Christmas: A Candid History

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University of California Press, Oct 1, 2008 - History - 179 pages
20 Reviews
Written for everyone who loves and is simultaneously driven crazy by the holiday season, Christmas: A Candid History provides an enlightening, entertaining perspective on how the annual Yuletide celebration got to be what it is today. In a fascinating, concise tour through history, the book tells the story of Christmas—from its pre-Christian roots, through the birth of Jesus, to the holiday's spread across Europe into the Americas and beyond, and to its mind-boggling transformation through modern consumerism. Packed with intriguing stories, based on research into myriad sources, full of insights, the book explores the historical origins of traditions including Santa, the reindeer, gift giving, the Christmas tree, Christmas songs and movies, and more. The book also offers some provocative ideas for reclaiming the joy and meaning of this beloved, yet often frustrating, season amid the pressures of our fast-paced consumer culture.


For three centuries Christians did not celebrate Christmas?

Puritans in England and New England made Christmas observances illegal?

St. Nicholas is an elf in the famous poem "The Night Before Christmas"?

President Franklin Roosevelt changed the dateof Thanksgiving in order to lengthen the Christmas shopping season?

Coca-Cola helped fashion Santa Claus's look in an advertising campaign?

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Great history and insights in this book. - Goodreads
Well researched and written. - Goodreads
It is easy to read and worth the time. - Goodreads
It is so well researched, but not dry at all. - Goodreads

Review: Christmas: A Candid History

User Review  - Diana - Goodreads

Great history and insights in this book. It can definitely help calm your personal Christmas anxiety to know that it started back in Roman times and therefore predates its ties to the nativity story ... Read full review

Review: Christmas: A Candid History

User Review  - Cormacjosh - Goodreads

I read this book for work so that it can be aired during the Christmas season. It didn't tell me anything I didn't already know personally, but it is an excellent concise and readable history of ... Read full review


First There Was Winter
Christmas Comes Late
Christmas Is Like a Snowball
From Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus
And The There Was Money
Wrestling with Christmas
Annotated Bibliography

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About the author (2008)

Bruce David Forbes, Professor of Religious Studies at Morningside College, is coeditor, with Jeffrey Mahan of Religion and Popular Culture in America (UC Press) and coeditor, with Jeanne Halgren Kilde, of Rapture, Revelation, and the End Times: Exploring the Left Behind Series

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