Updated on December 14, 2017
Christmas Vocabulary – Meet Me Under the Mistletoe
Mistletoe has always been a magical, mysterious, and sacred plant of folklore since the time of the Druids. This Christmas phrase refers to a tradition of kissing under a sprig of mistletoe that probably dates to the ancient winter festival Saturnalia.
In Victorian times, kissing under the mistletoe signaled a marriage proposal. When all the berries were gone from the original sprig, there could be no more kissing. If a girl remained unkissed at the end of the evening, she could not expect to marry the following year. Christmas mistletoe was then burned on Twelfth Night lest all those who did kiss under it never marry.
Another mistletoe kissing tradition dictates that a person standing under a ball of mistletoe cannot refuse to be kissed. Such a mistletoe kiss could mean deep romance or lasting friendship and goodwill.
On the other hand, when a couple in love kiss under the mistletoe, it is seen as a promise to marry, as well as a prediction of happiness and long life.
The interesting thing is that a mistletoe plant is actually a parasitic and eating any part of it can cause poisoning. That’s why you find artificial mistletoe used in kissing balls today.
To encourage the tradition, I decorate with two artifical mistletoe balls during the holidays. One is a very old plastic bell and the other a silk ball.
Whether you believe all the folklore or not, mistletoe balls can make for fun at Christmas celebrations when someone whispers “Meet me under the mistletoe.”