The Faber Book of Christmas
Like it or loathe it, the world's greatest religious festival is far more than the traditional package (largely invented by the Victorians) of Christmas trees, cards, decorations and stockings hung out for Santa Claus. It has a long history, with roots in a variety of pagan cultures, and legends from around the world. These, with its Christian bedrock in the gospel accounts of the Nativity, are well represented in this anthology, along with accounts of Christmas spent in climatic extremes and under a wide range of circumstances. From commercial kitsch in Japan and cricketing Christmases in Australia to cannibalism on the nineteenth-century American emigrant trail and forced carol singing in a German concentration camp, Simon Rae's book is full of intriguing and challenging surprises.