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Evergreens were used for decorative and ceremonial purposes long before the birth of Christ.
The Romans, during their Saturnalia, or winter festival, carried laurel, holly, and other greens
in processions. They also decorated their homes and temples with garlands and flowers.

Kissing under the mistletoe has long been a part of Christmas tradition

The Greeks once believed that its evergreen leaves were a symbol of good luck. The Druids considered the mistletoe sacred and thought it was effective against evil spirits and disease.

As years went by, the English ceremoniously cut the mistletoe that grew high in the trees
and carried it home in large bundles. During the winter months, they hung it over their doors as
a sign of good luck. Since only happiness could pass beneath the mistletoe, enemies would
embrace and seal their peace with a kiss of friendship. This is probably where the custom
today originated that anyone caught beneath the mistle toe must be kissed.

And for those who wish to observe the correct etiquette: a man should pluck a berry
when he kisses a woman under the mistletoe, and when the last berry is gone, there
should be no more kissing!


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Holly is one of the most common of the Christmas greens. It is said to symbolize
Christ's crown of thorns; its sharp, pointed leaves representing His wounds;
and its red berries, His blood.





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The Gospel according to St. Luke


2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone
round about them: and they were sore afraid.
2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great
joy, which shall be to all people.
2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped
in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger
2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising
God, and saying,
2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men
2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the
shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this
thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.




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The poinsettia is a plant that has tiny flowers surrounded by large, colored
bracts. The bracts are usually bright red, but may also be
yellowish or white. The brillant red contrasts with the green leaves and
make it a popular decoration during the Christmas season.

In tropical  regions, the poinsettia thrives outdoors. It may
grow 2 to 15 feet tall. The poinsettia is a native of Mexicoand it is a
popular garden shrub in the Southern states and California. In cold
climates it must be grown indoors.

As a potted plant, it grows from 1 to 4 feet tall. The leaves and stem
can cause abdominal cramps if eaten, and the plant's sap can irritate
the skin and eyes.




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In North America, the traditional Christmas stocking actually dates back to the end of the 19th century. The first to mention Christmas stockings being hung from a chimney were the illustrator, Thomas Nast, through his pictures and the writer, George Webster, in a story about a visit from Santa Claus.


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Back to the Top

Christmas :: Going Home :: Christmas Stories
Giving Gifts :: Santa Claus :: Decorating I
Decorating II :: Traditions I :: Traditions II
Birth of Christ


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Updated: January 07, 2006

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