All about Mistletoe

All about Mistletoe

Learn everything you need to know about this smoochy holiday plant.

Hung in doorways, mistletoe patiently waits for someone to wander underneath it. Once they’re caught, that person traditionally receives a kiss from someone standing nearby. But there’s much more to this plant than planting kisses! Here are some facts about mistletoe and how you can make your own with our step-by-step instructions.

Seven Merry Mistletoe Facts

  1. Mistletoe’s kissing tradition was first associated with the Roman festival of Saturnalia. In Scandinavia, it was considered a plant of peace — enemies who met underneath it declared truces.
  2. The English took the idea of mistletoe further with the invention of kissing balls, decorated with ribbons, ornaments and other trinkets.
  3. The common white-berried mistletoe found hanging in doorways is one of more than 1,300 species worldwide. The two native to the United States are the American and dwarf mistletoe.
  4. Mistletoe grows as a hemiparasite between branches of trees and shrubs. Its scientific name, Phoradendron, translates to “thief of the tree” in Greek.
  5. Don’t worry too much about the trees! Mistletoe has been part of a healthy ecosystem for millions of years and it only spreads two feet per year.
  6. Many birds, butterflies and bees rely on it for nourishment, nesting and protection. Even elk, cattle and deer eat mistletoe when fresh foliage is rare.
  7. Though many animals eat mistletoe, it’s not safe to leave around pets, and it’s toxic to humans. Hang it high in doorways to keep it out of reach.

Make Your Own Mistletoe
Download our template and make this merry tradition come alive in your home! Once you’ve crafted one (or a few), the decorating possibilities are endless. Let the smooching begin!

Downloadable template
Felt, corduroy or fabric scraps
Double-sided tape
Fabric stiffener
White or red beads, buttons or tiny pom poms
Twine or ribbon
Craft glue


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  1. Download and print our simple mistletoe template
  2. Cut out the pieces and attach to the felt or fabric with double-sided tape, and then cut around the shapes
  3. Using a paintbrush, saturate the felt with fabric stiffener and allow it to dry
  4. Make mistletoe berries with plastic beads, tiny pom poms or buttons
  5. Attach twine or ribbon to the top with a dab of glue and hang it in a doorway, or use our other decorative suggestions

Decorate with Mistletoe

  • Hang it in your entryway, where people are sure to stand when they arrive to take off their coats and exchange welcoming hellos
  • Attach a few to the back of the dining room chairs for a whimsical touch
  • Place them on doorknobs, set them on your guests’ plates for a jolly addition to your holiday place settings, or use as place cards
  • Tie one to a package of cookies for a great gift adornment

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