Some more fascinating tales of festive flora...
Perhaps the best known Christmas plant, next to the Christmas tree,holly has has a long history of connection with winter festivals.Because it stays green and glossy through the winter, it was revered bythe druids in ancient times. They considered it a symbol of death andregeneration and, along with ivy and mistletoe, used it in their wintersolstice ceremonies. The belief that holly had magical propertiescontinued and it was used as a charm to ward off evil spirits, placedover doorways or planted in front of the house. Another superstitionled the people to bring sprigs of holly into the house during winter sothat the woodland elves and fairies who supposedly lived in the hollywould be safe and warm through the harshest time of year! In Christianlore it became associated with the crown of thorns and the blood ofChrist.
With its shiny, deep-green leaves and bright red berries, holly is afavourite decoration for brightening up the home through the drearydays of northern winters. Have a look at our colourful Berry Christmas bouquet!
The distinctive crimson, star-shaped upper leaves of the poinsettia are often mistaken for petals. Being a native of Mexico, it wasn't until more recent times that the poinsettia was brought over to take its place in the Christmas tradition of Europe. In Mexico, however, a touching legend arose linking the plant to the Christmas spirit. It's said that one Christmas a young girl (or, in other versions, a young boy) went to visit the nativity scene in the local village chapel. She had no gift to give the Christ child and the best she could do was to gather some of the roadside weeds, but when she laid them in humble, loving offering by the manger, the little bouquet of leaves blossomed into the beautiful red stars of the poinsettia. Thus the flower became known as the Flores de Noche Buena – Flowers of the Holy Night. It has even been appointed it's own day in the festive season: December 12th!