To me the ultimate symbol for the festivities is the holly, the beautiful and somewhat whimsical plant that grows wild in the forest and that is a protected species in Portugal, whose sale and pick up is prohibited, unless it is sold in vases in licensed greenhouses or cultivated at home. It is a symbol for love, hope and a sign of protection and this led to an uncontrolled capture of the species for ornamental purposes in the past. This year I had the great luck of being given two branches by a friend of a relative who has planted it in her farm and that was gently enough to gift them to me. I will treasure them dearly not only for its immense beauty but also because of its rareness and will plant the seeds in my own farm once the festivities are over so that I will have my own holly tree.
And as today is the last day of 2013 let me wish you the most fantastic, joyful and fulfilling 2014! May you be very happy and thank you so much for being part of my life!