Mistletoe and Christmas (1898)

Mistletoe and Christmas

The connection of mistletoe with Christmas is a very curious one, and far from being a general one. Literature is, perhaps, mainly responsible for it, in that allusions to a custom — in a great degree purely local — have made a large number of persons interested in the plant. It, moreover, seems that the custom of using it in Christmas decorations depends on two considerations: first, its evergreen habit; and second, the veneration in which it was held by the Druids.

The reasons mentioned have no doubt done much to secure for the mistletoe the place which in recent times it has held in Christmas festivities, but it is not so universally honored at Yuletide as the holly. You may have a very merry Christmas without any mistletoe at all, but to the majority of the people, a Christmas without a sprig or two of holly would scarcely seem to be Christmas at all.

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