Christmas Past: The Fascinating Stories Behind Our Favorite Holiday’s Traditions by Brian Earl
Behind every Christmas tradition is a story. Every year, as we trim our tree, build gingerbread houses, and bake cookies to leave out for Santa, we are continuing generations-old customs and rituals. Knowing where and how these traditions began can add a new level of depth to our understanding of the holidays (and, will surely make you the appointed Christmas connoisseur at all of your holiday parties!).
Christmas Past: The Fascinating Stories Behind Our Favorite Holiday’s Traditions reveals the surprising, quirky, and sometimes horrifying stories behind the most wonderful time of the year. With 26 short chapters, it is a festive, digestible Advent calendar of a book that is perfect fireside reading for the holiday season!
Have you ever wondered why we hang Christmas lights? (hint: so Santa can find us in the dark!) Why do we say ‘Merry Christmas’? And why is egg nog seasonal?? Covering ancient and modern traditions, Christmas Past is filled with the origin stories of happy accidents, cultural histories, criminal capers (including tomb raiders and con artists), and hidden connections between Christmas and broader social, economic, and technological influences. How did the invention of plate glass forever change the Christmas season? What common Christmas item helped introduce fine art to the masses? Why do Americans typically spike their eggnog with rum, rather than the traditional brandy? And speaking of booze, does using the phrase “Merry Christmas” mark you as a drunken reveler? Christmas Past answers all of those questions, and many more.
Thank you to Rowman & Littlefield for sending me an ARC of this title! All opinions are my own.