Christmas: A Candid History

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University of California Press, Oct 1, 2008 - History - 179 pages
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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.

DID YOU KNOW

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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - NewsieQ - LibraryThing

I’ve read countless non-fiction books about the history of Christmas and its many components. If you’re going to read just ONE, this is it. The author scours the popular and scholarly tomes about ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - FergusS - LibraryThing

Bruce David Forbes' book on Christmas is an enjoyable read. Beginning with pre-Christmas Pagan winter festivals, he traces the development of a European, and in particular English, Christmas on to its ... Read full review

Contents

First There Was Winter
1
Christmas Comes Late
15
Christmas Is Like a Snowball
43
From Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus
67
And The There Was Money
109
Wrestling with Christmas
137
Notes
155
Annotated Bibliography
163
Index
171
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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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