There is no question that the holiday season is festooned with an immense amount of unique decorations.
From the tinsel and lights to the ornaments, it all seems to work together to paint a special and happy time of year.
Although these alone would make for a special Christmas holiday, these decorations don’t account for some of the unique holiday plants that have now been used as decorations for many centuries.
These plants are called Evergreen plants because of the fact they stay green all year long.
Moreover, these plants have been popular with religious traditions for centuries; it even predates the celebration of the Judeo-Christian version of Christmas.
Many of these plants have offered great medicinal benefits to both pagans and Christians alike.
Although they might have started as being very controversial, some of these plant examples became symbolic of eternal life in their own right.
Included in the following list are some examples of Christmas greenery.
Here are some of the remarkable stories behind what makes these Christmas plants so special and why these plants have come to fully represent the celebration of the birth of the Christ child:
1) Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
Holly has been a popular type of Christmas greenery for many years now.
This is because holly is not only native to southern and central Europe but also because it is privy to a well-known old legend.
At the Feet of Christ Jesus
The holly was also present throughout his early life, actually growing at the footsteps of Christ.
Holly also has an immense amount of symbolism for the latter part of Jesus Christ’s life as well.
This is because the holly possesses red berries and thorny leaves, symbolizing the tremendous suffering Christ went through on the Cross.
This is also one of the main reasons why many individuals call this plant “Christ’s Thorn.”
The leaves of the holly were once used to treat fevers, and the berries of the plant have been widely known as an emetic.
2) Mistletoe (Viscum album)
Mistletoe has always been characterized as a parasitic, evergreen plant that is often present on tree branches.
It has many legends and beliefs associated with it, including the fact that the Druids felt that Mistletoe could protect individuals from evil thoughts and actions.
To that end, they also used it for medicine as well.
Celebrating the Druid New Year
The Druids also believed that they should give mistletoe to each other at the beginning of a new year because they thought that it would signify a good start to the upcoming year.
Many experts believe that this is how the practice of mistletoe decorations at Christmas began.
U.S. Geological Survey
Today, the U.S. Geological Survey has identified over 1,300 different species of mistletoe throughout the world.
They also have noted that 20 species of mistletoe are endangered.
Food and Shelter
Mistletoe also serves an important role in nature. This plant provides food, shelter, and nesting for a variety of insects, birds, and butterflies.
3) Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
The poinsettia is a flower with quite an interesting history. This flower would eventually be named after Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779-1851), who was appointed the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico in 1825.
Even though Mr. Pointsett had both a medical background and a political background, his first true love was botany.
During his time in Mexico, he became captivated by the many solid red flowers he saw there. He decided to take some of the flowers back to his plantation in South Carolina and cultivate them there.
The flowers grew and grew, and he gave away quite a few of them as gifts. Soon, a popular story developed around these flowers.
A Mexican girl named Pepita was going to church on Christmas Eve, and she was saddened and embarrassed that she didn’t have a gift to offer for the service.
Her cousin Pedro was with her, and he famously said, “I’m sure God will honor anything you give him if you do it from your heart.”
In desperation, Pepita picked up a clump of weeds and fashioned them into a bouquet. However, she was still highly embarrassed.
She was in for a surprise when she reached the church. Her clump of weeds miraculously turned into a group of gorgeous red flowers. Many think that the weeds were turned into poinsettias!
4) Christmas Tree
When it comes to Christmas, the most recognized decoration throughout the United States and many other countries would have to be the Christmas tree.
This is not only because of the pine needles but also because of the unique shape of the Christmas tree.
Believe it or not, the Christmas tree is one of several species of pine trees, and over the years species such as Balsam Fir, Noble Fir, Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir, White Pine, and Virginia Pine have been pressed into use as Christmas trees.
However, it goes even further than that when you account for the legends surrounding this enigmatic tree.
Early Christmas Traditions
The Christmas tree decoration is possibly derived from an 11th Century religious play where “Paradise” trees were featured.
It has been claimed that a tree of this type was used to signify the original Adam and Eve story.
Of course, it also was recognized by some for its special shape.
Many early Christians felt that the outline of the tree had special significance, symbolizing God as Creator, God as the Son, and God as the Holy Spirit.
