12 Days – Day 5 Gathering Greenery
The tradition of gathering greenery to bring inside at Christmas is a very old one & a Sunday walk is the perfect day to slow down & drink in the peace of deep winter. A celebration of nature and a seasonal adornment for the house. Many of the different types of greenery have a symbolic significance, often routed in Christian tradition.
Holly is said to represent the crown of thorns worn by Jesus and if you get some with berries – a sign of the blood he shed. In Pagan times Holly was seen as a male plant and ivy the female. Which ever was brought into a home first was said to force who ruled the house for the coming year.
Traditions dating way before the introduction of our well known German/Victorian often included using holy, ivy, bay, yew and rosemary (apparently Mary, mother of Jesus’s favourite) in boughs of greenery and kissing bunches with the inclusion of mistletoe to encourage love in mid winter.
Although it is more convenient to perhaps use a plastic, re usable bough, brining in real greenery just before Christmas fills the house with gorgeous scent and provides a simple and magical element to Christmas. Walking the dog, or even popping to the end of the garden, is refreshing and restoring. Take some secateurs and a bag and chose what you like the look of.
Arrange simply on a mantlepiece or go old school and hook holly and ivy over picture frames around the house. Gather them with string or ribbon to create a bough of greenery and drape down the stair or over doorways. The more haphazard the better – no uniformity seems to show off the greenery better.