Kissing is a really big deal, according to science. And kissing is a really fun thing to do, according to us. Whether you’re recently single and embracing it or basically living with your S.O., all the festive holiday parties this time of year fill your heart with cheer — which is where mistletoe comes in. We all know that standing under a sprig means getting a kiss, but did you also know that tradition claims “any woman under the mistletoe cannot refuse a kiss” and that “a single woman who is not kissed under the mistletoe will remain single for the next year?” Ugh, as if. Since modern mistletoe superstitions are super lame, we created our own mistletoe kissing checklist for the holiday party season. Pucker up! Or don’t — you do you, girl.

Kissing under the mistletoe

Mistletoe History 101

Mistletoe’s romantic connections date back to the first century, when Druids revered the plant as a symbol of fertility since it could blossom even in the dead of winter. There’s also a Norse legend that tells how Loki, god of evil, killed Balder, god of the sun, with a mistletoe arrow. Frigg, goddess of love and Balder’s mother, was heartbroken, and myth has it that her tears turned into the white berries of the mistletoe bush. The gods were eventually able to bring Balder back to life and in her joy, Frigg proclaimed that no harm could befall anyone standing under a mistletoe bush.

6 Mistletoe DOS AND DON’TS

1. Spring for a fresh sprig. Hostesses, opt for fresh mistletoe instead of those artificial stand-ins. No one wants to accept a real kiss under fake foliage! But be aware, mistletoe can be toxic to pets, so keep it out of reach of your pooch.

2. Loitering is for skaterbois at 7-11. We’re not sure why your crush is insisting on taking their sweet time making the rounds around the room either, but that doesn’t mean you should linger by the mistletoe until they arrive by your side. Mingle, be merry and let that sweet mistletoe kiss happen spontaneously.

3. Fresh breath is festive breath. Pop a candy cane post-spinach artichoke dip if you’re looking for a lip lock under the mistletoe. This tip pulls double duty when you’re inevitably met by your close-talking aunt at the punch bowl.

4. Mistletoe kissing is not mandatory. If you find yourself standing side-by-side under the mistletoe with your boss, a stranger, or literally anyone you’re not trying to smooch, try an air kiss, hug, handshake, high five or a shoulder shrug instead.

5. Traveling mistletoe is a no-go. Call us purists, but mistletoe is meant to hang from a doorway — any other method is null and void in our book. Just say no to those cheeky officemates with mistletoe printed shirts and bar bros with the ‘toe attached to their hats. Boy, bye.

6. Give a kiss; remove a berry. Traditional mistletoe etiquette calls for the man to remove a berry from the bush after each kiss. Once all the berries are picked, kisses are no longer allowed under that mistletoe. But, you know, since this is 2016 and all, we give any consenting adult the right to remove those mistletoe berries.

We’re curious: If you’ve found love underneath the mistletoe, tweet us @BritandCo and tell us your Christmas story!

(Photos via Getty)