Christmas is a time of tradition and ritual, such as singing “We wish you a merry Christmas” to the Christmas pudding as it emerges, alight, into the dining room… (OK, so that’s a personal tradition, but I have only just found this out. I thought everyone did this up until last year!)
Every day until Christmas Day, we will explain where and why a Christmas tradition came about. Today, mistletoe!

Mistletoe | Scandinavia

Mistletoe berries
In my eyes, mistletoe can be used for good or evil. If you’ve been dying for a smooch with that special someone all year, mistletoe is your friend. But get caught under it by someone not-so-hot and you will have to oblige them… Thanks, mistletoe!
Mistletoe growing on a tree branch
The origins of hanging mistletoe up at Christmas time comes from the Druids, again! Mistletoe is one of the only plants that are still green and alive during wintertime (much like holly), so hanging it in the home was thought to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.
Mistletoe attached to a silver birch tree
One theory as to why we associate it with love and friendship comes from ancient Scandinavia. Apparently, if you were to find yourself under the mistletoe with an enemy, it was customary to lay down your arms until the next day.
Another possible reason it’s associated with love, marriage and fertility is because some believe the berries, filled with a sticky, white fluid, represent – and I am quoting Wikipedia here – the “divine male essence” (and I think we all know what that means…), which is why we kiss underneath it! It doesn’t seem quite such a charming a tradition now does it?

Photo credits: loop_oh, USFS Region 5 and Andrew Dunn

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