Holly was one of the most popular types of greenery used for holiday decoration. It was EVERYWHERE! Wedged into picture frames and clocks, twisted around the chains of chandeliers, arranged in vases, fastened to the tops of draperies, stuck into holiday dishes as garnish and even pinned into women's hair! A clever lady might make up a pyramid of holly sprigs stuck into moss for the dining room table. Baskets of holly sprigs sat on tables and banks of holly boughs were arranged behind vases of holly on the fireplace mantel. Even some of the early "Christmas trees" were made of holly!
You could also send a message, depending on the type of holly that was used in decorating The man of the house ruled if prickly or "he" holly was brought into the home at Christmas. Smooth leafed "she" holly meant that the woman ruled. Of course, this superstition is unfounded because you cannot tell the sex of a holly bush by the shape of the leaves. Female hollies have berries and male hollies do not.