Holly, Spruce, Cedar, Juniper, Boxwood, Mistletoe
I’m going to discuss the protective qualities of these plants, though spruce needles can be used like pine, and have many of the same attributes.
These evergreen plants were brought inside in most countries in Europe during the winter months. All were valued for their protective abilities. Holly’s sharp spikey leaves were said to keep evil away. It was sometimes grown as a hedge for this purpose. It doesn't hurt that it IS actually pretty spikey and can deter mundane things like robbers.
All these plants are said to be bring good luck into the house and to keep out things like goblins, evil, and other maleficent things, as long as they are taken down sometime in early January. If they’re kept up too long, you may get goblins in your house rather than repel them!
Much of this greenery can be traced back to pre-Roman times. Plants such as mistletoe were considered sacred by the Druids of the British Isles. They are associated with peace-making. This makes sense since one of the primary functions of the Druid class among the Celts was to actually to negotiate the end of conflicts between peoples.
Evergreen trees have long been brought in during Yuletide in Germanic countries. They are associated not only with protection but also with prosperity so we can see how bringing in greenery at the end of the year to bring prosperity into the new year would be something people would want to do.
I make small swags every year for my house in this tradition of protective and prosperity magic. I use pine, fir, spruce, juniper, cedar, holly, boxwood…whatever I have or can easily get. I make little bundles for the window sashes and swags for the doors. I also make burning bundles with pine and cedar that grow on my property. If you know your greens are pesticide free, that’s a great way to bring this protective and prosperity-bringing power into your house.
If you'd like to see how to make your own wreath, check out this video I made last year. I like using traditional greens: boxwood, juniper, pine, spruce and holly. Red is traditional due to it's protective qualities.
Other fun ways to bring greens into your house:
· Make a small advent wreath with fresh greens, using the traditional pink and purple candles or smaller candles of your choice. Red and white, perhaps?
· Make a Yuletide greenery basket or arrangement or get one from a florist.
· Make a spray with hydrosols and essential oils. Use a spruce or fir hydrosol alone or add a few drops of spruce essential oil.
Do be careful if include holly in your decorating. Hollyberries are toxic to small children and pets. I simply pluck them off or have the holly where she won’t drop berries on the floor.