Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Christmas

Christmas

A Biography

Judith Flanders

Thomas Dunne Books

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Hardcover

A critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author explores the Christmas holiday, from the original festival through present day traditions.

Christmas has always been a magical time. Or has it? Thirty years after the first recorded Christmas, the Pope was already warning that too many people were spending the day, not in worship, but in partying and eating to excess. By 1616, the playwright Ben Jonson was nostalgically remembering Christmas in the old days, certain that it had been better then.

Other elements of Christmas are much newer – who would have thought gift-wrap is a novelty of the twentieth century? That the first holiday parade was neither at Macy’s, nor even in the USA?

Some things, however, never change. The first known gag holiday gift book, The Boghouse Miscellany, was advertised in the 1760s ‘for gay Gallants, and good companions’, while in 1805, the leaders of the Lewis and Clark expedition exchanged – what else? – presents of underwear and socks.

Christmas is all things to all people: a religious festival, a family celebration, a period of eating and drinking. In Christmas: A Biography, bestselling author and acclaimed social historian Judith Flanders casts a sharp eye on myths, legends and history, deftly moving from the origins of the holiday in the Roman empire, through Christmas trees in central Europe, to what might be the first appearance of Santa Claus – in Switzerland – to draw a picture of the season as it has never been seen before.

Reviews

Praise for Christmas

Praise for Christmas:

"[Flanders's] well-structured argument lays to rest the idea that the celebration of Christmas is solely religious." —Publishers Weekly

"Well-researched...a pleasurable read." —Booklist

Praise for The Making of Home:

“Judith Flanders’s new book isn’t just smart and diverting but it is also brave… Flanders uses books well and pictures intelligently, searching images for hidden meaning… this book has charm and learning.”The New York Times Book Review

“The heart of Ms. Flanders’s book traces the physical alteration of houses over the past five centuries… A useful synthesis for those interested in architectural history and material culture”—The Wall Street Journal

“When did houses evolve into homes? You’ll find out in Flanders’ lively trek through some 500 years of history.”Entertainment Weekly, “Fall Books Preview, Riveting Nonfiction”

"Flanders, a historian best known for her works on Victorian culture, has a knack for finding surprising, alternative perspectives on the familiar. In her new book, she takes an unconventional look at how our modern idea of home came to be." The Washington Post

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Judith Flanders

JUDITH FLANDERS is a New York Times bestselling author and one of the foremost social historians of the Victorian era. She is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Telegraph, and The Times Literary Supplement. She lives in London. Her books include The Victorian City.

Judith Flanders

Clive Barda

From the Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books

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