Christmas has a lot of traditions adopted from other countries, mostly Europe and especially Germany.
But one ubiquitous one comes from slightly closer. The Poinsettia was brought into North American traditions in 1825 by Joel Poinsett from Mexico, where he was the first US Ambassador. Actually, Dec 12 is known as Poinsettia day and is the anniversary of his death. Ok, it’s not widely known.
In Mexico, it is known as la flor de nochebuena, or the Flower Of Christmas Eve. Makes sense. You see a lot of them in the lead up to Christmas. The flowers, which aren’t actually flowers but I’m not getting into that, have been part of Mexican Christmas celebrations since the 17th century when Franciscans started decorating the altar with them.
As you go about enjoying the decorations this time of year brings just remember where the lovely red and pink and white plants came from. Can you imagine a December without them?
If you want to read more, I found here and here interesting. If you want to read how to care for the plants, this seems helpful.