I have previously written about the feast day of St. Barbara here, here, here, and here. In the German-speaking world, there is an old custom of cutting branches of spring-flowering fruit trees or ornamental shrubs on this day in order to force them into bloom for Christmas. Branches of sweet cherry (Prunus avium) are most traditional where I come from, but unfortunately I do not have access to a cherry tree from which to cut any. However, while home for Thanksgiving I was able to cut a good bundle of branches from the forsythias in the Michigan garden. They, too, look nice and should actually be quite a bit easier to coax into unseasonal bloom.
My Barbarazweige for this season
For a more general discussion of forcing flowering branches, I would refer you to the relevant chapter in Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd's Our Life in Gardens. Their writing is exquisite and never fails to inspire me, regardless of how often I re-read a piece.