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This delightful seasonal anthology investigates just how differently the Christian winter solstice festival has been celebrated over the centuries in different countries and cultures. Traditional stories and festive foods mix with reminiscences, songs and legends to give as rich a concoction as any plum pudding. Christmas tales include the unusual hidden Christmas of Japan, lost since the Isolation period; a White House Christmas where one young guest had the nose bitten off her new wax doll after she broke a dish belonging to the President's daughter; the truth about the Austrian composers of "Silent Night; " the magical tale of how Italian Christmas bread earned its name; a prewar Polish celebration; the history of England's own traditional Christmas pork pie. The book includes a wealth of international Christmas recipes, songs, and stories.