The beauty of evergreen plants is never more evident than during the winter holiday season. The holly plant, the official December birth “flower,” is a great example of the evergreen foliage we’re so fond of during this time of year. From excellent home decorations to long-standing traditions and symbolism, there’s much to be appreciated in the holly plant. The floral experts at Blossom Flower Shops love including holly in many of our holiday plants and floral designs. Besides the great color and shape, holly brings along plenty of rich symbolism with it, no matter what culture it represents. See why we love holly so much in the descriptions we offer here.
What is Holly?
Holly is a shrub-like plant that, depending on the variety, can grow into a tree measuring 10-15 feet in height. Its deep green leaves are thick and leathery with a waxy finish that creates a unique sheen. Coupled with serrated edges, these plants make a perfect nesting spot for winter birds. The leafy evergreens provide camouflage and the sharp edges offer protection for birds that nest in the winter months. The female varieties of this plant produce the bright red berries we love to see during the holidays. While the berries are toxic to humans and most pets, the leaves have historically been used for medicinal purposes.
Holly Berries on Snowy Branch
Holly Wreath on Old Door
What Does Holly Symbolize?
The unusual holly tree has held symbolic meaning to many cultures throughout history. In ancient Rome, holly was considered good luck and was given to newlyweds as wedding gifts. The ancient Druids believed holly branches protected them from harm and would decorate their homes with boughs of holly. Even ancient Chinese legend used holly branches, leaves, and berries to decorate their temples and great halls for the winter New Year’s celebrations. Today, Christian tradition promotes the idea that holly represents the crown of thorns worn by Christ at his death. The red berries symbolize his blood spilt in sacrifice for his followers and the evergreen nature of the plant to be a metaphor for eternal life after death. Due to these variations on the symbolism of holly over centuries, this plant has remained an important decorative element for centuries in winter months.
How Can We Decorate with Holly?
Holly makes an excellent addition to any holiday decor. The bright green and red coloring of the leaves and berries create a natural Christmas coloring, while the fresh evergreen quality of the plant itself is the perfect winter decor. Add boughs of holly to mantles for a bright, natural look to your decor. Include holly in centerpieces with candles, like in our Traditional Centerpiece design. Or, add holly to holiday wreaths as seen in our Elegant Evergreen Wreath to adorn your front door. Holly performs well out of water and works beautifully as table, buffet, and napkin accents or additional texture and color in an evergreen table runner. Holly has also been displayed in windowsills or even hung from doorways (plus mistletoe is technically a relative of holly).
Elegant Evergreen Wreath
Holly is everywhere during the holidays- will it be in your home? The beauty of the holiday season will be evident everywhere you look when you include holly in your decor. During a season so steeped in tradition, be sure to include a plant that brings ancient traditions and symbolism right into the modern era. For more great ways to include holly in your Christmas or holiday decor, talk to the floral designers at Blossom Flower Shops. We’ll be glad to share our expertise and creative ideas with you to make your holiday as beautiful as ever.