Why Is Holly Associated With Christmas?

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

After mistletoe, holly is probably the most festive flower there is. Its evergreen nature means its leaves are more thick-skinned than most other flowers and shrubs, giving it an ability to survive the harshness winter. It has become a symbol of the season, having Christmas carols written about it, while it’s also constantly seen on Christmas cards.

But given how many different evergreen plants there are, what makes holly so Christmassy? The link between Christmas and holly can be traced to Roman times, when it was the sacred plant of Saturn. In honour of their god of agriculture, the Romans would send boughs of holly to friends to mark the Saturnalia Festival, celebrated between December 17 and 23 – the darkest time of the year – as well as decorating their homes with garlands of