The year moves on towards the festive season with Wreaths, trees and garlands all becoming available to decorate our homes. What greater symbol of christmas time than the tree, Christmas trees come in all sizes and varieties, Norway spruce are the traditional trees that bring that christmas tree smell into the house. Nordmann fir are the type that have become more fashionable as they do not drop their needles. Although Christmas trees have been used thoughout europe from the 15th century they have only grown in popularity in Britain since the Victorian times. When Queen Victoria married the German Prince Albert many of the German festive customs came over to England with him and trees and the dressing of them with gifts and candles was one such tradition. We now seem to bring trees into the home from the beginning of December wheras on the continent they have the great festivity of ‘the bringing in of the tree’ on Christmas eve when they also exchange their gifts.

Holly and ivy are brought into the home to help celebrate the winter solstice festival.
Ivy needs to cling to support itself and because it stays green throughout winter it led to the belief that it had mythical properties and became the symbol of friendship, marriage and support. While these beliefs in mythical powers have dissipated they both remain beautiful in fresh decorations

Wreaths are usually made from evergreens especially firs and are commonly used as a symbol of remembrance for the deceased. Circular wreaths have no beginning or end, they represent the eternal nature of faith or the circle of life. Evergreens are used to represent victory over darkness, even in darkest winter life carries on, the red berries signify the drops of blood Jesus shed at the crucifiction. For most of the 20th century they have been embellished with ribbons, bows, flowers and cones and more recently dried fruit and nuts

Todays wreaths are a wonderful decorative touch whether hung on the door to welcome visitors or to complete a rooms decor with their splash of colour it is sure to add to a feeling of warmth and excitement for the coming season.

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant so it has no roots of its own but relies on its host plant for fluids and some nutrients, it primarily grows on apple trees so is abundant in apple orchards. Mistletoe and its uses predates christianity so has pagan origins,it was considered masculine and symbolised virility with the belief that it had mystical powers and had the ability to start romance. Eventually this started the custom of kissing below the mistletoe.