I remember the day when I found out about the whole “mistletoe tradition”. I mean – not the EXACT day – but up until a certain point, I can remember helping my mom unpack Christmas decorations from various boxes out of the attic and pulling out this random ball from the box marked “Miscellaneous”. It was clearly, like, decorative – because it had a string on it – but it was essentially just a ball comprised of plastic greenery. On a string.
I didn’t know. I thought it was just another decoration. I mean, why not? We had a ceramic Santa and a poinsettia with fake snow on it. What’s so weird about the ball of plastic leaves on a string? It’s Christmas-y. There are red berries on it. Berries make everything Christmas-y.
At some point – maybe my mom told me, or maybe I picked it up on the mean streets of elementary school – I learned about this tradition that “If you get caught standing under the mistletoe with someone, you have to kiss them.”
You HAVE to kiss them. That’s the rule. Everyone knows if you don’t follow the rules of tradition, you’re destined to have bad luck for the next bajillion years. So, you have to kiss them. The end.
My first thought was – “I’ve got to get me some mistletoe.” Because there was a boy in my English class that I desperately wanted to kiss and live happily ever after with.
My second thought was – “If my parents HAVE it – if that’s what the big ball of green stuff and berries is supposed to be – why do they always hang it over a doorknob? Why don’t they hang it in some place where it can be utilized? Who is kissing under doorknobs?”
Okay – so, as a child, I probably didn’t use the word “utilized” – but I was definitely coming up with ways to get some mistletoe hung in a doorway or a hallway or – basically anywhere in our house that wasn’t A DOORKNOB (what am I supposed to do with THAT?) and invite over my English class boyfriend.
(“Boyfriend” may have been a strong word. We didn’t interact outside of English class. In fact, we barely interacted inside of English class. But this didn’t waiver my hopes that we would one day bump into each other at the pencil sharpener and realize our true feelings for one another. Mostly his for me. In my head, I already had him coming over to my house and kissing under mistletoe. So. Ya know. It was really his move.)
As the years went by – and elementary school turned into junior high, and junior high turned into high school – I played this magical Christmas kiss miracle situation in my head every year. Insert fake boyfriend. Add mistletoe. Bada-bing, bada-boom. Christmas magic.
Trying to trick some boy in my class into coming over and standing under a plastic green plant with me. “Maybe we’re studying together”, I used to imagine. “Maybe there’s a party”, “Maybe it’s New Years Eve”, I came up with all of these fun, elaborate storylines in my head. But they always ended the same way. Trickery and forced kissing. How romantic.
For the record, none of these little evil plans ever came to pass. I was a shy and awkward afraid-to-raise-her-hand-in-class kind of kid. I wouldn’t have had the guts to invite a boy over for a “study session” – let alone convince him to kiss me under law of superstition.
But, hey – a girl can scheme, right?
Believe it or not – the plastic ball of mistletoe never made it into my Christmas decorations box. Mostly because we don’t have a “Christmas decorations box”. We have a tree box, and a bag of ornaments, aaaaand that’s all we have room for. A Christmas tree.
Regardless on the size of our apartment – I was DEAD SET on having a Christmas tree. I didn’t care if it was a Charlie Brown tree, we were going to have one. Non-negotiable. Tree in apartment. WE WILL FIND A WAY.
It’s not Christmas without a tree, right?