It is an enduring remnant of Paganism to deck our houses with evergreens towards the close of the year. Although the custom was forbidden by the councils of the early Christian Church, its hold was too strong for it to be readily relinquished. For the Druids of ancient Britain, Holly and Ivy symbolised a contest between the masculine (holly) and feminine (ivy) elements in nature. In the modern age Holly and Ivy have come to represent Christmas.
Holly supposedly wards off witches and a sprig tied to the bedpost assures pleasant dreams. Syrup, made by boiling the twigs is good for easing chesty coughs. According to Christian tradition the pointed leaves represent the thorns of Christ’s Crown, the perennially-green leaves represent eternal life and the red berries represent the blood He shed for our salvation.
Ivy, according to ancient tradition, has always been a symbol of fidelity, friendship and affection. Druids considered it a symbol of determination and strength while the Celts also associated ivy with the lunar goddess, Arianrhod, and held it as a portent of death and spiritual rebirth.
Merry Christmas everyone and may your God have the strength to go with you.