Thursday, December 11, 2008


Today's Wonder of the World is...Mistletoe!

Flickr photo by Magintht
Oh ho, the mistletoe hung where you can see...

Flickr photo by perennialpal
In a tree!
It's so easy to find mistletoe in the winter around here. Just look for the balls of green leaves sucking the life out of a helpless tree.
Sorry. Don't mean to be a Scrooge. I love mistletoe. Really, I do!
I just find it curious that we choose to kiss underneath mistletoe, when it has such a dark side. Did you know it's also called the Vampire Plant?

I like to think of mistletoe as Grandpa Munster--a sweet, nice vampire. It's almost easy to forget that it probes beneath the bark of a tree to mooch off its water and nutrients.
But it's so pretty!

Flickr photo by ahmet.surucu
Just don't think about the fact that the name mistletoe comes from the old English "dung twig," thus named on account of the berries looked like bird poop dropped on tree branches.
Oops, there I go again, smushing your Christmas cheer. Sorry!

Here, I'll make it better...Let's think of all the cheery Christmas songs that sing the praises of mistletoe.
There's A Holly Jolly Christmas (Oh ho, the mistletoe, hung where you can see...)
I'll Be Home for Christmas (...please have snow and mistletoe...)
The Christmas Song (Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe help to make the season bright...)
Rocking Around the Christmas Tree (mistletoe hung where you can see, every couple tries to stop)
and the song my pal Jenn Hubbard and I love so much (not.)

Songwriters aren't the only ones who love mistletoe.
So does Getafix, from the French cartoon Asterix.

Flickr photo by GunnarFreyr
Do you know Getafix? He's the druid who is always up a tree, searching for mistletoe for his magic potions. My question is just what kind of potions is he making? Druids thought mistletoe was a symbol of fertility! Maybe that's what inspired all the kissing.

How's your mistletoe etiquette? Did you know that the fellow is supposed to pick a berry off the bundle of mistletoe for every kiss? Once the berries run out, no more kissing!

I'm not sure I agree with this ad.

Flickr photo by Nmarie
I think if my husband bought me an iron (heaven forbid) or a mixer for Christmas, it'd be a good while before I'd feel much like kissing.
Unless he bought me these mixer pups at

Photo by Artsy
Ooh. Big smooches for those.

You know what else you can buy on Etsy?

Photo by ZooLooNaturals
Mistletoe! Hop over here and buy your own bunch.
Is your pucker ready?
What, no one to kiss?
Put mistletoe under your pillow and you'll dream of your Prince Charming.

Flickr photo by wallyspam
When you wake up, toss that mistletoe into the fire. If it burns smoothly, your future looks bright! If not? Find someone else to roast your chestnuts.
Speaking of roasting chestnuts, enjoy The Christmas Song, with Nat King Cole!
And have a wonder-full Thursday, everybody!
Love, Becky


lotusloq said...

I even have a scene with mistletoe in my book, if it doesn't get the ax.

Some great facts! I never knew about the whole giving the kissee a berry for each kiss. Very interesting when you consider the fertility angle. I'm just saying...

a Tonggu Momma said...

Umm... yuck? The dung twig? I think I could have lived my whole life without knowing that. LOL.

Susan Sandmore said...

I heard (long ago) that the traditional way to get mistletoe off a tree (at least in this part of the country) was to shoot it down! True? Not true? Makes an interesting story, anyway.

I haven't seen an overabundance of mistletoe in this town. Maybe the Spanish moss ate it.

TattingChic said...

Wow, I think you've ruined mistletoe forever for me.

Well, maybe if I just don't think about it...

JaxPop said...

Becky - How did you get that picture of me wearing my cape?!?

Susan said...

As usual, you have given us something interesting to think about. I have heard of shooting the mistletoe from the tree, also. I come from a family of kissers, watch out!

LW said...

My dear mom always had mistletoe in the house at Christmas. She hung it in the doorway in the kitchen and waited each morning as my dad came through and then she would giggle with delight. I didn’t realize that mistletoe was such a nuisance, how you feel about mistletoe is the way I feel about lichen. I call lichen the Blob…


Sandy Mastroni said...

wow!I got as far as the poinsettia aliens .I learned about Grandpa Munster mistletoe and saw Sara's bell . This is an amazing blog .
I will come back to listen to Doris and Nat and read more .
Congratulations on your book !
I just illustrated two book covers .
I am so excited .... there's something about a BOOK . I will look on Amazon for yours . That's wonderful !
I'm so glad you visited my blog , I will add your name
Thank you Rebecca !

adrienne said...

Interesting post! I learned I knew very little about mistletoe. I've never thought it was the most attractive plant...

CC said...

Okay, I just learned a LOT right here. I've barely even seen the stuff let alone knew all the history.

My brain is now full.

Can I go home?

Ronnie said...

Hi, I found you on Sandy's blog. When I saw that Peach water tower I knew you were a Southerner. I too will be in search of your book and bookMarking your blog. Christmas endeavors suck the time out of my blog reading. I'll be back after New Year's!!! I want that red riding hood coat in my size.
Ronnie - in a small town in Georgia

Kelly H-Y said...

Oh my goodness ... your blog just makes me smile ... and I learn so many facts too ... I had NO idea about mistletoe! :-)

May Vanderbilt said...

You know, I think it only got so popular because it rhymes with everything!

Toe, Moe, no, roe, blow, tow, row, etc.

It's very funny, isn't it? Especially in light of holly? We already have a twig-y Christmas plant! And it's red and green! Why do we need the vampire one?