December Birth Month Flowers: Narcissus, Poinsettia, and Holly

In this guide, I’ll take you through everything you need to know about December’s Official Birth Month Flowers – the Narcissus, Poinsettia, and Holly. Learn about their meaning and symbolism in the language of flowers and their cultural significance today.

December Birth Month Flowers_ Narcissus, Poinsettia, and Holly

December Birth Month Flowers: The Narcissus

Clusters of white and yellow-centered Narcissus Flowers blooming in an open field
The Narcissus Flower Official Birth Flower for December

One of the official December birthday flowers is the narcissus. Narcissus is a large genus of flowering plants. It’s often confused with daffodils or the March birth month flower since they are also part of the Narcissus genus of the Amaryllis family. 

Most narcissus species are spring bloomers. However, a few types showcase their cheerful blooms in the winter, like the paperwhite narcissus. 

History and Origins of Narcissus Flowers

Narcissus plants are native to the Mediterranean. They are naturalized in many parts of the world, including Asia, Europe, and North America. Of many plants in the genus, paperwhite narcissus or paperwhites are the oldest and most widely distributed. They produce clusters of delicate and sweetly fragrant blooms. The flowers can be white, yellow, or orange.

According to Greek mythology, the name of this flower originated from a beautiful young man named Narcissus. He became too fixated with his looks and received punishment from Nemesis. Consequently, he fell in love with his reflection in the water and ended up drowning. 

Narcissus Flower Meaning and Symbolism

This December birth flower commonly represents purity, sweetness, and simplicity. The narcissus flowers are also often associated with respect and faithfulness. Yet their symbolism and meanings have varied since they are widely prevalent in many cultures.   

For instance, narcissus flowers signify prosperity and wealth in China. But for Victorians, these blooms are representations of self-centeredness and could mean a chance for change.   

Narcissus Flowers by Colors

Narcissus are commonly white or yellow, but other varieties give orange or pink blooms. As with other flowers, their meanings vary by color. 

White narcissus flowers are a known symbol of innocence and purity, like most white flowers. For that reason, these blooms make a great flower gift for friends and family. It also suits the perfect flower for welcoming the birth of a newborn.  

Another common color of narcissus flowers is yellow. Yellow narcissus, as bright and cheery as the sun, symbolizes positive energy, joy, and happiness. This type of narcissus is ideal for a vibrant friend or loved one or as a pick-me-upper flower gift for anyone special in your life. 

Orange narcissus, on the other hand, represents positivity and friendship. Give a bouquet of these blooms to a friend and tell them you value your friendship or to someone you’d like to wish good luck. Because of their association with positivity, orange narcissus flowers are your best bet as a gift for those making a new big step in their career or personal life, like a new job, promotion, or new house.

For more, see our in-depth guide to Narcissus flower meaning

December Birth Month Flowers: The Poinsettia

Red Poinsettia flowers in full bloom
Poinsettia flowers are a traditional December birth month flower

While poinsettias are more commonly associated with Christmas, they are also considered birth flowers for December. Poinsettias are also called Christmas Stars and Christmas Flowers because of the shape and color of the “flowers,” which are technically bracts. The flower is named after American diplomat and physician Joel Roberts Poinsett, who took a vital role in bringing the plants from Mexico to North America.

The Aztecs considered these flowers as a symbol of purity. Today, the vibrant poinsettia flowers signify success, good cheer, and celebration. Moreover, they are the national flower of Trinidad and Tobago and the floral emblem of Madagascar. 

December Birth Month Flowers: The Holly 

A holly bush with red buds in bloom during December
Holly is a cherished plant around the Christmas season

Holly is the other birthday flower for December. It’s also often associated with the Yuletide Season because its cheerful appearance exudes vibrant red and green hues. For that reason alone, hollies, especially the English or European hollies, are frequently requested for seasonal decorations. 

Note, however, that hollies have prickly, sharp leaves, so take extra caution when handling them. That characteristic alone makes hollies a symbol of combativeness, pain, and trickery. They also mean aggression and defensiveness. On a positive note, however, hollies are also associated with happiness and optimism.

In Christianity, the berries of hollies are believed to be white but stained red by the blood of Christ. The spiky leaves, on the other hand, are a representation of the crown of thorns. 

What are the Origins of December Birth Month Flowers?

The tradition of December birth flowers is thought to have originated in ancient Rome, where flowers were given as gifts to celebrate birthdays and other special events. Each month was associated with a particular flower, believed to hold specific characteristics or powers that would be imparted to people born in that month.

The specific flowers associated with each month have varied throughout history and between cultures. This practice continued into the Victorian era when the language of flowers became extremely popular.

Like many traditions, the current list of December birth month flowers that we use today has been influenced by various historical and cultural factors. It’s similar to birthstones, where each month is associated with a specific gemstone.

For more, see our in-depth guide to the Official Birth Month Flowers.

The Official Birth Month Flower Calendar:

Month:Birth Flower:Meanings & Symbolism:
January:Carnations & SnowdropPink Carnations (love and appreciation), White Carnations (luck, love, and affection, Red Carnations (love and friendship). Snowdrop (hope and rebirth).
February:Violet, Iris, and PrimroseViolets (faithful love, truth, loyalty, humility), Iris (hope, faith, passion, purity, and innocence), Primrose (affection, young love, undying affection)
March:DaffodilsDaffodils (new beginnings, faithfulness, luck, prosperity, and hope)
April:Daisy & Sweet PeaDaisy (purity, love, new beginnings, fertility, and motherhood). Sweet Pea (blissful pleasure, gratitude).
May:Lily of the Valley & HawthornLily of the Valley (romance, luck, happiness, purity, humility). Hawthorn (hope, love, beauty, fertility, and supreme happiness).
June:Roses & HoneysuckleRoses (love, passion, romance, purity, gratitude). Honeysuckle (happiness and eternal love).
July:Larkspur & Water LilyLarkspur (happiness, love); Water Lily (enlightenment, resurrection, purity, beauty, creation).
August:Gladiolus & PoppyGladiolus (integrity, honor, respect); Poppy (remembrance, prosperity, enchantment, sympathy).
September:Aster & Morning GloryAster (faith, love, achievement, and wisdom); Morning Glory (affection, intimate love, patience).
October:Marigolds & CosmosMarigolds (devotion, commitment); Cosmos (harmony, love, innocence, beauty, modesty, joy, and balance). 
November:Chrysanthemum & PeoniesChrysanthemum (friendship, love); Peonies (romance, prosperity, good fortune, honor, and compassion)
December:Narcissus, Poinsettia, and Holly,Narcissus (innocence and purity); Poinsettia (success, celebration); Holly (happiness and optimism).

Wrapping Up

The Narcissus, Poinsettia, and Holly are December’s official birth month flowers and perfectly encapsulate the season. The Narcissus, symbolizing rebirth and new beginnings, aligns with December’s role as the gateway to the coming year. The vibrant poinsettia flowers signify success, good cheer, and celebration. With its sharp leaves and vivid berries, Holly is traditionally associated with happiness and goodwill.

Editorial Director | | Full Bio

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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