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Rating: 
Amazon Price: £8.49 (as of October 22, 2018 9:32 pm – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Also available on amazon.com for £8.49 (as of October 22, 2018 9:32 pm – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6418 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250118344
  • Publisher: Picador (19 Oct. 2017)
  • Sold by:  Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B071DF9JJ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray: Not Enabled
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Customer Reviews

A little gem

 on 1 February 2018
By Galliard
Good Clear text. Very informative about it’s subject. Would have been improved with big colourful illustrations.

Yuletide Explained

 on 20 January 2018
By Oznob
This is a great book with a wonderful insight into the last fortnight of the year, over time.

Five Stars

 on 1 January 2018
By Philippa S.
Brilliant book

Layer Upon Layer Of Stories About Christmas.

 on 21 October 2017
By Dr Barry Clayton
Christmas is coming . It is replete with myth. Religious traditions for example are markedly different across the globe. Catholic Portugal treats the event quite differently from, say, Catholic South America. There are as the author says a multitude of Christmases. They are all different. It is in reality a composite day. It is a work of art painted by memory, said C.Day Lewis. Legend piles legend upon legend says Flanders, and she is correct. Tales about Prince Albert and the tree and the origin of Christmas Day are false but they still turn up as correct answers in a quiz.

A history of celebration

 on 3 December 2017
By Gonch888
Fascinating account of Christmases past

Christmas read, facts and traditions

 on 2 December 2017
By Suzie
Bought as a gift but liked it so much it’s on my list for Santa now. Informative light seasonal read

Five Stars

 on 3 December 2017
By A1
Interesting book, superlative service

Weihnachtsgefühl?

 on 22 January 2018
By D. Robinson
One of the critical reviews above suggests that this book isn’t interesting enough. I see what’s meant, but I think it’s being harsh. Perhaps we expect the book to be ‘Christmassy’ – to impart that ‘pink-inside’ feeling (that Germans call ‘Weihnachtsgefühl’, author Judith Flanders tells us) – and it isn’t. At least not, for me, until perhaps the final chapter.
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