Well, what a year it has been! And, as a result, Christmas 2020 might well be the strangest that most of us have ever known. Certainly, it’s doubtful that we will get to celebrate with our extended family and friends. Christmas at Wyke Manor looks like it will be a bit different this year. Our thoughts are with all of you who will not be having your usual enormous family gathering, big work celebration, or get together with old friends.
Our new collection of Natural Christmas Gifts for Christmas 2020
So, this festive season seemed the right time to launch our brand-new collection of Natural Christmas Gifts by post! We’ve been working hard to develop our natural Christmas gifts for a few years now – meaningful natural products that can be safely sent by post and fit through your loved one’s letterbox. Therefore, we hope our Mistletoe Kisses and Holly Hugs (yes – really!) might help you send some love and festive cheer to those you can’t meet up with.
Mistletoe is famous as a good luck kissing plant! And we just couldn’t resist the idea of a bright and beautiful holly hug. Nevertheless, we really don’t recommend that you actually try this, as is rather too prickly to be comfortable! But the name was just too good to pass by.
Winter is a calm season time on the farm, and we take the time to make our plans for next year. Most of our crops are dormant, or not yet in the ground, but some plants do flourish… The natural beauty of the season is sparse, but in many ways it’s simpler to enjoy. That is to say, when the trees and hedges have lost their leaves and the ground is bare you can spot the ivy flowers, red berries of holly, pinecones, teasels and giants rounds of mistletoe quite easily. Their sculptural forms contrast so nicely, especially on a frosty day! So, we’ve taken that inspiration and developed some Natural Christmas Gifts from the treasures of the season.
We are lucky to have lots of old orchards across the Wyke Manor Estate. And many of these beautiful apple and pear trees are all full of mistletoe! Worcestershire is one of the few places in the UK where this festive plant is in abundance. We are also nurturing a new holly plantation on the farm. Holly’s beautiful red berries make it a popular natural Christmas decoration! But we also hope that it will provide a wonderful place for winter walks and a great feeding spot for wild birds.
See more of the Wyke Manor Estate throughout the seasons on our Pinterest board.
Holly and Ivy – a pairing made famous by the jolly Christmas carol – makes a lovely natural Christmas gift for a loved one.
Ivy grows up and over other plants, becoming intertwined with them. That is to say – it needs support as it grows. Sending this gift is therefore a lovely way to send symbolise your support of a loved one this Christmas 2020.
Ancient Celts brought evergreens indoors to provide a haven for woodland spirits through the winter months! Certainly, ivy is thought to ward off misfortune and bring protection and luck.
More Fun Folklore and Facts about Natural Christmas gifts and decorations
Symbols of Good Luck
Evergreen plants have long been symbols of new growth and re-birth. In other words, they keep their leaves and berries even through the bleakest of winters. Holly, mistletoe, ivy, pine trees, firs and cedars are evergreens and, as a result, seen as signs of good luck and eternal life. In addition, their green colour helped remind people in the dead of winter that spring was on the way again.
Steal a kiss!
The custom goes that men could claim a kiss from a woman spotted standing under mistletoe. And furthermore, if she were to refuse the kiss, it would bring bring bad luck. But most importantly, you should be sure to remove a berry from the mistletoe with each kiss, and stop kissing once they are all gone.
Mistletoe’s association with kissing is thought to have developed from old fertility traditions and the Scandinavian legend of the god, Balder the Beautiful. He was killed by a spear of mistletoe and the tears of his grief-stricken mother became the white mistletoe berries. Moreover, the goddess decreed that mistletoe should for evermore be a symbol of peace and love.
Caught in the prickles!
Holly’s shiny, prickly leaves are thought to ward off evil spirts. Therefore, planting holly trees around the home was auspicious. Still today some people refuse to cut down a holly tree as it is thought to bring very bad luck!
The Christian church reclaimed the symbolism behind holly and it is now considered to represent Jesus. Pointed leaves indicate his crown of thorns. Similarly, red berries are drops of his blood. The legend goes that holly berries were once white, but the blood shed by Christ for the sins of man stained them red for all time.
Mistletoe is a semi parasitic plant that grows on another tree. It stands out well on bare branches in winter and so it was thought to have spontaneously appeared! Consequently, it was seen as sacred and magical, and, in addition, its mythology is tied up with fertility and aphrodisiacs.
But, to clarify, Mistletoe is mostly spread by birds! The seeds are inside the white berries which are very sticky, and birds wipe their beaks on branches to try to remove it. (Or it’s simply spread after the berries are eaten via bird poo!) The stickiness secures the seed to the branch and, after that happens its roots penetrate the tree and start to steal water and nutrients.
Ivy - hedera helix
Ivy was associated with Bacchus, god of wine and revelry. Therefore the Romans often used it to decorate their festivals. Subsequently, due to ivy’s ability to grow in shade, it became associated with secrecy and debauchery and was banned from Christian decorations!
Christmas 2020 opening hours –
We’ll be closing the Confetti Office for Christmas at 3pm on Friday 18th December 2020. We will open up again for the new year on January 4th 2021. Consequently, if you need anything posted out in between these dates – please just get in touch. We are very happy to help!
Above all, we wish you all a wonderful Christmas. Take care.