"the most jolly time of the year"

All about the mistletoe:

What kind of disease is it?

The mistletoe is a parasite and fungus.

What is its host?

They host on hardwood trees like oak and apple.

How does it grow?

Birds are the carriers of the disease, the poop out the seeds and it attaches to the its host.

How did the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe start?

How did the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe start?According to pagan traditions the god Loki in envy killed the handsome god Balder with a dart made from the mistletoe; all other plants having vowed not to harm Balder; the mistletoe, having been overlooked, was therefore used. According to this pagan tradition the mistletoe dart was plucked out of Balder's fatal wound and given to the goddess of love, Freya. From this, came the custom that a man may kiss a woman if he sees her under the mistletoe. Also in ancient times pagans would hang both the mistletoe and wreaths of holly in windows and doorways for their supposed curative and protective powers, to keep witches and evil spirits from entering.

Fun facts:

American mistletoe, the kind most often associated with kissing, is one of 1,300 species of mistletoe worldwide but one of only two that are native to the United States. The other is dwarf mistletoe.

Mistletoe is toxic to people, but the berries and leaves provide high-protein food for many animals.

Phoradendron, the scientific name for American mistletoe, means "thief of the tree" in Greek.