Ilex sounds a little bit like how a baby who’s still learning to talk might say the name of a certain dreadful bro-step producer - if you don’t know who I mean then you’re either too cool or not cool enough, I can’t work it out). That’s kind of irrelevant though because as soon as you twig (no pun intended) it’s common name - Holly - everyone will  feel on much safer grounds, semantically speaking.

Holly! Regularly appears in Christmas carols! Often has a great double act going on with it’s pal, Ivy! The combination of spiky leaves and plump little berries (technically drupes, actually) is uniquely pleasing in it’s complimentary contrasts. Kind of like when you see a slick gore-tex jacket paired with some trashed denim. It shouldn’t work but it just does.

Anyway, holly has been around way longer than naff Christmas cards have existed - fossil records indicate that it was already widespread by the time the cretaceous period came to an end, which means that T-Rex, velociraptors and all sorts of other dinosaurs were presumably and ferociously tearing each other limb from limb against a backdrop of festive berries and glossy leaves. 
Beyond the weighty symbolism that Christianity has attached to holly (spiky leaves equal crown of thorns; berries equal blood of Christ), its often used in heraldry to symbolise truth. Druids in ancient celtic times would also wear holly in their hair as they believed it offered protection against evil spirits. 

Finally, lets not forget the ultimate proof of it’s all round good vibes - cast your minds back to an age when it was still acceptable for you to admit you engaged vigorously with the intricate details of the Harry Potter universe. What was the Boy Wizard’s wand made out of? EXACTLY.