Under the Mistletoe

Kate LaTour

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A timeless Christmas tradition for sweethearts around the world

Decorating a Christmas tree, drinking eggnog, opening gifts, secret santa parties, and making cookies. These timeless Christmas traditions make the holiday season so much fun but we can’t forget about one very important timeless tradition. Mistletoe! The timeless tradition of kissing whomever you are caught with underneath this plant of love.

Frankly mistletoe is one holiday tradition that most people do not understand but just follow along with anyways. However, the tradition of mistletoe goes all the way back to the Celtic Druid time period. They were among one of the first people to develop this tradition. They believed mistletoe, especially a rare species that grew on oak trees, to have sacred powers including the ability to heal illnesses, protect against nightmares, and even predict the future. So the Druids would collect it during the summer and winter solstices. They were most likely the first to use mistletoe to decorate houses around Christmastime, although their tradition had nothing to do with the actual Christmas holiday we know today.

 In ancient Greece, mistletoe was used in wedding ceremonies and known as the plant of fertility. There is even a Nordic myth concerning mistletoe and it goes like this: Mistletoe was sacred to Frigga, the goddess of love, but Loki, god of mischief, shot Frigga’s son with a spear or, in some tellings, an arrow carved from mistletoe. Frigga revived her son under the mistletoe tree and decreed that anyone who stands under the mistletoe tree deserves not only protection from death, but also a kiss. 

In England during the Victorian time period, kissing under mistletoe meant serious business. If a girl refused a kiss under the mistletoe she would not receive any marriage proposals for an entire year. People would consider her snobbish and likely to end up an old maid.

Fast forward to the present, mistletoe is a fun easy-going tradition for all. Students here at Maple Lake highschool have their own opinions of this tradition that most people know little about. Sophomore Natalie Neumann has hung mistletoe in her home for about five years now and she doesn’t mind the mistletoe but thinks it’s mostly for her parents.“Yeah mistletoe should be a Christmas tradition because it’s in every Hallmark movie. It’s a great tradition but just not for me,” Neumann added. 

However some students love having mistletoe in their homes. Seventh Grader Luke Carlson and his sister Senior Megan Carlson hang mistletoe in their family’s doorway every year. “Everyone in our family loves mistletoe, it’s a fun tradition that we all participate in,” said Megan Carlson. Luke Carlson, on the other hand, likes the mistletoe because it’s funny to see people get caught under it. “I would never kiss anyone under mistletoe except for my dog Able,” said Luke Carlson.

Overall, the tradition of mistletoe has been around for a very long time. It has lots of history behind its meaning than most people realize. But aware of the history or not, it’s still something fun to have in your house for the holiday season. Mistletoe is a great way to celebrate loved ones around Christmas. So  next time you’re decorating your Christmas tree and baking cookies, don’t forget to hang some mistletoe.