We all know that Christmas trees take centre stage when it comes to decorating during the festive period, but a house is never truly dressed without accessories. The Christmas holidays are all about spending time with family and friends, eating delicious food, and sharing gifts and celebrating. Adorning your house with decorations to welcome the guests and the frivolity has been a tradition since the idea of Christmas began. Holly became significant in the Christian celebration of Christmas as a deterrent to evil spirits that were more likely to attack during the holy days. It is also closely related to the crucifixion of Christ – the spikes of holy symbolising the thorn crown, the berries the blood of Christ. Somewhere through the years of celebration its Christian symbolism waned, and it became a mainstream symbol of Christmas. Kissing under the mistletoe is first found associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites. In Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace, under which enemies could declare a truce or warring spouses kiss and make-up. The eighteenth-century English credited it with a certain magical appeal. At Christmas time a young lady standing under a ball of mistletoe cannot refuse to be kissed. Such a kiss could mean deep romance or lasting friendship and goodwill. In some parts of England the Christmas mistletoe is burned on the twelfth night. The custom of exchanging a kiss under the mistletoe can still be found in many European countries.
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