Monday, November 27, 2017

Ever Been Curious About Some Christmas Traditions?

Christmas Biography
By Judith Flanders
October 2017 

Christmas has been all things to all people: a religious festival, a family celebration, a time of eating and drinking. Yet the origins of the customs which characterize the festive season are wreathed in myth.

When did turkeys become the plat du jour? Is the commercialization of Christmas a recent phenomenon, or has the emphasis always been on spending? Just who is, or was, Santa Claus? And for how long have we been exchanging presents of underwear and socks?

Food, drink and nostalgia for Christmases past seem to be almost as old as the holiday itself, far more central to the story of Christmas than religious worship. Thirty years after the first recorded Christmas, in the fourth century, the Archbishop of Constantinople was already warning that too many people were spending the day not in worship, but dancing and eating to excess. By 1616, the playwright Ben Jonson was nostalgically recalling the Christmases of yesteryear, confident that they had been better then.

In Christmas: A Biography, acclaimed social historian and best-selling author Judith Flanders casts a sharp and revealing eye on the myths, legends and history of the season, from the origins of the holiday in the Roman empire to the emergence of Christmas trees in central Europe, to what might just possibly be the first appearance of Santa Claus – in Switzerland! – to draw a picture of the season as it has never been seen before.

The 411:

You know it is a good book when someone has a ton of notes written in the book.

I couldn't put this book down. It was amazing to read about all my favorite Christmas traditions and how they got started.

It was so interesting to find out why we get presents, where Santa came from, why mistletoe is used, why we decorate the house, a tree and stuff stockings. I found it really interesting to hear that Christmas was banned at certain times in our history too.

This is a book that will be packed with my Christmas stuff this year so I can re-read it again and again.

To Get:

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary book for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was offered or received.

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