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Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  111 ratings  ·  26 reviews
The cheer of a crackling hearth fire. Colorful cards from friends and loved ones. An evergreen tree festooned with ornaments. The golden traditions of Christmas gifts, wreaths, stockings, carols, mistletoe, and more infuse our celebration of the season with meaning and glowing memories. And, in ways you may not realize, they point us to the birth of Christ. Stories Behind...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 29th 2003 by Zondervan (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 237)
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Shannon
I've often wondered about the origins of many Christmas traditions. This book provides stories behind many of them. With each tradition, the author ends up saying it should be part of a Christian's holiday celebration, and he finds or assigns some religious significance or moral benefit to each. I really wonder where these stories came from. There's no bibleography, no list of resources, and few specific facts. If you're looking for stories of Christmas, you will find them in this little book, b...more
Elizabeth
I really enjoyed reading about the history/traditions of Christmas. I now have a new perspective on several aspects of this amazing holiday. Lots of reviews on this book were bad because the author doesn't list his sources. I agree to a degree. However, much of what he writes about are legends with many different versions/sources. I would definitely like to add this book to my personal library to use as a reference.
Sherry
My biggest problem with this book is that he uses no footnotes as to where he found the information; he could have just made it all up. Other than that, I thought it had some interesting ideas about where our Christmas traditions came from.
Ron
Decent explanations but unfortunately, no sources even mentioned. You have to take his statements on faith.
Stephanie
Interesting history of Christmas traditions. No sources cited.
Sarah
If I'm honest, I just read parts of this book so that I could write this article for my church's newsletter in December 2012:

While looking through the Christmas and Advent books in the church, two books by Ace
Collins caught my interest. Stories behind the Great Traditions of Christmas explores the
meaning behind Christmas symbols including evergreen trees, poinsettias, candy canes, lights,
and the colors of Christmas. In Stories behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas, Collins shares
the stories b...more
Janey
This book was really interesting. It gave more meaning to even small traditions, like colors, trees, lights,, etc. I was surprised at how many traditions--that some people criticize for not being centered around Christ--really started centered around Christ; even Santa Clause. Consumerism has mostly geared most of these Christ-centered traditions away from Christ.

What I found most interesting was how and when Christmas really got started. I knew Christ wasn't really born in the Winter, so I had...more
Rebecca
A very fun read about our traditions. I highly recommend it to anyone. My ONLY nit about this book is there is no bibliography, are no footnotes, are no sources listed. He does mention a couple of ancient authors in passing, but the text is not mentioned, only the author. I would have loved to look up some of these!
Laura
Found this on the "holiday books" display at the library. It was interesting to read about how many of our Christmas traditions came to be. I did feel like he was reaching at times to find a Christian connection to every one. (The book is published by Zondervan.) Even traditions he acknowledged to be wholly secular still "help us feel happy and isn't that the point of Christmas?" (Or something like that.) A bit much at times but still interesting.
K.E.
There is a lot I could say about this book but it ultimately boils down to the main irritation: No Bibliography. Site your damn sources, Collins. It's not to say that the information is all together fiction but I feel Collins simply ran with the myths and legends we as a society have halfheartedly accepted...how about doing some true research and expanding on these traditions. On well.
Patrick
"STORIES BEHIND THE GREAT TRADITIONS OCHRISTMAS" by Ace Collinsis well researched and very informative.For example, Did you know that F. W. Wollworths was the first company to give a Christmas bonus to it's employees. Grover Cleveland was the first President to have electric lights on the White House Tree. You will dicover these and many more facts about Christmas in this great book.
Janet
Enjoying learning the history of Christmas as we know it.

4-27-09 update.

I have not been on goodreads in a long time apparently.

I did post the 12 days of Christmas on my blog.

This would be a good book to read again next year as a reminder of the origins of our Christmas traditions.

Liked it a lot!
Deanna
This book is VERY interesting. I really liked learning about all of the traditions we have for Christmas came about. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn something new.
Sandra
Ever wonder why we do some of the traditions we cherish at Christmas? This is a great resource on the "why" of the things we do. I really love learning about how things began and this book answered a lot of my questions.

I recommend this book.
Betsy
A really great collection of the history of some of the popular Christmas traditions. I really enjoyed learning how Christmas "things" came to be. Christmas trees, wreaths, movies, carols, and more are touched upon.
Dave Jones
Very readable book. My major criticism is that the author does not specify any sources used in his research. As a result, the reader does not have much assurance about the accuracy of the info.
April
Very interesting! I like Collins' approach and explanations. I think he's really done his research and still not become cynical about Christmas. I understand it in a new way. Easy read.
Jackie
I love picking up this book during Advent season and being reminded why we DO what we DO and yet being reminded to keep our eyes on the WHY, and more importantly the WHO.
Norma
I was looking for pagan traditions the Christians use in celebrating the season now. Was not a terrible book, just not what I was looking for.
Lisa
It was really interesting, and I had a great time informing (and annoying...) my husband with all of the background of Christmas traditions. :)
Nancy
Dec 26, 2010 Nancy is currently reading it
This is a must read. I'm having fun reading about how all these things got started. Many of my questions have been answered in this book.
Doti
Christian perspective, but interesting details on where traditions started and how they've been carried forward.
Debbie
A great book to read if you want to know how the various traditions of
Christmas came to be.
Julie
Excellent book that shares the history of Christmas traditions!
Ruth
Very well researched and quite interesting
Joseph
Dec 04, 2008 Joseph rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christian history buffs
I loved the minutiae of the development of Christian traditions described in this book--I'm a huge fan of history in general and some of the more interesting but lesser-known stories that comprise it. I am particularly fond of the ability of many of these traditions to hold meaning across centuries, continents, and faith systems. This knowledge helps me feel connected to others, which is the point of the season anyway.

It's increasingly important for Christians to be aware of where we come from a...more
Melissa
Melissa marked it as to-read
Sep 26, 2014
Kathy
Kathy marked it as to-read
Sep 17, 2014
Bernelle Goodwin
Bernelle Goodwin marked it as to-read
Sep 11, 2014
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