Sunday, 2 December 2012

Christmas Countdown Day 2

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 for £5.00.

Happy Holly-days everyone!!! ;o)


  1. Hi Andy, I like this one too, thanks for the clear picture of the holly leaves AND the story about the relation of holly to Christmas!! Again: I can give holly leaves a try ;)!! I'll follow all the rest from now on!! :D
    Hugs, Ilona

  2. Dear Andy,
    What a lot of work. But I love the Holly wreath. Thanks for sharing!
    Regards Dorien

  3. Nice story, lovely wreath, I am not yet in the Christmas spirit, but glad you are :)

  4. Thank you for another gorgeous Christmas post - and now let's deck the halls with bows of holly... ;O)


  5. I Love hearing about the old Lore, Andy! And the Holly-days decorations at the Swan are sure to be special... can't wait to see them!!!

  6. Hi Andy, I am looking forward to see The Swan all dressed up for Christmas. Making berries from Sculpy, good on you, I would have gone the lazy way and just used red beads ;-)

  7. Otro interesante post sobre la historia de la Navidad.

    ¡Un abrazo enorme!

  8. Andy,
    Thank you for the holly lesson, all I knew was that it was one of the few plants my
    deer neighbors wouldn't eat! I so look forward to seeing the Swan dressed for the

  9. Oh, madam, you ARE clever. You're making green holly.
    Correct! Sir Pingu. We are making green holly. What is the colour of the next door?

    Err...gulp....Green? Have I passed the test?


    (I'll have some mistletoe ready for our tango...)

    1. Green is beautiful....

      Remember quickly Sir Pingu, or suffer the prickles of the night!!!

      Paws ;o)

  10. Thanks again for all your comments! I realise I am late agin in posting day three of the Christmas countdown, busy day at work again!! I will work on producing that now to make amends.

    Hugs all round
    Andy xxxx

  11. Andy,

    I'm really enjoying this, I always wonder how traditions begin but never get around to finding out. I love the Holly idea, you know we had a Holly tree in our back yard at the last house but of course the berries came out in winter which is not our Christmas time here.

    Oh, and I love the red Doll house and miniatures, a nice touch!!

    Fi xx

    1. Well, you Aussies will insist of having Christmas at completely the wrong time of the year!!! LOL

    2. PS I wondered what you meant about the red dolls' houses and miniatures, then remembered I had changed the title colour for the Festive season, I didn't think anyone would notice that!!

  12. Yet another interesting post.

  13. Hello Andy,
    Great job on the's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here.
    Big hug,