HOLLY, IVY AND GARLAND
In the 15th century, it is said that Londoners had a by-law that stated that they needed to decorate their homes and churches with whatever the season had that was 'green'. For the most part that meant evergreen trees, holly leaves, bay leaves(Laurel), and ivy. Evergreens represented life because they did not die in the winter as other trees did.
Residents would wrap evergreen around banisters, and around hearths. Placing candles around to make a charming functional centerpiece. Holly and Ivy, were both used for their greenery as well as their religious representations.
While Christianity also finds special meaning behind the holly berries and ivy (representing the Crown of Jesus and the blood he shed). Pagans use holly to ward off evil spirits and darkness of some magic.
Through the years and into the modern era; we still use holly and ivy in both the Christmas and Yule celebrations. Red and green have become synonymous with the holiday season and bring a smile to any one's face. The placing of evergreen garland expanded to include putting an entire tree of evergreen in the home in accordance with the traditional 'law'.
May the home be filled with the love, life, hope, peace and tranquility that this season brings!