Christmas has a number of traditions: trimming the tree, singing carols, and looking at amazing light displays are just a few of them. When it comes to flowers, traditionally at Christmas time we see a lot of poinsettias. Of course, that tradition will continue with Christmas 2010 (and, of course, MyFlorist is standing by to handle all of your poinsettia needs!).
But where did this Christmas tradition come from? It appears that the poinsettia originated in South and Central America and was a favorite flower of the Aztecs. It later became associated with Christmas in Mexican culture due to its bright red color. In the early 1800s, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, saw the flowers on a Christmas altar and asked to take some poinsettia seeds back home with him. He then grew poinsettias for local churches to use on Christmas. Soon, the tradition spread.
The name of the ambassador and the flower are indeed connected. When he first started passing around flowers, people referred to them as Poinsett’s plants, which later was shortened to poinsettia.