Saturday, 26 December 2020

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Review: Christmas: A Short History From Solstice to Santa by Andy Thomas

Christmas: A Short History From Solstice to Santa by Andy Thomas

Christmas: A Short History From Solstice to Santa by Andy Thomas


Published: 1st October 2019 | Publisher: Quarto Knows | Source: Gift
Goodreads

Have you ever wondered where Christmas comes from? Or why and how it has been celebrated throughout the centuries? This book takes you on an intriguing and entertaining journey through its social history.

Learn about the:
  • astrological associations
  • symbolism of the Nativity
  • excesses of the Roman festival of Saturnalia
  • Puritan ban of Christmas
  • Victorian-era revival
  • introduction and rise of gift-giving
  • origins and developments of Father Christmas
  • food and traditions from around the world
  • history of its stories, songs and symbols

Beautifully illustrated, this book tells the fuller story behind the sparkle and the merriment, and shows why Christmas has survived and still has meaning for us today.
From Quarto Knows.

Christmas: A Short History From Solstice to Santa by Andy Thomas was one of the gifts in my stocking last Christmas, and it's absolutely right up my street. I'm a massive fan of Christmas in a secular sense, and so was really excited to learn more about my favourite holiday!

This book is an absolute dream for anyone who adores the holiday, Christian or not. It was absolutely fascinating to read! We learn how Father Christmas came into existence, and how he became what we know him as today. We discover the reason we bring in evergreen plantlife into our home, and the introduction of the Christmas tree. How giving gifts became a tradition, as well as Christmas cards. The I found the symbolism of the Nativity, and the things we tend to think we know about that story that are actually inaccurate, or not mentioned at all in the Bible, so interesting! It was so terrible to read about how Christmas was banned for a number of years, and celebrating made illegal. How Christmas as we know it today is very much down to the Victorians. We also learn the history behind the food we eat, why we sing carols, and so much more. It really is such a fantastic little book!

As someone who celebrates Yule, too, I was really eager to read about Christmas' origins in Pagan celebrations. But while this is touched on at the start of the book, this is a short history and there is quite a lot to cover, so Yule, Saturnalia and other pre-Christian Winter Solstice and New Year celebrations are very briefly described. I found it a little disappointing, but honestly, this book covers so much, the book wouldn't be a short history at all if it went into too much detail! And to be fair, it gives ou enought information to start you off doing your own research and learning more.

I absolutely adored Christmas: A Short History From Solstice to Santa, and it's absolutely the perfect gift for anyone who really gets into the Christmas spirit.

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