The holidays are upon us, and winter’s knocking at the door. Naturally, our expert floral designers at Mancuso’s, serving St. Clair Shores and the surrounding areas, have been busy dreaming up new ways to use holly, the December birth flower, to deck the halls. We’ve put together this complete guide to help you celebrate the spirit of the season with holly this year.
What Is Holly?
Holly Berries on Snowy Branch
Holly is an evergreen shrub that can grow large enough to be considered a tree. Like other evergreens, holly leaves, flowers, and berries sprout from the plant’s limbs. A cut limb from a holly plant is a bough of holly. Since they’re evergreens, holly plants stay vibrant throughout the winter.
Is Holly Poisonous?
The leaves and stems of holly aren’t poisonous, but the plant’s bright, red berries are highly toxic to both people and pets. Plants growing outdoors or those used to decorate inside should be kept well out of the reach of small children, cats, and dogs.
What Does the Holly Plant Symbolize?
Long before people hung holly in their houses next to Christmas trees and twinkling lights, many ancient cultures also used it frequently. While other plants died in the winter, holly stayed green and vibrant with bright berries even in the coldest weather.
The Druids and Celtic peoples considered holly to be a sacred, magical plant. They regarded it as a symbol of eternal life and fertility. Chopping down a holly tree in Druid times was bad luck, but hanging its boughs inside for protection was considered good luck.
Ancient Romans associated the plant with the god of harvest and agriculture, Saturn, and they used its boughs to celebrate the festival of Saturnalia. Ancient Romans also hung holly above their doorways for good luck and protection. Early Christians did the same.
Holly Wreath on Old Door
Eventually, the holly plant took on its own symbolism within Christian traditions, with its spiky leaves representing the crown of thorns and the red berries symbolizing the blood of Christ.
Our Favorite Ways to Celebrate the Season with Holly
Honoring one of the oldest holly traditions, you can still hang it on your front door for good luck and a festive spirit. Add it to a wreath featuring other greenery, pinecones, or festive flowers.
If you mark each Sunday leading up to Christmas by lighting a candle, you can incorporate additional symbolism into your advent wreath with holly.
Holly adds a wonderful seasonal appeal to a centerpiece for a dining room table. We recommend adding a few red, green, white, gold, or silver candlesticks to create an even warmer, more cheerful ambiance.
Corsages and Boutonnieres
If you have a formal party or fancy event to attend this season, take your outfit to the next level with a festive corsage or boutonniere, featuring holly.
To create an elegantly gift-wrapped look, you can tie a bit of holly to your gift boxes with pretty ribbon. Be careful, however, not to leave these packages lying around in a home with pets and/or small children.
Of course, our favorite way to decorate with holly is by incorporating it in floral arrangements. We love to pair it with a combination of red and white flowers and other greenery. Holly’s beautiful alongside white and red carnations, roses, lilies, chrysanthemums, hydrangea, and orchids. For fun, we like to include a couple of frosted pinecones and other sparling holiday accents.
How to Have a Truly Holly Jolly Christmas Season
At Mancuso’s, we can help you incorporate holly, it’s symbolism, and its good luck in your seasonal celebrations and decorations. For expert assistance or personalized recommendations, we welcome you to stop by our flower shop when you’re ready to decorate for the holidays.