Holiday Foot Blog: Mistletoe

by | Dec 13, 2016 | Fun Facts

Holiday Foot Blog: Mistletoe

Yeah, this is an obvious one!  We have all heard of mistletoe and what you are supposed to do when under it, but what kind of a plant is it and how did the holiday traditions begin?

First, the plant: Mistletoe is a parasitic plant, meaning it lives off of a host plant, typically a tree (doesn’t particularly fit with the ‘peace of the season theme,’ but nature is nature).  Fortunately, mistletoe rarely kills the host tree.  Mistletoe sometimes forms a mass of dense branches within a tree, often called a ‘witches broom,’ which can be habitat for birds.  Many birds and animals rely on mistletoe for food as well (watch out-it may be poisonous to humans or pets).

According to Druidic mythology, mistletoe was hung in one’s house to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.  In Norse mythology, mistletoe signified peace, love, and friendship.  The custom of kissing under the mistletoe originated in Victorian England, where it was dictated that a man could kiss any woman standing underneath mistletoe and that if she denied the kiss, she would receive bad luck (hence women would search for hanging mistletoe when arriving at holiday parties and avoid it-I don’t blame them!).

So embrace the tradition of mistletoe this Christmas, spread peace, love, and joy, and smooch your sweetie!

Dr. G’s tip: The fake plastic version of mistletoe works just fine and is easily deployable year after year (to the wife’s chagrin).

*Image from Sticky Moments