Christmas Holly

Christmas Holly

Welcome to, where you can learn all about Christmas Holly, from its history and Pagan past to the modern use of holly berries and wreaths.

The History of Christmas Holly

The Holly has been traditionally connected to Christmas and festivals associated with it for centuries. Like Christmas songs and trees, its origins can be traced back to Northern Europe and was actually first celebrated as a plant of great importance by the Pagans. Its leaves are green with slightly jagged edges, which may have been part of the reason that the druids used it as a ceremonial head wear when they went into the forest.

Originally, the holly was a type of offering that was giving to the God Saturn by the Romans during the festival of Saturnalia. It was said that the holly was the sacred plant of Saturn and was thus even more valued by the Romans. All images of Saturn are depicted with him with the holly. It is also considered a special gift that was interchanged with a high regard for its symbolism.

At some point the holly became significant to Christians. At first it was placed within decorations that adorned doors as a method of preventing persecution. The power of the holly as a method of preventing unforeseeable trouble was not limited to the problems that earthly creatures could inflict but also demonic forces. It was believed that hanging the holly on the door of any home would prevent the entry of terrifying spectres who were more likely to attack during the holy days. Soon it began getting more mainstream acceptance as an essential symbol of Christmas festivals, as expected the initial purpose of the holly became less recognized by the Christians who used it in yearly celebrations.

Another part of its symbolic significance is related to the crucifixion of Christ who wore a crown of thorns that caused him to bleed from his head. Thus the look of the hollies is similar to the look of Christ's make-shift crown, and the berries symbolize the blood that oozed forth from Christ during his darkest hours. The holly is, subsequently more of a religious symbol for those who subscribe to this metaphorical depiction of the widely-popular plant.

It is typically separated into two types the “she-holly” and the “he-holly”. Both types can be distinguished by the properties of the leaves. The “she-holly is near smooth along the surface, which understandably makes it more feminine, while the “he-holly” is more prickly and rougher, clearly demonstrating more masculine properties.

The holly may merely be viewed by some as a great decorative piece in homes or for use in festivals; however, its history is significant in the grand tradition of religions and pagan belief systems.