29 December 2013
Christmas Around the World With World Book
Christmas in Colonial and Early America/Christmas in America in the 1700s and 1800s; Christmas in New England; Christmas in Washington, DC
I was a World Book Encyclopedia kid from the time I was seven years old, and for years my encyclopedic sun has risen and set on the World Book. A new set was one of the first things I bought when I had a job, and my mother bought me a newer set as a housewarming gift when we bought our first house in 1995.
The World Book has had numerous other publications, including the younger children's Childcraft set, and this is one of them, an annual release of "Christmas Around the World" books that run about eighty pages, with full color illustrations and with some crafts and recipes at the end. The original books also came with Advent calendars, recipe cards, and other goodies. I managed to pick up a good many of these over the last couple of years at library book sales, but hadn't had a chance to crack into them until now.
These are the four American books that I found; the first two are really the same book with some minor alterations of the text, and some different illustrations in the second book. It's a good overview of the shunning of Christmas in the northern colonies as compared with the enthusiastic celebrations of the Middle Colonies and the South. The New England book is, by my thought, even as a New Englander, highly romanticized, but the introduction is lovely, and the text highly nostalgic (the 1980s photographs, however, are just funny); and the Washington, DC, book is pretty to look at and has an interesting bit of text about how the White House is decorated, which is quite different from the lavish decor you see today on the yearly HGTV specials. It also makes it very, very, very clear that Christmas in Washington, DC, is for everyone. :-)
If you are a Christmas fan and can pick up nice copies at a good price, these are definitely worth your time! Next I need to dig into the volumes about the other countries. First up will be Australia, the land of Snowy the budgie's ancestors.