Christmas Around the World

Did you know that candy canes are from Germany; model railways that run around Christmas trees are American; turkeys are replaced by KFC in Japan; advent calendars are handmade in Switzerland; and midnight mass are followed by fireworks in Portugal? And of course, the Pohutukawa trees are iconic Christmas trees in New Zealand. Read the interesting selection about the world’s Christmas traditions in this blog.

A very British Christmas : twelve days of discomfort and joy / Marsden, Rhodri
“This is a twelve-stage sleigh ride through the best, worst, strangest and funniest aspects of the Christmas holiday, with cultural icons saluted, national habits dissected and personal reminiscences from those who’ve eaten all the mince pies and lived to tell the tale. The essential Christmas stocking filler for every Brit who’s ever found themselves on a deflating air bed in their parents’ spare room wedged up against the washing machine come Christmas Eve.” (Adapted from

Christmas : a biography / Flanders, Judith
“In Christmas: A Biography, social historian and best-selling author Judith Flanders casts a revealing eye on the myths, legends and history of the season, from the origins of the holiday in the Roman empire to the emergence of Christmas trees in central Europe, to what might just possibly be the first appearance of Santa Claus in Switzerland! The acclaimed author of The Victorian House and The Victorian City tells the story of the celebration of Christmas.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

American Christmas
“The Christmas season is a time for being with family and friends, for mixing ageless traditions and new ideas. American Christmas will help you discover fresh ways to entertain with festive menus, handmade party favors, and colorful decorations. Eight celebratory occasions—from a New England cookie exchange to a cozy fireside Christmas Eve supper, or a Wine Country Christmas dinner—showcase the true Christmas spirit. Detailed plans help you stay organized.” (Catalogue)

Scandinavian Christmas : over 80 celebratory recipes for the festive season / Hahnemann, Trine
“In Scandinavia the whole period of Christmas, from the first Sunday in Advent to New Year’s Day, is marked by festivals and celebrated in traditional but beautifully contemporary style. Hygge, cosiness in Danish, is about being inside with candles, great comfort food and lots of cakes and sweets. Jars of decorated cookies, gingerbread houses and clogs filled with little presents.”  (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Rick Steves’ European Christmas / Steves, Rick
“Rick Steves, America’s expert on Europe, teams up with co-author Valerie Griffith to explore the rich and fascinating mix of Christmas traditions: Christian, pagan, musical, and edible in Norway, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. Romans cook up eels, Salzburgers shoot off guns, Germans buy “prune people” at markets, Norwegian kids hope to win marzipan pigs, and Parisians ice-skate on the Eiffel Tower.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

A New Zealand Christmas : three centuries of Kiwi Christmas celebrations from the Alexander Turnbull Library / Ell, Sarah
“This sister volume to the successful Map New Zealand is a treasure trove of Christmas Kiwiana from down the years. Drawing on the Turnbull’s extensive collection, the selection of utterly charming Christmas cards, Christmas Day dinner menus, photographs, recipes, advertisements and poster art show the various ways in which we’ve celebrated Christmas and our nation over time..” (Adapted from Fishpond)

Festivals in the Southern Hemisphere : insights into cosmic and seasonal aspects of the whole earth / Samson, Martin
“Many Christian festivals traditionally draw imagery and symbolism from the northern hemisphere seasons. Rudolph Steiner shared cosmic, spiritual imaginations for the northern hemisphere, and in this book Martin Samson develops a useful equivalent guide for the southern hemisphere. He concludes that the essence of Christian festivals works at the same time for the whole earth, but take on nuances through the opposite seasons.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Kiwiana- cultural icons of New Zealand

Kiwiana are certain items and icons from New Zealand’s heritage. It could be described as all the weird and wonderful quirky things from years gone by that contribute to our sense of nationhood — our Kiwi identity: gumboots, ‘Buzzy Bee’ toys, Pavlova, pineapple lumps,  shell ashtrays, and a cookbook.

