Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Legend of Holly & Christmas Trees


Hello Fellow Readers,

In search of a special Christmas card, I found one at our local tractor supply. The cover intrigued me. “The Legend of the Christmas Tree,” it said, with an artist rendering of a man on a horse pulling an evergreen towards a log cabin nestled in the woods.

The Legend of the Christmas Tree

The legend told was of a monk named Wilfrid during the early days of Christianity. He struck a huge oak tree, an object of worship, which fell to the ground in four pieces. From the center grew a Fir tree.

He said to his followers, “See how it points towards the heavens. Let this be called the tree of the Christ child. Gather about it, not in the wilderness but your homes. There it will be surrounded with love and gifts and rites of kindness.”

Legend-of-Holly-CardThat evening, after finding the Christmas Tree Legend card, I went about decorating. There’s a green bin of cherished ornaments that I saved for last. What fun it was to discover a Christmas card with a holly branch sitting on top of the treasures. Inside was a note on a 3 x 5 card. Mom always carried 3 x 5’s in her pocket. She stacked them on the counter and next to her reading spot to jot down to-dos and tidbits of wisdom she came across.

On the 3 x 5, my sister wrote, “Here’s a card from Mom’s collection. I thought of you since the wishes come with a horticultural lesson.” She added a smiley face as Mom always did, usually with the smile beyond the circled face.

The note went on to say, “The holly tree outside of Mom’s old bedroom has red berries which shows a beautifully against the dark green leaves, so pretty.” She added her holiday wishes then, “PS: Don’t you love the green 3 x 5 card, also from mom’s collection, of course.”

The frosted glass candle is what I remember the most growing up with a berried holly branch. We rarely lit the candle. I’ll burn it sparingly too, never wanting to run out of the flame that decorated our holiday home for so many years.

Holly-on-Twig-AngelThe Legend of Holly

Inside Mom’s unused Christmas card is The Legend of Holly, which starts with, “Because Holly grows in most parts of the world, for centuries it has been a decoration at festivals. In ancient times people believed that anyone who wore a wreath made of the berries would be gifted with second sight.” Second sight means seeing things others don’t, including what’s to come.

“Holly bears fruit and stays green in winter. Thus, it became a symbol of immortality,” the card explained and went on to share several legends. “One says that holly was the burning bush from which God spoke to Moses in the wilderness.”

It ends with, “Few of these legends persist today. Holly has become a traditional Christmas decoration, and its beauty needs no further explanation.”

Whatever the legends and traditions you celebrate, It’s All About Love, which never ends — Wishing you and yours the blessings of health, peace, and love.

Garden Dilemmas?

Click through to learn the History & Legend of Poinsettas in Flowers of the Holy Night



Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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