Christmas, Holidays

What is mistletoe and why do we kiss under it at Christmas?

Greenery and plants including holly, laurel, boxwood bushes, poinsettias, pine trees and mistletoe, play important roles in many of our holiday celebrations. Kissing under the mistletoe is one Christmastime’s most romantic – and most unusual – traditions.  But what is mistletoe and how did it become such a fabled part of Christmas while being mostly ignored the rest of the year?

Unlike most other holiday flowers, mistletoe isn’t exactly known for its beauty. In fact, the infamous yuletide plant is an invasive shrub that grows from the dung of birds and extracts nutrients from trees. While that may not be a glowing introduction to mistletoe, it does begin to explain why this plant has held people’s fascination for so long.

While it is true that mistletoe is semi-parasitic and could eventually kill its host plant, it is generally not considered a serious enough threat, in most cases, to warrant control measures. In fact, there is evidence that the plant could have benefits for birds as well as humans.

Several studies – including one from Billabong Creek in New South Wales, Australia and another from central Mexico have shown a significant drop in the populations of birds and other species in areas where scientists removed mistletoe from the ecosystem while populations increased or stayed the same in areas with mistletoe.

Those findings, along with other studies suggest that mistletoe is a keystone species that not only plays a critical role in its ecosystem but may also provide some promising health benefits to humans. Doctors at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine are studying mistletoe’s effects on cancer patients as a way to relieve side effects of chemotherapy, and physicians in Europe are able to prescribe mistletoe to their patients.

How did it become a holiday tradition?

Long before the internet, neighbors and relatives frequently visited each other during the holidays for fellowship. Houses were kept tidy and decorated for the holidays in order to be ready for any guests or visitors, so the decorations needed to be hearty enough to last for several weeks. Although the origins of kissing under the mistletoe are unclear, it was likely chosen in part because it stays green all winter long without being rooted in soil.

Berries and Spice by Gordon Bonetti Florist

The earliest documented cases of kissing under the mistletoe date back to 16th century England where it was a very popular custom at the time, but it likely started even earlier. One Norse myth claims people began kissing under the plant as a peace offering after the god Balder was killed with a mistletoe arrow. Early European were so enamored with mistletoe plants that they became interwoven into myths, legends, and religious beliefs.

Literature is filled with examples of different uses that range anywhere from preventing fires to scaring away demons and protecting livestock from witchcraft. Throughout the ages, mistletoe was also commonly tied to fertility, which may be where the tradition started. Washington Irving wrote that men commonly gave women a kiss for each berry hanging on the mistletoe above them – plucking one off for each kiss.

Despite mistletoe’s continued popularity in Christmas carols, songs, and tales, the plant is not nearly as common as it used to be even though nearly everyone has heard of it. And, unlike the jolly old elf, there is nothing seasonal about mistletoe – it does not disappear when the season is over, it is simply forgotten about for several months each year until it makes its appearance in doorways across the world next year.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Gordon Bonetti! Start your holiday shopping today with our incredible selection of holiday flowers and gifts. We offer same-day delivery in Wethersfield, CT, and surrounding areas for birthdaysanniversariesnew babiesget well soonsympathy, or even just because. Call us today at (860) 522-1455 or shop online 24/7.

Holidays, Thanksgiving

Cornucopias and Thanksgiving Centerpieces

Ready, or not – the holiday season is upon us and Thanksgiving is less than a week away! Thanksgiving is a special holiday for many reasons, but what makes it so unique is the fact that it is the one major holiday where the meal is the main event.

Classic Cornucopia by Gordon Bonetti Florist, Wethersfield, CT

Not only that, but It is also the holiday that will set the tone for the remainder of the holiday season. So why not make it beautiful with a cornucopia of your own, or some Thanksgiving flowers from Gordon Bonetti Florist?

According to lore, Thanksgiving began as the celebration of a bountiful harvest. It was – and still is – a time to reflect and give thanks through a meal shared with friends and loved ones.

One of the most iconic symbols of Thanksgiving is the cornucopia. Typically hollow and made out of wicker in the shape of a horn, it is often called the “horn of plenty.” Cornucopias represent an abundance of food and nourishment and serve as a visible reminder of the meaning of the holiday while also giving the table a finished, polished, look.

Family Gatherings Centerpiece by Gordon Bonetti Florist, Wethersfield, CT

While cornucopias are most closely associated with Thanksgiving, their origin can be traced all the way back to Greek and Roman mythology. Cornucopias are even depicted on the state flags of Idaho and Wisconsin, as well as the coats of arms for Columbia, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

With food being the center of attention at Thanksgiving, the table itself an important part of the holiday as it often serves as the hub of the day’s activities. Long after the food is enjoyed and the dishes are put away, the cornucopia and other autumn-inspired centerpieces remain to serve as a reminder of the prosperity and good things in life for which we give thanks.

It’s never too soon to start thinking about Christmas

Peace and Joy Bouquet by Gordon Bonetti Florist, Wethersfield, CT

Since Thursday is Thanksgiving, that means Black Friday is here as well to kick off the official start of the holiday shopping season. Wouldn’t it be nice if you already had your holiday shopping done before the calendar even turned to December?

You’re in luck because Gordon Bonetti Florist is your one-stop-shop for all your holiday needs. Of course, flowers always make an outstanding gift, but we also carry a wide assortment of other holiday presents for everyone on your list.

Make things extra-easy for yourself and order your holiday flowers and gifts at the same time you place your Thanksgiving order. Let everyone else fight the traffic and the crowds while you enjoy the holiday season from the comfort of your own couch, knowing your shopping is already complete!

The holidays are here at last! Visit Gordon Bonetti Florist for all your Thanksgiving flowers and centerpieces. We offer same-day delivery in Wethersfield, CT, and surrounding areas for birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, get well soon, sympathy, or even just because. Call us today at (860) 522-1455 or shop online 24/7.