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Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  377 ratings  ·  83 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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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Dec 13, 2010 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m always curious about why we do things and traditions that we hold, so I found this book really interesting. However, like the other reviewers, I wish the author had included resources. Would have made him more credible and I like to follow the trail sometimes.
Nov 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: xmas
Offered in alphabetical order, the author shares the background of several popular Christmas traditions.
The writing is flowing, and the vignettes are informative. I suspect a few of the facts as spurious, thus it would be good to have another source to verify.
Nov 11, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Jan 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Decent explanations but unfortunately, no sources even mentioned. You have to take his statements on faith.
Jan 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting history of Christmas traditions. No sources cited.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love all books Christmas! While it might seem a tad early I start thinking about the holidays this time of year. This little book would make a fun gift. I enjoyed reading about advent, boxing day, and even mistletoe. While I wish there was documentation on where the information came from, it is still fun to see how traditions start. This book could create some great conversation with families, especially when kids starting asking why we do certain things during the holidays.

Four stars.

"I re
Dec 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009, non-fiction
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
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting. Lots of facts (?) I didn't know. The only problem I had, the author didn't put any footnotes or bibliography on where he found the information. Otherwise it would have been 5 stars and a great Christmas gift to give. ...more
Virginia Garrett
Typically I struggle with not being Scrooge around this time of year. Usually I believe “the Christmas Spirit” is a bunch of nonsense and hype.

See, Scrooge.

But Jesus has been at work in me and this year, I want to be very intentional about the holidays. I want to revel in them like a child, I want to see them with new, child-like eyes.

So I’ve started listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, and reading books about Christmas. I’ve mentioned here before that I am on a non-fictio
Aurelia Mast-glick
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Filled with informative stories and legends, many of the traditions that we blindly participate in at Christmas are unpacked and the real meanings unfolded in this pretty little hardcover book. It would make a fun little Christmas gift given early in the season so that many of the stories could be read before Christmas. Perhaps new traditions would be put in place as the real reasons are discovered.

I was surprised at some of the history that was revealed in this book. Some of it is the stuff of
Meagan Myhren-bennett
Stories Behind the Great
Traditions of Christmas
By Ace Collins

There are so many traditions involved with Christmas and all too often they are just done because it is the thing to do. But how often do we wonder about the reason behind these traditions and when they began?

In Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas Ace Collins shares with readers what he knows about a variety of the traditions. And the nostalgic yearning for Christmas of old - well it may not be how you imagine it was. Chr
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book for review is “Stories behind the Great Traditions of Christmas” by Ace Collins. This book falls in the genres of religion, holidays, Christmas and history.

Have you ever wondered about the history of Christmas when it comes to the items and traditions that people across the world do? This book is divided into 26 chapters that covers a range of topics even some one might not have thought of. The range is diverse and one can learn from the information inside.

For example “The Twelve Days o
Kathleen Garber
I loved this book. I was expecting it to cover the Christian meanings behind the holiday traditions because its from a Christian publisher but the book was very honest and explained the pagan meanings behind the holidays and how they were transformed into Christian symbols. I think we can be honest about their beginnings and still think of them in Christian terms now. Some books or websites pretend they always had Christian meanings. I was very impressed by this.

I found the book fascinating and
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
It always seems like Christmas starts earlier each year. Once Halloween is over – and sometimes before Halloween festivities have begun – stores are getting decked out in Christmas decorations, and Christmas music finds its way on the airwaves. There is an excitement about Christmas. It is a time when we celebrate Jesus’ birth, and we often celebrate Jesus’ birth through a series of various traditions. Maybe your family reads the story of Jesus’ birth, or sings Christmas carols, or wraps up gift ...more
Laura  Lane
Christmas of long ago. It's not always been commercial. It's not always been about Santa Claus. But, did you know that it's not always been about Jesus? Christmas used to be about wild parties and worshipping everything but Jesus. Until the nineteenth century. Someone with a "round little belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly" and someone who thought Christmas a humbug, or rather their authors, made a huge impact on how Christmas has been celebrated ever since.

I like to rea
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ace Collins' Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas offers some little-known holiday history in this interesting book that teems with Christmas facts and legends, arranged alphabetically by topic.

