Rudolph Day - Holly

This month we're learning about holly!

Holly (Ilux Aquifolium) is a shrub or tree found primarily in North America, Europe and Asia. With hundreds of species of the plant ranging from short shrubs (two meters high) to tall trees (up to forty meters high), it's known primarily for its bright crimson berries and prickly green leaves.

Although the scarlet berries are famously prominent in homes for the holiday season, they're not the only useful part of hollies. The berries are poisonous, but the green leaves have been used in herbal remedies for centuries for various medical conditions like dizziness, fever and hypertension, though there is little medical proof of the plant's effectiveness. Holly wood is hard and compact, making it excellent for carving; it's sometimes used to make chess pieces and walking sticks. (source)

That's all very interesting, but why is it associated with Christmas? What does it symbolize?

Because its red berries and prickly green leaves last all year round, holly is used as a Christmas decoration all over the world. The sharp edges of the holly leaf can remind us of the crown of thorns placed on the Savior’s head. The red holly berry can remind us of His blood shed for all of us. Christians have long seen these symbols. In fact, in some Scandinavian languages, the word for holly is “Christ-thorn.” (source)

Somebody else came up with some personal characteristics associated with holly. Do you agree with them? If not, what would you choose?

Holly reminds us to believe in ourselves and to connect with our inner strength as we move through difficult times in our life. By knowing that everything eventually comes full-circle we can see the potential that lies ahead. This is a time of positive action and endurance that will actually help us achieve a long-term goal.

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