Christmas Decor in the Victorian Age
Mistletoe was the more traditional plant under which to practise various “ancient” ceremonies (to this day, kissing remains one of them). But it was also a lot more rare; a parasitic plant specifically to the apple-tree grown only in the South of England. Its rarity meant that it was mainly in the preserve of the rich of Victorian society: a fashionable status symbol and one of the centrepieces of any respectable Christmas party.
While there was little difficulty shifting these natural decorations, procuring them wasn’t always so straightforward. In the lead-up to Christmas, desperate vendors would scour the streets of London searching for holly. As it was rare to find some not already attached to someone’s house outside, they would sometimes resort to trespassing on private propertyâhoping not to be caught by an irate homeowner or servant. Their efforts at acquisition weren’t always, successful however, particularly when it was mistletoe they were after. Collecting mistletoe meant combing through orchards that were often well protected by guard dogs and hidden traps.