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Christmas: A Candid History [Hardcover]

By Bruce David Forbes (Author)
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Item description for Christmas: A Candid History by Bruce David Forbes...

Written for everyone who loves and is simultaneously driven crazy by the holiday season, "Christmas: A Candid History" provides an enlightening, entertaining tour through history, telling the story of Christmas and its traditions--from its pre-Christian roots to its mind-boggling transformation through modern consumerism. University of California Press

Publishers Description
Written for everyone who loves and is simultaneously driven crazy by the holiday season, "Christmas: A Candid History "provides an enlightening, entertaining perspective on how the annual Yuletide celebration got to be what it is today. In a fascinating, concise tour through history, the book tells the story of Christmas--from its pre-Christian roots, through the birth of Jesus, to the holiday's spread across Europe into the Americas and beyond, and to its mind-boggling transformation through modern consumerism. Packed with intriguing stories, based on research into myriad sources, full of insights, the book explores the historical origins of traditions including Santa, the reindeer, gift giving, the Christmas tree, Christmas songs and movies, and more. The book also offers some provocative ideas for reclaiming the joy and meaning of this beloved, yet often frustrating, season amid the pressures of our fast-paced consumer culture.
For three centuries Christians did not celebrate Christmas?
Puritans in England and New England made Christmas observances illegal?
St. Nicholas is an "elf "in the famous poem "The Night Before Christmas"?
President Franklin Roosevelt changed the dateof Thanksgiving in order to lengthen the Christmas shopping season?
Coca-Cola helped fashion Santa Claus's look in an advertising campaign?

Citations And Professional Reviews
Christmas: A Candid History by Bruce David Forbes has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2011 page 231
  • Publishers Weekly - 08/13/2007 page 65
  • Christian Century - 12/11/2008 page 45
  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2009 page 32
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2009 page 36
  • Foreword - 08/19/2009

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Item Specifications...

Studio: University of California Press
Pages   179
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.26" Width: 6.36" Height: 0.76"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2007
Publisher   University of California Press
ISBN  0520251040  
ISBN13  9780520251045  

Availability  0 units.

More About Bruce David Forbes

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bruce David Forbes is Professor of Religious Studies at Morningside College, author of "Christmas: A Candid History, " and coeditor of "Religion and Popular Culture in America."

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > General
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Holidays > Christmas > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Holidays > Christmas
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

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Reviews - What do customers think about Christmas: A Candid History?

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Christmas  Nov 23, 2007
Bruce David Forbes' CHRISTMAS: A CANDID HISTORY is a must read for anyone who loves the holiday season, or at least anyone who loves the religious aspect of the holiday season and enjoys the secular aspects as well. In this slim volume, Forbes looks at Christmas from its earliest incarnations to our present day celebrations. This is not a hackneyed presentation of common beliefs about Christmas. Forbes offers fresh perspectives about many commonly held theories about Christmas, especially what may be the three most common assumptions about Christmas, namely that it's a Christmas answer to winter solstice celebrations, that most of the symbols are pagan symbols with a Christian flair, and that Charles Dickens is responsible for Christmas as we know it today. For Forbes, Christmas is both all of the things and none of these things.

Forbes begins by looking at the variety of winter solstice celebrations since Christmas is a winter holiday then ventures into the religious aspects, reminding readers that Easter, not Christmas was the central Christian holiday and, for that matter is still supposed to be the central Christian celebration. He then ventures into looking at Christmas symbols such as the Christmas tree, the poinsettia, St. Nicholas becoming Santa Claus, Christmas in Victorian England and the United States, and Christmas as we know it today. Throughout the book Forbes uses the analogy of a snowball as a way of explaining Christmas. If someone wishes to make a snowman, it starts as a small ball of snow, gets rolled around and picks up all sorts of things along the way: dirt, twigs, rocks, dead leaves, etc. as well as snow. The result is the large snowball that becomes the base, torso, or head of the snowman. Much of how we now celebrate Christmas started the same way. A tradition started, different cultures, peoples and time periods added something to it, and today much of what we celebrate is a combination of a variety of additions and adaptations.

It turns out to be a fascinating read. As we read we learn that Christmas was never the purely spiritual holiday we sometimes imagine it to be and that there's always been a struggle to mingle the two, keeping the fun in the holiday while not forgetting it's central message--the birth of Jesus Christ.. We also see how Christmas went from a religious holiday with an excuse for reveling to the family centered holiday many now celebrate. We even get a critique of modern culture and consumerism as well as glimpses into the more recent "Happy Holiday/Merry Christmas" debates. While it's not specifically a "put Christ back into Christmas" book, Forbes as a practicing Methodist and religious studies professor appreciates the primacy spiritual aspect of the holiday while also loving the more secular aspects of Christmas, gives us a greater appreciation of Christmas. He offers his readers insights as to what the holiday ought to be about, and in a very real way rescues Christmas.

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