An’t t’ house is deck’d wi’ Holly round,
An’t t’ Kissin-bush* is there;
There’s lots o’ pullin underneath ‘t
For kissin’ is there fair.
G Tweddell, ‘T. Acad. Cleveland Customs,’ p.15
*An ornamental bush of holly and evergreens, with roses made of coloured paper, flowers, apples, oranges, etc, interspersed, hung from the centre of the ceiling, or in some other convenient place: the ‘common law’ in Cleveland being, that every man who can get a woman under the bush, is fairly entitled to a kiss of her then and there…Since the country has been covered by railways, so that the mistletoe (Viscum album) can be purchased at Stockton and Middlesbrough, sprigs of the plant of Venus are often added in the centre of the kissing-bush, for which, in the absence of the mysterious parasite, it has long been the substitute. G.M. Tweddell