Garden Therapy Notes

 A Collection of Gardening Information and Inspiration



December 11, 2012

How To Make A Mistletoe Decoration

A Fun Filled Activity Full Of Chuckles

Trina with mistletoe decoration

This year I made mistletoe with a group in a Long Term Care facility and it proved to be a fun activity. Real mistletoe can be purchased but it is difficult to find; it may be too expensive for a group activity; and it is poisonous making it unsuitable for some programs. Instead of the real thing, I use boxwood. Freshly cut boxwood branches look very similar to mistletoe. The leaves will stay green and will not drop off. It is an evergreen, making it available in the colder months of the year. Boxwood is a popular garden plant and should be fairly easy to find. Perhaps you have some growing in your garden? It is sold as seasonal greenery at grocery stores and garden centres. Boxwood is not meant for human consumption and do keep away from pets.

This activity has many therapeutic benefits. Participants learn about the plant and its tradition, promoting cognitive stimulation. The materials include live greenery, decorative ribbons and bells for sensory stimulation. Participants are encouraged to help each other and participate in discussion promoting social interaction. A discussion as well as the sensory stimulation may help participants to reminisce about their own experiences with mistletoe, promoting memories.

European Mistletoe Facts:

  • It can be found growing wild in different parts of Europe including England and France. 
  • The botanical name is Viscum albus.
  • I was surprised to learn that this romantic and festive plant is a parasite. It grows on the branches of trees and is able to absorb moisture and nutrients from the tree. It looks like a small shrub growing in the canopy of the tree.
  • It reproduces from seeds that are deposited on branches, mostly with the help of birds as they eat the berries.  
  • Mistletoe is an evergreen which means that it stays "forever green" all year. It can be found much more easily in the winter when the trees loose their leaves. 
  • Mistletoe is poisonous to humans but many birds and animals eat the berries and leaves. 
  • Real mistletoe is harvested and sold as decorations. 
  • The leaves are oval, green and shiny; and the berries are white. 
  • Traditionally, mistletoe is hung from the ceiling and preferably close to a front entrance door. Two people standing under the mistletoe must kiss. What a wonderful way to greet family, friends or that special someone.


  • One long decorative red ribbon 
  • One piece of string 
  • Three small pieces of boxwood 
  • One small bell 
  • One cluster of artificial white berries 

mistletoe decoration materialsboxwood


1. Group the three boxwood branches

2. Tuck the artificial berries and bell in amongst the boxwood braches.

3. Use string or thin ribbon to tie everything together with a double knot.

mistletoe decoration

4. Tie a decorative ribbon around the string and create a loop in the back. Trim back the string so that the decorative ribbon is only visible.


5. Hang it up high enough so that people can go under it. Alternatively it can be hung up on a door or put on a Christmas tree. Another great idea is attach it to a wrapped gift as decoration.

Happy Growing,

Trina Alix 



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