It could be a bleak year for Christmas kissers hoping for a peck under the mistletoe. Apparently this year’s rainy summer has led to a washout crop.
It’s all down to lashing rain and cold weather leading bees to sit in their hives rather than get out and about pollinating mistletoe flowers.
Sellers are now warning they are being forced to put up prices for mistletoe and holly because of short supplies, although buyers are still expected to snap up the plants they can find.
The berry shortage also means hard times for wildlife which have been scratching around for food, with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds saying our feathered friends will be relying on garden feeders more than ever.
And, while we can’t help the wildlife, we can make a suggestion for those who can’t find any mistletoe in the shops.
The Mistletoe! App by Sophie.com costs just 69p, a bargain if you get the kiss you’ve been waiting for from that special someone.
People have been stealing kisses under the mistletoe since time immemorial. The earliest documented case of kissing under the mistletoe dates from 16th century England.
According to Christmas custom, a man and woman who meet under hanging mistletoe are obliged to kiss. Some think the tradition may actually be of Scandinavian origin. It has been described in countless books, including a description in 1820 by American author Washington Irving in his The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, in which he said: “The mistletoe is still hung up in farmhouses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked, the privilege ceases.”
Much more recently, it was the name for pop sensation Justin Bieber’s Christmas album, Underneath the Mistletoe, when the chart-topper sang about kissing the one he loved under the mistletoe rather than spending time with his family.
But what happens when you can’t find any mistletoe? Well Mistletoe! could solve that. As its creators explain: “Whether you’re at your office Christmas party, at home with the family, or out on the town, Mistletoe! couldn’t be easier to use… Hold your mistletoe aloft, pucker up and put your lips to work!”
According to the Christmas tradition, once you’ve had a smacker under the mistletoe, you remove a berry. With the app, you can offer your fellow kisser the chance to pick a virtual berry, then snap their picture and add it to your photo library of festive kisses. You can also upload your pictures to the Facebook or Flickr Mistletoe! groups.
When all your berries have been taken, you can simply shake or tap your iPhone to make them reappear.
It’s obviously not the only Christmas app on the market though, and we’re also loving one just called Christmas!! by Gourmet Pixel Ltd. It’s like your own Christmas organiser. There’s a Christmas Day countdown, advent calendar, jokes, songs, a gift list and games. Your gift list allows you to keep track of all your present ideas as they come to you, so you can store the idea and the name of the recipient, ticking it off the list when you buy it.
And, it works every Christmas so previous users can update to the new version for free. While Christmas is a time of tradition, that doesn’t mean modern technology can’t help you celebrate.