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DECK THE HALLS

Decking the halls with boughs of holly is nothing new. This and other plants that we associate with Christmas have long traditions.

In ancient Rome, holly wreaths were sent to newly married couples to express congratulations and good will. Like other peoples around the world, Romans believed that the holly warded off evil spirits. In England, it protected against witches, dogs and wild beasts. At Christmas, every house, church, street corner and marketplace in London was decorated with holly. Upon discovering holly in America, the early settlers were overjoyed fo find a touch of "home" in the new land.Holly already had its uses in the New World. The Indians of Pennsylvania used it as a badge of courage, while Native Americans in New Jersey used the wood for tomakawk handles. Tribes to the south drank holly tea to give them strength.