The magic of Christmas décor

Christmas decorations are believed to have evolved from the use of holly, ivy and mistletoe as symbols for the season.

For example, the mistletoe-kissing tradition is believed to have come from Norse mythology, which says that the goddess Friga gave her son Balder to protect him from the elements. As it happened, Balder was killed by another god’s arrow made of mistletoe and Friga cried tears of white berries. The goddess brought her son back to life as a tree and vowed to kiss anyone who rested beneath the plant. Mistletoe is believed to possess powers to heal sickness and avert misfortune.

Holly, a plant with dark green spiky leaves and red berries, is believed to help in driving demons away. It is also a good luck charm against hostile forces of nature. A custom was to leave the holly, mistletoe and ivy up until the next holiday season so that good fortune would remain.

As far back as the 15th century, households and churches were seen decked with items of ivy, holm, bays and other affordable seasonal greens during Christmas. The décor was extended in street poles. In the coming years, the leaves were trimmed with beads, bright ribbon, paper stars and lace bags filled with candies.

The woods and fields provided an abundance of straw, pods, flowers and foliage for Christmas decorations. Thus started civilization’s fascination for Christmas décor as a way of brightening the cold dark nights of winter.