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Christmas – Why we do what we do

Christmas is approaching fast and it’s time to start getting ready! As well as a great time for family gathering and the excitement of unwrapping presents, there are some other traditional things which we do each year.

As florists here at Roots, Christmas is all about paying lots of attention to the fresh seasonal foliages, dried flowers and fruits. Christmas is always fun for florists, because we get to create arrangements that are unique to this time of year. We love to decorate Christmas trees, make wreaths and candle arrangements for the home. …and or course bunching up Mistletoe for a sneaky kiss!

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Why we do what we do at Christmas

One of the first things we associate with Christmas is a Christmas tree. An evergreen fir of pine was originally interpreted as a symbol of everlasting life. As the tree stayed green throughout winter, it was said that there were magical powers and in some countries people believed that the tree kept the spirits and witches away from their homes. It was also believed that it was a plant connected to God.

In England, Queen Victoria picked up the idea of decorating a Christmas tree and this tradition quickly became fashionable. Through the good times and bad, a tradition of decorating a Christmas tree survived until the modern day and we now look forward to keeping a tree in our homes for its festive look and fresh pine smell.

Similar to the Christmas tree, wreaths were originally made of pine branches, ivy, and holly as all these plants are evergreen. A circle shape symbolises everlasting life and victory in various cultures, such as in Greece, where they used wreaths to award Olympic champions.

In Christian religion, the shape of a circle represented God and eternity of life. During these times, the circle shape of a Christmas wreath was also believed to protect the houses from the spirits in dark winter nights. Holly was often used in wreaths to represent the thorn crown of Jesus. In Scandinavia, holly is also known as Christ’s Thorn.

Nowadays there are no strict rules for Christmas wreaths other than the familiar circle shape. Today people let their imaginations run wild and decorate their wreaths with different berries, feathers, twigs, dried slices of oranges and apples, cinnamon sticks, pine cones, lavender, and even fresh cut flowers and succulents. For more ideas you can check out our Christmas wreaths we make in the shop!

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Another foliage popular over the Christmas period is mistletoe. This plant is viewed as a parasite as it grows on the branches of trees such as the apple tree. However, for centuries mistletoe plants were used for healing various diseases, and as they blossom all year round, it became a symbol of fertility and liveliness.

The history of kissing under the mistletoe is not as clear, but there is a theory that it first appeared in England back in the 18th century among servants, when male servants tried to steal a kiss from a woman, and a refusal was considered as bad luck.

As these Christmas traditions survive through the ages we still enjoy them – let’s continue to decorate our fresh pine scented Christmas trees, make beautiful and bright Christmas wreaths, and follow the “kissing under the mistletoe” tradition to give a kiss to the one you love. Have a happy Christmas, we hope it is filled with gorgeous foliage and lots of nature!

By Aria Vell

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