Christmas is the favourite time of the year for many of us, with present exchanges, food & drink and socialising with friends & family at the top of the agenda. But what are the true origins and meaning of this seemingly inexhaustible celebration? Although most of our current customs only go back a few hundred years – Father Christmas as we know him dressed in red and white much less – there has been a festival at this time in the year for thousands of years. Although these days it is taken to mean the commemoration of the birth of Jesus, the date of December 25 was that of the winter solstice in Roman times, and other cultures have celebrated the darkest winter night for millennia. This book looks at all aspects of what the festive period means for people all over the world, beginning with a history of Christmas that looks at Yule, Nativity and Christmas as well as pagan celebrations.The embodiment of Christmas, Father Christmas, has a whole chapter, and this jolly character we know and love has a long history, not to mention a big bag of presents! But wait – there''s myrrh(!): quotes, jokes, sayings and words of wisdom and fun from around the world, as well as fun facts about how, where, when and why we celebrate – and we look at curious customs from around the world.SAMPLE FACT: The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, has been tracking Santa''s journey around the world since 1958.
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