Friday, December 21, 2012

Yule Tide Roundup

Erik Adams, "10 entry points to Rankin/Bass’ enchanted holiday world," AV Club, December 19, 2012

Bearing a handmade style that grew more polished with each passing year, the Rankin/Bass specials made fantastical additions to Christmas lore, crafting origin stories for Rudolph and the like while cannily filling in the spaces between the measures of treasured carols.

"Christmas 1940," BBC

In many ways, Christmas 1940 was the first war-time Christmas of World War Two. Celebrating during heavy rationing and restrictions – whilst surviving heavy bombing and coping with the threat of invasion – was a battle in itself.

Brian Burnes, "In historic house, a history-laden Christmas tree," Kansas City Star, December 15, 2012

Perhaps the only communist Christmas ornament in Kansas City now can be seen at the Alexander Majors House.

On Saturday, the ornament—a hammer and sickle on one side, a star on the other — was among the collectibles displayed by Rich Hoffman, an expert in the celebration of Christmas.

Juliet Gardner, "Inventing the Christmas Tree," History Today, December 12, 2012

'What drove people to go off into the forest, chop down a tree, decorate it?’ asks Bernd Brunner in his short history of the Christmas tree.

He answers with a wide- ranging exploration of the genesis of this symbol of the Christmas season probably first seen in central Europe during the winter solstice in the Middle Ages, becoming an accepted part of Christmas festivities in most European homes by the 19th century and soon the centrepiece of American Christmases too.

J. C., "Perambulatory Christmas Books, part 11," TLS blog, December 15, 2012

The mission is to find a neglected work by an established writer from one of London’s bountiful second-hand bookshops – get thee behind us, Christmas giftbook blues! – for about £5. When, a year ago, we travelled south to Balham to visit My Back Pages on Station Road, our favourable report drew an unfestive response from the owner, Douglas Jeffers. First of all, he wasn’t having any of this "bountiful bookshop" stuff. "'Bountiful’ is a vile phrase", said Mr Jeffers, "but let that be . . . ."

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