I just finished Christmas, Celebrating the Christian History of Classic Symbols, Songs and Stories, by Angie Mosteller. This book takes a semi-academic look at the history of American Christmas traditions, symbols, songs, and stories.  It had some really good information regarding the origin of Christmas trees, candy canes, wreathes, etc.

What Mosteller chose to write on, she wrote on well.  What I was disappointed in was what she failed to include.  For example, there was no treatment on the origin of the modern version of Santa Clause.  And most of the Christmas songs she chose to explore I had never heard of.  They may have been American classics, but they are virtually unknown on a popular level today.  And absent from the list were all of the non-religious Christmas songs like Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bells, and the like.  I would have loved to have known the history of those songs as well.  She was writing from a Christian perspective, so I’m assuming she chose to focus on the Christian elements of Christmas rather than the non-religious aspects of the holiday.  But overall this book was a good treatment of the origin of Christmas traditions in America.

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