This year we have some lovely trivia boxes for both Christmas and all your parties. There’s charades, and trivia for adults and kids to choose from. We also have party game kits, treasure hunts and pin-the-tail games, which are all excellent ways of discovering that your children know a startling amount about all sorts of things that you don’t!
There’s a lot of hoar frost about today. Hoar means old and grey – it’s not really a word we use any more (except in hoary) but the Germans still use it as a term of respect, in Herr. Anyway, the frost on the grass is supposed to look like an old man’s beard. So what better time to be thinking about the holly plant. In the spirit of Christmas, here are five things you probably didn’t know about our prickly friend.
1. Holly has nothing to do with ‘holy’; its name derives from words meaning prickly. Because it thrives through cold and snowfall, it signifies hope against adversity.
2. Holly is thought to bring men good luck; its counterpart for women is the ivy plant, hence the song. Its associations with Christianity derive in part from the symbolism with the crown of thorns, with its red berries representing the wounds.
3. However, traditions involving holly are far older than Christianity: the Romans offered it up to Saturn during the Saturnalia, and the Celts celebrated the battle between the Oak King and the Holly King. (The Holly King triumphs during the winter months, only to be trumped by the Oak King for the summer.)
4. For centuries it has been thought that hanging a holly wreath upon your front door deters demons and spectres from entering; a few sprigs around your bed keep away the goblins. If you can place a few holly branches indoors you’ll be keeping the elves of the woodland safe, apparently.
5. Holly berries will make you quite poorly if you eat them, so please don’t. It does, however, make an excellent winter fodder for sheep and cattle, and you can even make herbal tea from it – it is highly stimulating, because its leaves have the highest content of caffeine of any plant.
We don’t actually sell holly, but we do sell all manner of other stocking fillers – here are some of our favourites. (Just put your mouse over the products for the name.)
We’re once again running a 10% off Everything in the Store promotion (not costumes, sorry) – all you have to do is click one of the links in the email for it to work and enter your discount code E102 at the basket page. Any problems, we’re here during office hours on 01572 748 609.
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Party Ark Ltd. 01572 748 609
Millers Barn, Harringworth NN17 3BZ