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Amanita muscaria Christmas

Amanita Muscaria and Christmas

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Christmas, what a wonderful time. It’s the time of year for giving and receiving gifts, stuffing your face, and soaking your Christmas dessert in rum and spices. Now is also when the merry bearded man makes his annual trip worldwide. An old urban legend links Santa Claus to Amanita muscaria, magic mushrooms. Yes, it implies that our customs arose when Siberian shamans wore red and white robes, hunted for magic mushrooms, and collected psychedelic reindeer piss! ūü§£

The Santa Claus mushroom

The fascinating Amanita muscaria mushroom, or fly agaric, is a northern hemisphere species found in temperate and boreal regions. It can be found near or within pine or birch groves in many countries across the globe. 

Fly agaric comes in a few different forms; not all of the fly agaric is specific to Amanita muscaria mushrooms. The hallucinogenic effects of ibotenic acid and muscimol are present in all these. These toadstools are edible but toxic and poisonous if not cooked and consumed properly. 

Fly agaric and reindeer urine are associated with the psychedelic effects of fly agaric. Things will start to make sense very soon, we promise!¬† Visually, this mushroom has a bright red cap with tiny white spots.¬† Many of the same colors are related to Christmas traditions!¬† See our article “Does Reindeer Urine Contain Amanita Muscaria?” for an in depth look into reindeer pee!¬†

The fact that Amanita muscaria originates in Siberia (near the North Pole) and shares similarities with our Christmas traditions is particularly fascinating.  Continue reading to learn more. 

How magic mushrooms may have affected Christmas

Below you will find the different ways Amanita muscaria mushrooms could gave influenced Christmas traditions:

Flying reindeer and red noses

Some cultures have the tradition of feeding fly agaric mushrooms to reindeer and then drinking the urine to leverage the poisonous hallucinogenic effects of the mushrooms.

Why? Due to a natural resistance to the mushroom’s toxicity, reindeer excrete muscimol in their urine. Consequently, the mushroom’s psychoactive compound works better in urine than in the whole mushroom.

Because of this, many cultures’ reindeer became synonymous with the consumption of fly agaric mushrooms and the celebration of the winter solstice.

Even more far-fetched, but not wholly implausible, is the idea that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was the original inspiration for Rudolph’s signature red nose!

Magic mushrooms and winter solstice

These customs originated with the winter solstice celebration, which falls on the same date as Christmas this year.

Christians chose the 25th of December as the date Jesus was born because it marked the beginning of a new calendar year and better times.  A reason to celebrate with magic mushrooms!

Check out these amazing homemade Amanita muscaria holiday gifts from Inspire Uplift

Muscaria under the Christmas tree

These fungi live in harmony with the pine and birch trees they infest. They get confined to growing atop the rhizomes of specific tree species.

Pine trees, also highly valued by the cultures that used these mushrooms, were often referred to as “the trees of life” due to their towering height and massive size. The fly agaric mushroom, a precious present, was gathered from beneath the trees of existence.

Does this sound familiar? Although it’s possible that the modern custom of bringing a pine tree inside the house and decorating it with lights and ornaments so that presents can be placed underneath, it evolved from this older practice, it’s also possible that the two are unrelated. Instead of sending kids out to gather Amanita muscaria, we leave them presents under the tree.¬† If you need Amanita gift ideas for any holiday, Shroom Beach has you covered with their fantastic line of Amanita clothing and accessories.¬†

Furthermore, drying these mushrooms is another way to lessen their toxicity. A common practice was to suspend them from the limbs of pine trees and let them dry in the fresh air. Now, ornaments and artificial angels are the norm.  Fascinating how these traditions could be potentially linked!!

Fireside stockings

In addition, fly agaric mushrooms were dried in socks hung over fires, a practice not dissimilar to the tradition of hanging stockings by the chimney with care in the hopes that Santa would bring presents. This video by StoneAgeMan gives some terrific insights into the Amanita muscaria mushroom 

 Sleigh-riding Shamans

As these stories intertwined with Nordic mythology, one version emerged: Odin rode a sledge pulled by a gigantic horse across the starry sky. Droplets of blood would fall from the sledge, and fly agaric mushrooms would sprout the following season.¬† A direct link between Nordic mythology and Christmas relating to Amanita muscaria!¬† Speaking of sleigh riding Shamans.¬† We found these insanely fun Amanita muscaria jackets from Shroom Beach to keep you warm on any Amanita trip! Save 20% on your entire order by simply entering the code “amanitainfo” at checkout.¬†

Santa’s Colors and Mushrooms

Red, white, and green are the traditional Christmas colors. The red and white represent the Amanita muscaria mushroom, which grows best in the shade of an evergreen tree, represented by the mushroom’s location!

Like the red and white Christmas presents it grows under, you can find mushrooms all over the Northern hemisphere under coniferous and birch trees.


The shaman would hang the mushrooms from tree branches to dry, like colourful ornaments on a Christmas tree, to lessen the poisonous effects.

In the same way that amanita muscaria mushrooms relate to Santa’s flying reindeer, Santa’s flying reindeer relates to magic mushrooms. It is common to see reindeer in European and Siberian landscapes. They ate the mushrooms just like the people who lived there for the nutritional benefits.

Some Siberians who ate the mushrooms imagined seeing flying reindeer. As reindeer urine contained hallucinogenic compounds without toxicity, Siberians also consumed it, and Siberians also consumed it.


Moreover, Rudolph’s bright red nose may have been a metaphor for the Amanita muscaria mushroom, as he was the one who led the herd of reindeer on their way. And Santa’s helpers, the elves, might communicate with the spirits that shamans have described seeing while high on Amanita muscaria mushrooms.

These Amanita muscaria clogs are a super comfortable for Santa and elves to to deliver Christmas presents in. Lucky for us, Shroom Beach offers these Amanita Clogs in mens and womens sizes! Save 20% on your entire order, just enter the code “amanitainfo” at checkout.

What is the truth about Amanita muscaria and Christmas?

It’s tough to say how much these customs have shaped the modern conception of Christmas, but it’d be foolish to think they had no impact. As the celebration of Christmas grew in popularity, certain aspects of these traditions, which had previously been part of other cultural practices associated with the winter solstice, became inextricable from Christmas itself.

Unfortunately, not everyone shares your enthusiasm for these assertions. Historian Ronald Hutton speculates that some details excessively conform to a predetermined storyline. He disputes the widespread belief that shamans wore red and white garments and claims that fewer people ate fly agaric mushrooms than is commonly believed. Many people disagree, so this is still an open question.


Conclusion about Amanita muscaria and Christmas

It’s fun reading about the potential ties betweens Amanita muscria mushrooms and Christmas folklore. Regardless of your beliefs, its fascinating to study the link between these amazing Amanita muscaria mushrooms and Christmas traditions! Check out all the great Amanita muscaria gifts you can buy this coming holiday season from Uplift, these Amanita muscaria gifts make great stocking stuffers for any holiday tradition!¬†

Nate is a longtime contributor to many cannabis, hemp and psychedelic related websites including Amanita Info. His passions include small business, the psychedelic industry and its positive role in mental health. When he isn't writing he enjoys working out and watching the history channel.

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