Mistletoe is a plant that grows on a range of trees including willow, apple and oak trees. The tradition of hanging it in the house goes back to the times of the ancient Druids.
It was also used as a sign of love and friendship in Norse mythology and that's where the custom of kissing under Mistletoe comes from.
The Christmas wreath is another tradition that has been around for a long time and was initially created from fresh evergreens.
The word 'wreath' is derived from an English word meaning to twist, such as in a circle. Some believe that initially, wreaths were hung on doors in Ancient Rome to represent victory.
The Christmas Tree
The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. The Romans used Fir Trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia. Christians use it as a sign of everlasting life with God.
Nobody is really sure when Firtrees were first used as Christmas trees, but it probably began around 1000 years ago in Northern Europe. Many early Christmas Trees seem to have been hung upside down from the ceiling using chains (hung from chandeliers/lighting hooks).
Other early Christmas Trees, across many parts of northern Europe, were cherry or hawthorn plants (or a branch of the plant) that were put into pots and brought inside so they would hopefully flower at Christmas time. If you couldn't afford a real plant, people made pyramids of wood and they were decorated to look like a tree with paper, apples, and candles. Sometimes they were carried around from house to house, rather than being displayed in a home.
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