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.