Secret Life of December Flowers: Holly and Narcissus

Okay, friends! It’s time to investigate the secret life of December flowers together! As a plant mom myself, I understand the value of communicating with the plant world. Although you could tag me as a delusional flower-child for quite literally talking to my indoor plant babies, we are not here to discuss my metaphysical beliefs on the energy exchange between humans and nature. Instead, we’ll explore the language of flowers. Similarly, as gifts, flowers speak a language of their own, and every flower hosts a series of symbolism, metaphors, and meanings. Today we’ll take a deep dive into the secret life of the December flowers: Holly and Narcissus. 

Holly and Narcissus are two different flowers, each with their own meanings but always thriving during December. Whether you’re celebrating your own birthday or giving a gift to a loved one, including a holly or narcissus flower in a birthday bouquet is a sure way to make for a meaningful gift. And, if you know someone who is expecting this month, you can mark the occasion by sending them some newborn baby flowers with holly and narcissus! Find out more about this unique flower below.

December flowers on white wood table.

December Flowers: The History of Holly and Narcissus

The traditional holly (Ilex aquifolium) has been around for centuries. Native to the United Kingdom, this sturdy shrub was prized throughout history for its sharp green leaves, cherry-like berries, resilient nature, and mythical powers. Although we can associate many plants with the mythos of Christmas, few hold the rich reputation as the honorable holly tree does. But, before they were hung on front doors and churches for the Christmas season, they were known as a very sacred plant by the druids. It was noted that while other winter flowers wilted in the winter, the holly tree remained vibrant throughout December. 

Paired along with the narcissus flower, whose name might already sound familiar, Holly and Narcissus (paperwhite) share a birth flower month. With an origin story as dramatic as an ancient Egyptian novel, the flower hails its name from the ancient Greek god Narcissus, who was a handsome man that left women heartbroken with unrequited love. As punishment, he was cursed to stare at his reflection in a river lake. Eventually, he fell deeply in love with himself, causing him to drown and die along the river bank, where he remained a flower forever. Luckily this tale doesn’t end as depressingly, as the Narcissus flower is now a symbol of rebirth.

The Meaning and Symbolism of Holly and Narcissus

As I’ve mentioned above, flowers speak a secret language; and there are many ways in which to break the code. Through colors, shapes, blooms, and history, we can dissect the meaning and symbolism of particular plants. All you have to do is have the eyes (and ears) to see the signs. The benefit of knowing the symbolic meanings of flowers is to assist us in choosing the most suitable bouquets for particular occasions! It’s the subtle awareness that you probably shouldn’t send an arrangement of red roses with a condolence message. 


Although holly isn’t technically a flower, it is definitely of the most popular December flowers, as we’ve come to associate it with the feelings of Christmas. Their easily recognizable prickly green leaves and bright red berries make host for a lot of symbolism in Christianity. Folklore tells the tale that the berries were once white before turning scarlet red by the blood of Christ.

Holly also holds symbolism of optimism, good fortune, and peace. I think it is wonderful for a month that is pure festive joy. Interestingly enough, way back in the day, holly was seen as a symbol of fertility and a solution to protect witches in Pagan times.

The Narcissus:

Recognizable for its trumpet-like shape, this delicate blossom is usually white and yellow. The second flower, Narcissus or paperwhite, is often depicted as a symbol of respect, faithfulness, and modesty. One of the most popular December flowers in China, this bloom represents the Chinese New Year as it is one of the first flowers to bloom in Spring. 

Narcissus flower bush in a garden.

When is the Best Time to send December Flowers, Holly and Narcissus?

As I know from personal experience, December babies fall under a particularly fortunate star, so it’s no surprise that there are, in fact, two December flowers to choose from for your lucky recipient. Holly is an evergreen shrub, and Narcissus is a bulb-shaped flower. 

Being the birth month flowers of December, Holly and Narcissus are the best hybrid gifts for birthdays that can also transform into holiday decorations. Packed with the symbolism of optimism, good fortune, and protection, these flowers are a great gift to give to those born in December, as well as those celebrating the Christmas and New Year’s festivities.

Come Make a Christmas Craft with Holly!

Creating crafts with evergreens and berries is an age-old winter tradition that predates Christmas and dates back to pagan times when they would celebrate the winter solstice instead. Since then, Christians have used holly and winter blooms to decorate their homes. Impress your friends by adding a handmade holly craft to your Christmas tree this holiday season. If you’re feeling lost with where to start, don’t worry, we’ll show you how.

To Make Christmas Ornaments with Holly, You’ll Need:

  • Springs of Holly leaves and berries.
  • 6 Large pine cones.
  • Gold or silver spray paint.
  • Glue gun.
  • Red ribbon

What to do: 

  1. Spray the pine cones with gold or silver spray paint, or alternate the colors to your desire. Leave them aside to dry.
  2. Once the pine cones are dry, cut two small springs from the holly plant. Use the glue gun to attach the springs to both sides of the pine cone. Once secure, let the glue dry.
  3. Cut a 6-inch piece of red ribbon. Tie a knot around the stem of the pine cone and secure it with the glue gun. 
  4. Once dry, tie the holly ornament from your tree. And, TAADAA, you have your very own handmade Christmas ornaments! Happy crafting, everyone! 

December flowers on wooden table.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the history and traditions of the holly and narcissus. Don’t hesitate to treat your loved ones (or yourself) to December flowers for the holidays!  

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