Mistletoe KissAlthough I couldn’t convince my five year old son that mistletoe does not have anything to do with his five toes, it made me think about why we kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas time.

The mistletoe we know today grows as a parasite on most soft bark, deciduous trees like apple, ash and hawthorn. The berries make their way to the trees, thanks to the wind and birds, stick to the bark, ripen and flower. A root forms from this berry and essentially becomes a parasite on the tree, burrowing itself and living off the nutrients of the tree. Although trees are not completely killed off by this parasite berry, it can suffocate a branch which can die off and rot.

Enough of the destruction of mistletoe, let’s talk about the fun stuff — the kissing!

The Greeks used mistletoe in festivals and marriage ceremonies believing that it had fertility and life-giving powers. Other ancient European folklore has mistletoe being used as a truce for enemies and spouses. This morphed into the legend that if you stood underneath a ball of ribbons and ornaments intertwined with the berry and were kissed, you were expected to have a deep, long lasting relationship. Throughout the modern-day world, unwritten rules say that the power of mistletoe can used at any time during the Holiday season to steal an affectionate kiss from a spouse, a special kiss from a parent or even an innocent first kiss from a crush.

Thank You to Life123.com, TheHolidaySpot.com and Yahoo Answers for helping us answer these important Christmas questions.

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