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 Amazon.co.uk)

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)