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The Everything Family Christmas Book: Stories, Songs, Recipes, Crafts, Traditions, and More (Everything®) Kindle Edition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Some of the most interesting sections of this book are the chapters on the history of Christmas and how Christmas is celebrated around the world. You may be surprised by the many pagan origins of your favorite Christmas traditions. You may be surprised that the Yule Log Cake you love was actually inspired by real logs that were burned in celebration of the sun. I was also surprised that Christmas was outlawed in some countries in the past. Other things I found interesting was the story about why we hang up stockings on the fireplace.
Christmas is the main theme of this book but the author also briefly discusses the eight days of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali and Ramadan.
There are also several stories and poems that can be read at Christmas time. I especially enjoyed reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" which is perfect to read to kids.
Some of the fun things about this book are the craft projects. And let's not forget all the lovely recipes! If you have never made a fruitcake this book has three recipes. There is also a recipe for Fudge, Wassail and Gingerbread Men.
A special section explains how to prepare for guests to make their visit comfortable. There are also some safety tips and decorating tips to make the holiday season safe.
This book is especially well researched and perfect to read a few weeks before Christmas, preferably while Christmas music is playing.
~The Rebecca Review
A chapter on non-Christian holiday celebrations during the same season gives a lot of interesting details I'd never heard before about Hanukkah, but then slips back into just thumbnails on Kwanzaa, Diwali, Ramadan, and others. The whole book could have been a fantastic resource if it had applied a more consistent level of thoroughness throughout.
Also, a lot of the book's length is padded with the inclusion of numerous Christmas-related public domain works, such as The Little Match Girl, Dickens' A Christmas Carol, O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi, poems and traditional Christmas carols. It's nice to have them all in one bundle, but the initial chapters of the book that delved so deep into the roots of the holiday led me to expect the chapter on "The Stories of Christmas" would equally explore the background of the famous Christmas material rather than just dump the material itself, in its entirety, into the middle of the book.
I remember a similar book my mother had while we were growing up (we're in our 40's now and the book is in my box of Christmas decorations to be unearthed next week...), which we looked at each holiday for favorite recipes and carols. This book is even better than that one in terms of content, but it does suffer a tad from the way it's been translated by Kindle Publishing into the Kindle format. There are no photos of recipes (always helpful to me...), and while the sheet music is there for the carols, it's a tad tough to read. You have the option to open up the photo of the music and then turn your device (Kindle Fire or iPad for me) get a good look at the music, but then you lose the words. A small issue and again, probably due to format more than content of the book.
This book is packed with lots of great information. I could see it being used as a resource for a school paper regarding the history of Christmas in the US from the 1900s to present day, or as a go-to book for inspired Christmas spirit. No, it's not a bunch of recipes or crafts, but it is fun and chalk full of a lot of things families will enjoy during the Christmas season.
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