28 December 2009


by Daniel J. Foley

Another library find! I have Foley's Christmas the World Over, but this volume is a treat as well. Foley talks about the custom of bringing greens into the house, and the history, as far as it can be determined, of the Christmas tree custom, and the Christmas tree custom in the United States, followed by a history of Christmas tree lights and also Christmas tree growing. The book was published in 1960, so the photos are all in black and white except for a four-page color insert, and any photos with people have a quaint quality now, like those in the early part of the century, but I note that several myths that still persist to this day, such as Martin Luther being the creator of the Christmas tree, have already been gently debunked, or at least designated as "not proven," in this volume.

Legends connecting other plants with Christmas, a chapter on Christmas decorations from the original apples to the shiny Germany ornaments, and information on other Christmas-tree substitutes (like the German pyramid and the Italian ceppo) are also included, with a wealth of 18th and 19th century engravings.

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