MistletoeThe thought of mistletoe has lodged itself in my brain and having some spare time this afternoon, I decided to see what I could find out about the tradition of kissing beneath a few sprigs.   

*1. We have all heard about kissing under the mistletoe, but what I didn’t know is that with each kiss, one white berry is supposed to be plucked from “kissing ball”. When all the berries have been plucked, the mistletoe is to be taken down and that means no more kissing.

*2. You might be wondering how this kissing stuff ever got started in the first place. Well, I found out that too, but it’s not quite what I expected. Nothing romantic I’m afraid.  It seems that way back in the days of the Druids, there was a lot of fighting going on and if two groups of enemies met under mistletoe, they had to lay down their arms and stop fighting for twenty-four hours.  Somehow, that led to hanging a ball of mistletoe from the ceiling and trading kisses.

*3. I don’t think that a lot of young men realized that those little kisses, stolen from beneath a ball of mistletoe, were once interpreted to mean that he had marriage in mind. I wonder if that would change the popularity of this age old tradition? Something tells me that it just might have.

4. No one seems to know just how we came to welcome this custom into our homes. There was a time when mistletoe was something that the churches preferred to stay away from as it was thought to be part of pagan ceremonies.

5. And in keeping with the pagan connection, people actually hung mistletoe over their doors to keep out the witches. I am still wondering how mistletoe actually became connected to Christmas celebrations. 

6. In Italy, mistletoe is presented as a gift to be hung over a doorway until the holiday season has come to an end. It is then burned in the home’s fireplace and kissing¦ isn’t even mentioned! It seems that it has more to do with bringing good luck to the home, but who knows?  Maybe they don’t know about the kissing part??

7. Now if you have fallen in love with the idea of mistletoe and all it stands for, you might want to skip this part¦

 It is thought that the name originated from the belief that mistletoe was propagated from bird droppings. Sorry¦  Mistel means dung in Old English and tan, which changed to toe at some point in history, means twig. So, I guess that means that mistletoe could be translated to¦ dung on a twig. Sort of takes the romance out of it, doesn’t it.

8. Okay, here is something unusual.  Apparently, if you are hoping to hear the patter of tiny feet in the near future, placing a few sprigs of mistletoe under the bed, is supposed to help you out. Who knew??

9. Speaking of babies¦ did you know that mistletoe was once hung over the cradle to prevent the fairies from stealing the baby! Our ancestors were certainly superstitious!

10.  And in closing, here is something that never occurred to me. As a Christmas bride, I finally decided on big fluffy carnations that resembled snowballs for my bouquet, but I read of another bride who actually carried a giant candy cane down the aisle decorated with sprigs of holly, mistletoe and white baby’s breath. I kind of like the idea, and the candy cane could have been suspended overhead during the reception so that the unmarried young ladies could have benefited!