Readers will be fascinated to learn, for example, that the holiday shopping season used to be only a couple of weeks long, but was extended during WWII so families could get care packages off to soldiers in a timely fashion.

Or that St. Francis of Assisi was one of the first people to use a liv
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Slightly updated from an older version, this book maintains its simplicity in celebrating the wonder of the season. It focuses on the traditions as being centered around Jesus and Christianity, and includes some well-known and not-so-known information. After describing each tradition, the author explains why they should be a part of any Christian's home at Christmastime (hint : each has religious significance). It was interesting to see that Christmas, as we celebrate it today, is a fairly new i ...more

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

If you're looking for a Christmas book full of traditions, stories and information, this is the one to pick! I was very impressed with this wonderful book. First, it's a beautiful, hard-bound, book that's small enough to tuck into your bookcase among your other favorite Christmas books. And it's the perfect keepsake... with stories and information about everything Christmas... from advent to mistletoe to The Nutcracker Ballet...

This is a wonderful book
Via Bella
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read the full review here:

First, I would love to have this book be part of my holiday giveaway eventually.
I * honestly * want to give this book 5 stars, but I am going to give it more like 4 or 4.5 because while it's packed full of cool Christmas information that you are bound to learn something new in, it also has a little bit of a biased given that it is written by a Christian author-- BUT don't that scare you because it is actually a cool book that a lot of people whethe
Dec 09, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Alright, I know it’s ridiculous to get put off by a book about a Christian holiday that is overly Christian/religious. My gripe here is that the author actively disapproves of secular celebration of the holiday. I am not religious but I love traditions. I am also interested in sources and bibliographies for nonfiction books. This title did not have any sources cited nor a bibliography. I am not going to waste my time on reading a nonfiction book whose content I can not verify as fact. This book ...more
Deb Hill
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book recounts the origins and history of various Christmas traditions through the years. It was encouraging to see how several, once pagan, rituals have evolved into bringing honor and glory to our Lord. Sadly, some have also lost their reverence, as well. I admire the author's style of providing closure within each chapter that reverts back to the beginning. I look forward to reading Mr. Collins' other works. ...more
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An informative read about many of our favorite Christmas traditions. The author is diligent to present historical facts and also seeks to leave an inspiring thought at the end of each chapter.

History matters. For this reason, knowing the rich legacies of our most cherished activities at the Yuletide season can only deepen our appreciation for the babe in the manger who changed the world.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think everyone who either loves Christmas, hates it, or is curious about it, should DEFINITELY read this book! In fact, I'm going to keep it on hand so that I can go to it for a reference. I've even read parts of it to my husband who thinks Christmas has turned into a commercial holiday. Praise God! Very well done! ...more
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved this book

If you love history and Christmas this is the book for you. So interesting to see how Christianity changed the pagan rituals of Winter Solstice so those that converted to Christianity could still celebrate this time of year.

I have learned so much from this book. I think I know what I'm giving people for Christmas NEXT year.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting, but a little repetitive if you read all of the entries back to back. Maybe it's meant to be more of a reference than a casual read?

There were entries for just about everything associated with Christmas, but the best ones weren't the Santa or Christmas Tree ones - there wasn't much new information there. I liked the ones on poinsettias, "Xmas", and the yule log.
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Enjoy reading Christmas books during the holidays. Have read this book before but reread this December. Reminded me of traditions etc that I had forgotten, for example that Clement Clarke Moore that wrote The Night Before Christmas was a bishop of the Episcopal Church in New York and a professor at the General Theology Seminary.
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting book that helped me understand how Christmas traditions developed and continued through time. It educated me regarding the evolution of some Christian traditions that evolved from pagan births. It also helped me understand the symbolism of music, lyrics and customs. I could reread it each December as a reminder of what we do to celebrate Christmas.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed reading these short stories during the Christmas season. While there were no references, and some of the connections to Christian beliefs were a bit contrived, it still was great preparation for me for celebrating.
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Citing his Arkansas heritage, Christy Award winner Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. In that capacity, Collins has authored more than eighty books for 25 different publishers that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children’s works as well as books on history, culture and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archive ...more

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