Christmas means ... mistletoe

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

The last writing prompt for the year from Sydney School of Arts & Humanities (SSOA) - responses from writing group members Cat Davey, Gerdette Rooney and Matt Jackson:

'Mistletoe,' Jane said. 'That’s such an unusual word ...'

Then she walked away briskly. This was her way to avoid kissing Orlando under the jagged bush, the branch that gives permission for an uninvited smooch at Christmas. Orlando, the host of the party, was standing under the mistletoe, which he had placed two steps from the front door, hanging from a light fitting. As each female arrived, he grabbed them, pointed to the mistletoe and leaned in for a kiss, a fog of beer breath, lips scrunched.

There was a long list of things she did not like about Orlando. His name, was obviously number one. His tufted attempt at a beard. His hair swept high in a topknot. His T-shirts with messages, without wit. Tonight it was ‘sorry not sorry for partying’. But most of all she could not stand Orlando’s knuckles, which were furry, ready to hold a banana, more hirsute than his face could ever be. Cat Davey

Mistletoe, such an unusual name ...

It's a leathery-leaved plant with white berries associated with Christmas and, along with holly, used to adorn the house. Not being a botanical expert, I’m ignorant of its origins in kissing and there seem to be many uncertain myths relating to either the Nordic God Baldur, the ancient Greek festival Saturnalia, or the Romans reconciling differences under the mistletoe. I guess it all depends on where you hail from!

In Northern Europe, the tradition of hanging mistletoe in the house goes back to the time of the ancient Celtic Druids when it was deemed to protect all within and ward off evil spirits. It was also a symbol of love and fertility. The astrological lunar calendar of the Celts is based on trees, with the oak being most sacred and representing the summer month of June. Some new-age pagans will still carry an acorn or oak leaf in their pocket for good luck at an interview.

So it was, in the depth of the northern winter with no green on the trees, the parasitic bright green mistletoe was a wel