Kiwiana : uniquely New Zealand / Barnett, Stephen
“Revised edition of: New Zealand! New Zealand! : in praise of kiwiana / Stephen Barnett, Richard Wolfe. Hodder & Stoughton, 1989. This beautifully illustrated books included biographical references, and is the iconic celebration of kiwi social life, popular culture and customs. Author Richard Wolfe is a US columnist of the Guardian; and Stephen Barnett is a famous social history and popular culture author in New Zealand.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Crikey! : talk about Kiwiana / Wolfe, Richard
“It is an illustrated collection of Kiwiana, documenting the stories behind the objects, events and people that have defined the popular culture of New Zealand. Contents include: Quarter-acre paradise; Corker grub; A fine drop; Glad rags; At the chalkface; Crouch, touch, engage; Fair dinkum fun; Up the boohai; Tangata whenua; Godzone country; Gummint; Number-eight wire; Cow cockies; Hard yakker; Pedal to the metal; Go bush; The shaky isles.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

All about Kiwiana : New Zealand treasures and traditions / Gunson, Dave “This book features New Zealand treasures and traditions, though published as a children’s book, this illustrated book features what’s unique in New Zealand traditions. The author Dave Gunson was also an illustrator and designer. He has received many awards and prizes,The Natural World of New Zealand (1998), written by Gerard Hutching and contributed to by Gunson, won the 1998 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Edmonds cookery book.
“In 1879, Thomas Edmonds, a grocer, sold his first batch of 200 tins, telling his customers that their baking was ‘sure to rise’. Now It’s not a Kiwi Kitchen without Edmonds. This New Zealand’s favourite and bestselling cookbook has been fully revised! It has been an essential ingredient in New Zealand kitchens for over 100 years. Full of everyday recipes that are sure to be a success from afghans to bacon and egg pie, now the New Zealand icon is completely up to date and better than ever. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

ICONZ : an iconic look at New Zealand identity / Ellis, Belinda
“ICONZ is an encyclopaedic collection of 64 illustrated graphic icons cataloguing New Zealand’s popular culture and identity. ICONZ pushes past ‘kiwiana’, to depict iconic New Zealanders, Maoridom, cuisine, products and pastimes, as well as comparable aspects of our flora and fauna. The icons have been applied to a range of retail merchandise: art-quality prints and stationery; clothing and accessories; household items; even chocolates.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Made in New Zealand : stories of iconic Kiwi brands / McCloy, Nicola
“New from the best selling author of WHYKICKAMOOCOW and RETURN TO WHYKICKAMOOCOW. Were Ches and Dale real people? Is a Swanndri named after a waterproof water bird? Why not Lemon and Thames? And what’s so odd about Oddfellows?  This appealing, whimisical book is a light social history into the stories behind some of New Zealand’s iconic products, stores and brands.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

KIWI : the Australian brand that brought a shine to the world : a history of the Kiwi Polish Company / Dunstan, Keith
“The story of the Melbourne family who created the iconic Kiwi brand which took Australian shoe polish to the world, and is still the most widely used shoe polish globally. William Ramsey who founded this world famous polish product named the brand after his wife Annie’s country of origin, kiwi (New Zealand). Author Keith Dustan, was an Australian journalist and writer, won the Medal of Order of Australia. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Black Angus : 150 years in New Zealand / Bryant, Geoff
“A celebration of New Zealand’s most popular beef breed and the stories of those who have farmed Angus in this country for 150 years. Since 1863, Angus has become the dominant breed of beef cattle, with stock numbers now in the tens of thousands. Author Geoff Bryant travelled throughout the country interviewing people and photographing people and places. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Kiwiana cupcakes, cake pops and whoopie pies / Day, Kirsten
“Kirsten Day does cupcakes, cake pops and whoopie pies Kiwiana-style, creating delectable treats to celebrate our Kiwi culture. In full colour with never-fail recipes, tips and hints, advice on Kiwiana styling and variations on design. This recipe makes fun occasions with fun cupcakes. This fully illustrated book is easy to follow even for young bakers.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)