Aro­matic fresh herbs wear a lot of hats dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son. Pur­posed for culi­nary, orna­men­tal and even some med­i­c­i­nal assign­ments, they add an earthy delight to any party.

Clas­sic hol­i­day recipes call for pars­ley, sage, rose­mary and thyme. Mint, sage and oregano are cus­tom­ary for roasted meats, poul­try and game.

In the spirit of cre­at­ing new tra­di­tions, sprigs of mint and stems of rose­mary are found at mimosa bars and on hol­i­day cock­tail stations.

Short­bread cook­ies and starter appe­tiz­ers sur­prise guests by dec­o­rat­ing morsels using finely chopped green herb leaves and flow­ers. This lends visual appeal and inter­est­ing flavors.

Cheese plates and party nib­bles ben­e­fit from rose­mary skew­ers as a way to mas­ter fin­ger foods. The ever­green pine-​like, pun­gent herb is a fine addi­tion to rus­tic hol­i­day breads and rolls.

Turn­ing a sim­ple, ordi­nary ingre­di­ent into some­thing spe­cial by using a fresh herb treat­ment is just shy of stun­ning. Think con­ven­tional baked rus­set pota­toes con­verted and served “Has­sel­back” style. Thin slices, the full length of the potato, get a but­ter, gar­lic, rose­mary and lemon bath.

Out­side of the vast culi­nary explo­rations using herbs, hol­i­day décor main­tains a fresh and fra­grant feel by installing herbs on table­tops, chair backs, wreaths and gift wrap.

Hand-​tied bun­dles and bou­quets weave an inter­est­ing tex­ture and bring the assorted col­ors of nat­ural leaves, spikes and sprigs. This dress up genius move makes every occa­sion a sig­nif­i­cant one.

Bay lau­rel has a broad, glossy, leaf base which is prized for orna­men­tal use. Though it is favored as a sub­tle fla­vor­ing agent, the ele­gant leaves stand in for more than soups and stews. An extract of the leaf works as an astrin­gent and heal­ing salve.

The sen­sory adven­ture of fresh herbs evokes provoca­tive con­ver­sa­tion around myth, leg­end and folk­lore. Much is writ­ten on the sub­ject of herbal his­tory– some with reli­gious con­text, other sight­ing med­i­c­i­nal heal­ing or harm­ful properties.

Herbal prac­ti­tion­ers promise to improve love, mem­ory, wealth, prowess and power. Still oth­ers claim pro­tec­tion from evil spir­its and ward off danger.

Those tall ben­e­fits add to the intrigue and mys­tique of herbs. Ease into hol­i­day herb appeal with a sim­ple bou­quet garni dropped into a com­fort­ing pot of soup.