If you’ve seen Walt Disney’s Fantasia, which featured an animation of Tchaikovsky’s Christmas suite The Nutcracker, you’ll likely remember the fairy-circle of mushrooms performing the Chinese Dance. The mushrooms have white stalks, with red caps that are also speckled with white.
Such mushrooms are a common theme at Christmas, as we see in the assortment of images below:
This mushroom is the fly agaric, Amanita muscaria. They grow in cool temperate regions all over the world, and have psychoactive properties.
So what do they have to do with Christmas? Thereby hangs a tale.