OPINION: Jobless at Christmas
Kevin Holten, executive producer of "Special Cowboy Moments" on RFD-TV, discusses Patrick Henry and the origination of liberty.
Do you know who is most frustrated this Christmas season? It’s not who you think.
That’s because it’s not the shoppers getting a late start. Nor is it those who can’t get what they want because of a messed up supply chain. It’s not ski resorts that don’t have enough snow, nor is it wives whose husbands invited too many Christmas dinner guests.
The most frustrated this Christmas season is Mistletoe. And do you know why? The reason is because, for the second consecutive year, thanks to the never-ending pandemic, its out of a job.
Now, just to backtrack a little, mistletoe started out as a leathery-leaved plant that grows on apple, oak, and other broadleaf trees and bears berries in the winter. In that way, you could say it is a parasite.
And the mistletoe species grow on a wide range of host trees, some of which experience side effects including reduced growth, stunting, and loss of outer branches.
But mostly, it grows with hardly more than the flower and fruit emerging. And once it has germinated and attached to the host’s circulatory system its photosynthesis reduces so far that it becomes insignificant.
In many ways you could say it’s like a foster child that is adopted by a family. Oh yes, there are certain sacrifices that need to be made to feed, clothe and house the child. But ultimately it is the bigger picture of showing love and support that dominates the scenario.
The question is how did mistletoe come to be a major player in the Christmas scenario?
Well, the real reason is up for debate. But one reason is because, in winter, it remains green, unlike many other plants, thus drawing attention to itself.
Yet mistletoe has not always been associated with surreptitious kisses as, for example, the ancient Greeks and Romans used the plant to treat menstrual cramps and ulcers as well as epilepsy.
And Norse mythology claims the goddess of love, Frigg, secured an oath from all the world's animals and plants that they would not harm her son Baldur, whose death was predicted. However, Frigg forgot mistletoe, which another god used to slay her son Baldur. But after Baldur was revived, his ecstatic mother proclaimed the plant to be a symbol of love meant to be kissed under.
The Celtic Druids used mistletoe in ceremonies several thousand years ago because they believed that mistletoe could also protect against nightmares, and even predict the future.
Meanwhile, the strong association of kissing beneath mistletoe started in ancient Greece, during the festival of Saturnalia and later in marriage ceremonies due to its supposed fertility links.
Then enemies during the Roman era also reconciled their differences under the mistletoe, linking the green plant with peace, while also decorating their homes and temples with the plant in midwinter to placate the gods.
In Victorian England, kissing under the mistletoe was taken far more seriously than it is today. And if a woman refused to lock lips beneath the plant, she could not expect to receive any marriage proposals for the next year. So you could say that our tradition is simply a watered down version of theirs.
And now it appears to be one more tradition that Mr. Pandemic has put on hold. But that too won’t last.