Holly, Reindeer, and Colored Lights: The Story of the Christmas Symbols

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Traces the origins of our favorite holiday customs and symbols, many of which antedate the first Christmas.

Each of our holidays has its own familiar traditions: Trick-or-treating on Halloween, eating turkey on Thanksgiving, waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas, exchanging cards on Valentine’s Day. But where do these customs come from, when did they begin, and why do we continue to observe them?

In the engaging blend of careful research and ...

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Overview


Traces the origins of our favorite holiday customs and symbols, many of which antedate the first Christmas.

Each of our holidays has its own familiar traditions: Trick-or-treating on Halloween, eating turkey on Thanksgiving, waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas, exchanging cards on Valentine’s Day. But where do these customs come from, when did they begin, and why do we continue to observe them?

In the engaging blend of careful research and lively prose that has earned her books a lasting place on the holiday bookshelf, Edna Barth explores the multicultural origins and evolution of the familiar and not-so-familiar symbols and legends associated with our favorite holidays. Full of fascinating historical details and little-known stories, these books are both informative and engaging. Festively illustrated by Ursula Arndt, they are now available again in hardcover as well as paperback editions, featuring new, eye-catching jacket designs, and fun holiday activities inside the paperback covers. Each book includes an annotated list of holiday stories and poems and an index.

Examines the origins of Christmas symbols--trees, ornaments, Yule logs, Santa Claus, cards, Christmas colors, and many other holiday observances.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
If you have ever wondered why people burn Yule logs or hang mistletoe, this book will provide the answers. Where did Santa Claus come from? Who sent the first Christmas card? These and many other symbols of the season are explained. Many traditions were adapted from pagan ceremonies. The early chapters explain these original sources, and later chapters assume you will remember the earlier explanations. This somewhat limits the usefulness of the book, as few will want to read straight through. It contains a lot of information that could make it useful as a reference, but as the chapters cannot entirely stand alone it is a little limited. Black-and-white drawings are provided. 1971, Clarion/Houghton Mifflin, and $7.95. Ages 8 up. Reviewer: Dr. Judy Rowen
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618067862
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.28 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Meet the Author


Ursula Arndt has illustrated a number of popular children's books, including the six holiday titles written by Edna Barth for Clarion. She is now retired and lives in Germany.

The late Edna Barth worked as a librarian, a teacher, and an editor of books for young people before becoming the author of many well-known books for children.

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