5) Christmas Wreath
There isn’t a Christmas celebration anywhere that would be complete without a Christmas Wreath.
You traditionally see these unique items hanging on doors. Here are some facts about them:
They have a unique design.
A Christmas Wreath is made of the branches of evergreen trees such as the Pine Tree.
They usually give off an appealing scent of pine oil, and this is said to help others with many different respiratory ailments such as colds and coughs.
Some also believe that applying pine oil will help them relieve stress.
The Everlasting Circle
Finally, there is some significance to the circular shape of the wreath.
This was meant to be an everlasting shape, and it symbolized the everlasting love that God the Father and God the Son have for their children.
Finally, what Christmas holiday would be complete without a little bit of rosemary included in the festivities?
Before we get to the unique significance of Rosemary as a Christmas plant, let’s discuss some of the other unique uses of this plant:
A Wonderful Herb
First of all, Rosemary makes for a great herb. It looks great and it smells fantastic as well, making it a great herb to add in order to season a food dish.
You can add rosemary to meat and poultry for great poultry seasoning. You also can utilize the stems and add them to skewered kabobs.
The seasoning possibilities seem almost endless!
An Excellent Addition to the Christmas Season
Rosemary is also immensely popular as a decoration for the Christmas season. This is because Rosemary has some special attributes and symbolism.
This herb can signify love and remembrance, which is one of the main reasons why it has found its way in many different Christmas wreaths and topiaries.
Now that you know what all of these symbols mean, your Christmas festivities will take on a special significance!
Main Points About Christmas Flowers History
- The Christmas flowers are popular flowers traditionally used for ornamental decorations during the Christmas season.
- These sensational flowers include poinsettia, holly, Mistletoe, Christmas rose, ivy, and the Christmas cactus.
- Also known as the Christmas orchid, the Christmas cactus is a flower that blooms during the Christmas season. Many families use it for hanging baskets.
- The poinsettia is regarded as a prized Christmas eve flower. It is a symbol of purity and it is indigenous to Central America.
- As a Christmas flower, the Mistletoe dates back to the pagans; It was used for their winter celebrations. It is a revered flower and kissing under the Mistletoe is now a long Christmas tradition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Christmas Flowers History
- What is the lifespan of a poinsettia?
If proper care is taken and a good amount of nourishment is provided, then the point poinsettia can have a lifespan of around 6 months to 10 months. The average lifespan of the poinsettia is about three to four months only.
- Are poinsettias bad luck?
In the initial stages and some decorate back the poinsettia was considered to be bad luck. But in the present world, these flowers are used to decorate the doors and windows during Christmas and also at the time of New Year.
- What do I do with my poinsettia after Christmas?
After the Christmas eve is over, the poinsettia flowers can be used for the purpose of decoration on the doors and windows. We can also be used for Agar decoration purposes by making them dry and then laminating them.
- How do you get a poinsettia to turn red again?
The poinsettia flower can be turned back into the red color by keeping the flower in dark for a consecutive span of 14 hours each day for the next eight weeks.
- Where do poinsettias grow naturally?
Poinsettias are native to Mexico. These flowers are present in the region of Mexico and then spread up to the coast of Guatemala. They are also found in the interior of Mexico in the hot, seasonally dry forests of Guerra and Oaxaca.
- Are poinsettias just for Christmas?
The poinsettia flowers are the major attraction during the time of Christmas Eve. Millions of houses in the United States and other related countries display these flowers outside their houses. Even after Christmas you can continue growing the flower and make them grow naturally.
- How do you care for poinsettias indoors?
The indoor care can be given to the poinsettia flowers by exposing the flowers to at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. Also, the preferred temperature for these flowers is 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most of us associate evergreens, mistletoe, and poinsettias to Christmas. Poinsettias first came from Mexico and was there known as “Flores de Noche Nuena (Flowers of the holy night).
Mistletoe was in Pagan tradition as believed to hold healing powers, and it was even banned for a while.
Christmas Rose, also known as Snow Rose or Winter Rose.
Both this flower and the poinsettia have similar stories about being linked to the birth of Jesus.
Word Cloud for Christmas Flowers History
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas Flowers History. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.