Holly, Reindeer, and Colored Lights: The Story of the Christmas Symbols

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1971 - Juvenile Fiction - 96 pages
3 Reviews
Traces the origins of our favorite holiday customs and symbols, many of which antedate the first Christmas.

Each of our holidays has its own familiar traditions: Trick-or-treating on Halloween, eating turkey on Thanksgiving, waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas, exchanging cards on Valentine’s Day. But where do these customs come from, when did they begin, and why do we continue to observe them?

In the engaging blend of careful research and lively prose that has earned her books a lasting place on the holiday bookshelf, Edna Barth explores the multicultural origins and evolution of the familiar and not-so-familiar symbols and legends associated with our favorite holidays. Full of fascinating historical details and little-known stories, these books are both informative and engaging. Festively illustrated by Ursula Arndt, they are now available again in hardcover as well as paperback editions, featuring new, eye-catching jacket designs, and fun holiday activities inside the paperback covers. Each book includes an annotated list of holiday stories and poems and an index.

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User Review  - Katieflu628 - LibraryThing

The Christmas spirit all goes back to ancient years. This chapter book displays the various Christmas symbols and how they originated. By combining history and familiar tradition, this book is an ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MarthaL - LibraryThing

A brief explanation of various Christmas symbols used through out the world and the meaning behind the background behind them. Simple line drawings and uncluttered pages make this good resource for elementary school libraries. Read full review

Selected pages


Christmas and Before
The Christmas Star
The Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree Ornaments
Christmas Greens and Flowers
Candles and Colored Lights
The Yule Log
Santa Claus and His Ancestors
The Angels Message
The Shepherds
Christmas Creatures
Christmas Feasting
Christmas Bells
Christmas Colors
Christmas Cards
Christmas Stories and Poems

Christmas Gifts
The Christmas Manger
The Three Kings

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About the author (1971)

The late Edna Barth worked as a librarian, a teacher, and an editor of books for young people before becoming the author of many well-known books for children.

Ursula Arndt has illustrated a number of popular children's books, including the six holiday titles written by Edna Barth for Clarion. She is now retired and lives in Germany.

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