Including beautiful greenery in your holiday or Christmas decor is part of a long-standing holiday tradition. We love to emphasize traditions during the holidays because they evoke feelings of nostalgia and warmth. One of the most long-standing traditional pieces of decor is the holly plant. With festive green leaves and bright red berries, it’s easy to see why this evergreen plant is a Christmas favorite. But did you know it has a history that dates back to before the Christian era? At Durocher Florist, we have some fun facts, interesting history and great decorating tips for holly that we’re eager to share with you this holiday season. You may even find some new ways to include holly in your decor!
What is Holly?
Holly is a shrub-like tree that can grow to heights of 10-15 feet. Its leaves are thick and leathery, with serrated edges and spiky points. The female versions of this plant produce red berries, which are toxic to humans and most pets but are a food source for winter birds like robins. It’s almost-white wood of the tree trunk can be used to make furniture and even piano keys! This versatile evergreen has won a reputation for being a little bit magical, or at least sacred, since it continues to thrive when other trees and plants around it have died in the winter.
Holly Berries on Snowy Branch
What Does Holly Symbolize?
Since ancient times, holly has been revered as a special tree in many different cultures. Ancient Druids believed holly branches had protective qualities and brought good luck, while the Norse tradition associates the tree’s ability to resist lightning with Taranis and Thor, gods of thunder. Wreaths of holly were worn by Celtic chieftains for good luck, and babies were bathed in water from the leaves to protect them from harm. Winter celebrations like the ancient Chinese New Year, the ancient Roman Saturnalia festival, and the Christian Christmas holiday have featured holly as a prominent element in decor for centuries.
Holly Wreath on Old Door
How Can We Decorate with Holly?
Holly is as versatile as it is beautiful. Entire wreaths can be made from it and hung on a front door or in windows. Boughs of holly can be displayed on a fireplace mantle. Consider making napkin rings that feature a sprig of holly or include it in your holiday table’s centerpiece. We love to include holly in our holiday bouquets, as seen in our Gather Round bouquet and as accents in our Flurry of Elegance bouquet. Whether you include the leaves or just the berries, holly makes a beautiful addition to your holiday decor!
Gather Round Bouquet
Flurry of Elegance Bouquet
The holidays can bring rich traditions to life, and we don’t often know what it all means or where it came from. Retelling the stories and sharing the meaning behind them help keep traditions alive. Include holly and its long-lasting history in your holiday traditions this year and enjoy the stories that go with it. For more great stories about the history of holly, or to learn some new creative decorating tips, talk to the floral designers at Durocher’s Florist. We’re here to help make your holidays merry and bright this season.