CHRISTMAS isn’t just a time for basking in the glow of a warm fire, exchanging gifts with loved ones and drinking yourself into an eggnog-fueled stupor. It’s also, apparently, the perfect time for casting charms to find out whom and when you’re going to marry. Just because some people commemorate the birth of a major religious figure at Christmas doesn’t mean we should forget about the important things, after all. What follow are superstitions from a time (not too long ago, unfortunately) when marriage was the be-all and end-all of a woman’s possible life choices. Test them out this year if you like, but be warned: some times the worst kinds of prophecies are the self-fulfilling kinds.
- A charm in Christmas pudding or Christmas cake was once a popular way to find out who would be the first to marry amongst a group of girls. She who retrieved the ring (it had to be a ring) in her slice of cake would be the lucky lady. To have dreams of your future husband on Christmas night, take a piece of that same cake, walk backwards to your bed, and place that slice under your pillow. Go ahead, have your cake and wed it too.
- Think of the names of three of your beaus and prick their initials into three leaves of holly. Slip the holly leaves under your pillow and the one that appears to you in your dreams will be the one you marry. Feel free to send Bachelor #2 and Bachelor #3 our way.
- Sew nine holly leaves on to your pajamas, borrow a wedding ring (um, okay) and place it on the third finger of your left hand — note: not the ring finger, your middle one – and then go to bed. Mr. Happily Ever After will supposedly appear to you “in a vision.”
- You’ll need two of your nuptially-minded homegirls to help you with this one. Make a chain of holly, mistletoe and juniper, and between each link tie an acorn. When the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve, grab your girls and head in to a room where a fire is lit, lock the door, hang the key over the mantelpiece and open the window as wide as you can. Wrap the chain around the log and sprinkle it with oil, a few pinches of salt and some dirt. Then place the log on the fire and turn all the lights out. Each of you has to sit in front of the fire with a prayer-book opened to the marriage service on your knees. As soon as the chain has been burnt, each of you will see a vision of your future husband crossing the room. Buuuuuuut, if one of you doesn’t see anything at all, or sees a phantom or other scary apparition, sorry: you’re destined to spend the rest of your days alone. At least you’ll have your girls there to comfort you, right?
- Tie a sprig of holly to each leg of your bed frame, and before you go to sleep eat a roast apple. According to ancient traditions, your future partner will speak to you in your dreams. Like… on Tinder? Or an actual face-to-face conversation?
Looks like you’re going to need a lot of holly. Hm. Do you think doing all five of these little rituals at once would up the odds of finding your beau? Like some form of superstitious insurance policy? Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up in Provo with five husbands, about to catapult yourself into a life as the matriarch of a really big family. Well. There could be worse things.