
this year I made a wreath for the first time in my life :-)
Mistletoe kissing balls were first popular during the Victorian period, but the ancients thought mistletoe was magical. Druids worshipped it, and Roman warriors used it as a symbol of peace. When opponents met beneath the mistletoe, they put down their arms, kissed each other, and declared a truce for the rest of the day. By the Middle Ages, even the most humble of English cottagers were hanging mistletoe in their doorway and kissing beneath it.
Our Amaryllis is already bloomingLater, frou-frou loving English Victorians designed kissing balls for the mistletoe, and today in America we hang it in our houses without much thought to either the Victorians or the Druids. Every December, I weave several branches of mistletoe with a handful of dried flowers and attach the arrangement, with greens, to the top of my bed.
Christmas in the Heartland, by Marcia Adams.
I hope you are taking some deep thoughts or maybe a nice walk today, the fourth sunday of advent. In a couple of days we celebrate the Solstice in this house, and the coming of the Spirit of Christmas to Earth. So we are busy cleaning, preparing, and harmonizing our house for such events. Later in the week we will welcome our parents to spend with us Christmas. I am so happy and thankful that I get to have this time to reflect, rest and rejoice in the company of my family. Wishing you the same!