The holiday season is upon us, and winter’s just around the corner. At Schaaf Floral, serving Minneapolis and the surrounding areas, our florists have been busy coming up with lovely seasonal floral designs featuring holly, the December birth flower. We’ve also put together this guide on all things holly to help you deck the halls this season!
What Are “Boughs of Holly?”
The plant is a type of evergreen shrub that has the potential to grow to be the size of a tree. Like other evergreen shrubs and trees, the holly plant’s leaves sprout from limbs. A cut limb, featuring holly leaves is a bough of holly. Holly plants bloom with white flowers that eventually give way to bright, red berries, which appear during the winter.
Holly Berries on Snowy Branch
Holly Wreath on Old Door
Is Holly Poisonous?
Although the leaves, stems, and shoots of the holly plant are safe, a holly’s red berries are dangerously toxic to pets and people. It’s important to keep holly plants, growing outside, and fresh holly berries used indoors out of the reach of small children, cats, and dogs.
Symbolism of the Holly Plant
In Celtic mythology, the holly tree is respected and loved. Holly is considered to be the evergreen twin of the oak, and while it is said that the oak controlled the light half of the year, the holly tree controlled the dark during the winter. For centuries, holly has been revered. For good luck, holly wreaths were worn as crowns by Celtic chieftains, and it was used to protect babies.
The Druids used holly as a symbol of eternal life and fertility. They believed it to possess magical powers.
In ancient Rome, pagans hung holly above their doorways for good luck and used it to celebrate Saturnalia and the solstice. Early Christians also hung it above their doorways in the winter. As the years passed, Christians used holly as a symbol of Christmas and Jesus’s sacrifice, with the thorny leaves representing the crown of thorns and the red berries symbolizing the blood of Christ.
Today, we still use holly to celebrate winter and winter holidays. It’s also the birth flower of December.
Spode Evergreen Tree
Something Different Centerpiece
Peppermint Twist Bouquet
Our Favorite Ways to Decorate with Holly
- Decorative Wreaths – A festive front door wreath is a great place to use holly. It’s beautiful and honors some of the oldest traditions. You can create a front door wreath that prominently features holly or one that uses it as an embellishment. Add a few frosted pinecones and sprigs of poinsettia for an added seasonal effect.
- Advent Wreaths – If you light a candle on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, then you can use holly in your advent wreath. Given the plant’s Christian symbolism, it’s a perfect choice.
- Christmas Packages – You can create an elegantly gift-wrapped package by tying a sprig of holly onto the box, using a bit of pretty ribbon. Just be sure not to leave these packages in easy-to-reach places in households with pets or small children.
- Centerpieces – Complete your holiday tablescape with a floral centerpiece, featuring festive flowers and sprigs of holly. Add a couple of red, green, white, silver, or gold candlesticks to create a warm, cheerful ambiance.
- Corsages and Boutonnieres – If you’ll be attending a fancy party or formal event this season, you can take your gown or tuxedo to the next level with a boutonniere or corsage featuring holly.
- Floral Arrangements – Of course, our favorite way to decorate with holly during the holidays is in floral arrangements. Holly is the perfect embellishment to a bouquet of red and white flowers like roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, orchids, lilies, and ranunculus. We love to poke in a couple of sparkling seasonal embellishments and frosted pinecones for added joy.
Deck the Halls with Holly and Other Christmas Flowers This Season
At Schaaf Floral, we’re here to help you celebrate the spirit of the season with designs featuring fresh holly and other beautiful, festive blooms. For help selecting the perfect holiday wreath, centerpiece, or floral arrangement for your home, we welcome you to stop by or contact us today.