Christmas Countdown Day 2
Who knows how far back in history it was that holly was first used to decorate homes, or adorn the body. We know very little about the Early Pagans and what they used to worship, but it seems likely that holly along with other evergreens such as ivy and mistletoe may have been thought to have a certain magical quality when most other trees and plants had shed their leaves for the winter. Perhaps evergreens had the power to ward off evil spirits, or bring good fortune.
The Romans were certainly fond of this prickly plant, it was used for offerings during the feast of Saturnalia, to the god Saturn, whose festival fell soon after the winter solstice, and is probably the origin of the Christmas Day festivities we know today.
Early Christians used cryptic symbols to display their faith, and it may well have been from them that Holly became associated with the blood of Christ and it's prickles, perhaps, with the crown of thorns. That there was an abundance of holly around during the holy Christmastide in Northern Europe meant that it soon became a part of the festival. The carol The Holly and the Ivy uses various parts of the holly plant to tell the story of Christ.
Holly was certainly used at Christmas time from the medieval period right through until the modern age. It has been somewhat upstaged by the fancy Christmas tree, but its glossy green leaves and bright red berries still add great cheer during the festive season.
As part of my Christmas Project at The Swan Inn I wanted to make some miniature holly. I was lucky to find a decorative paper cutter with small holly leaves, usually used in card making. The leaves were roughly about the right size. As you can see in the picture above, I stuck the leaves to small wires, just as I had done when making the wisteria earlier this year. I then made tiny red berries from Sculpy and baked them, before adding to the holly branches using Tacky Glue.
If you would like a touch of holly in your dolls house, and don't have the time to make your own, this delightful little holly wreath is available from Bluebellminiatures.co.uk for £5.00.
Happy Holly-days everyone!!! ;o)