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Ace Collins serves up some little-known holiday history in this interesting book that teems with Christmas facts and legends, arranged alphabetically by topic.
Readers will be fascinated to learn, for example, that the holiday shopping season used to be only a couple of weeks long, but was extended during WWII so families could get care packages off to soldiers in a timely fashion. Or that St. Francis of Assisi was one of the first people to use a live nativity scene to teach others about Christ's birth.
Collins tackles customs such as Christmas gifts and cards, and the popularity of cultural events like the Nutcracker and the Messiah (which, intriguingly, fell entirely out of fashion in the decades after Handel's death). There are chapters on the history of holly, mistletoe, Christmas trees, candy canes, poinsettias, yule logs, stockings and-of course - Santa Claus.
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