Given that Christmas (and the earlier pagan Yule and Solstice celebrations from which it is descended) has been around for several thousand years, you can imagine the amount of facts, myths, stories and data that has accumulated about this joyous season. While there are a host of books about the Christmas season, Armchair Digest: Christmas Unwrapped is a good overall compendium of Christmas knowledge and lore.
There is a broad range of topics covered by a number of contributing authors (including my friend, Michael C. Riedlinger). A quick survey of topics includes:
- How to say Merry Christmas in a host of different languages;
- The origins of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer;
- Holidays surrounding Christmas (from Boxing Day to Twelfth Night and Festivus);
- The history and science of Poinsettias;
- A look at the story of the magi (Three Wise Men);
- and even a comparison of Smurfs and Santa’s Elves.
Each of the topics is covered in an easily digestible one or two pages, making this a nice quick and easy book to browse. (There isn’t really any structure to the book and the items can be read in any order.)
While there’s a wealth of interesting information in here, I have to point out that it’s not really referenced at all. So there’s no easy way of verifying fact from factoid to myth. That being said, I still think it’s a great little book that covers a lot of Christmas territory and would be a welcome addition to your Christmas bookshelf (you have one of those, right…?).
(Disclosure: FaLaLaLaLa was provided a free copy of the mentioned book for review as well as free copies to distribute for contest purposes.)