Behind every Christmas tradition is a story — usually, a forgotten one. Each year, as we decorate a tree, build a gingerbread house, and get ready for a visit from St. Nicholas, we’re continuing generations-old narratives, while being largely unaware of their starting chapters. But knowing how these traditions began adds a new level of depth to our Christmas spirit, as well as an arsenal of anecdotes to share at Christmas parties. Christmas Past: The Fascinating Stories Behind Our Favorite Holiday’s Traditions reveals the surprising, quirky, mysterious, and sometimes horrifying stories behind the most wonderful time of the year. With 26 short chapters, it’s a festive, digestible Advent calendar of a book. Covering traditions ancient and modern, Christmas Past is filled with stories of happy accidents, cultural histories, criminal capers (including tomb raiders and con artists), and hidden connections between Christmas and broader social, economic, and technological influences. How did the invention of plate glass forever change the Christmas season? What common Christmas item helped introduce fine art to the masses? Why do Americans typically spike their eggnog with rum, rather than the traditional brandy? And speaking of booze, does using the phrase “Merry Christmas” mark you as a drunken reveler? Christmas Past answers all of those questions, and many more.
Brian Earl is a designer, writer, and podcaster in Silicon Valley. He’s also one of those people who puts up the Christmas tree on Halloween and takes it down on Valentine’s Day. His Christmas Past podcast debuted in 2016 to immediate acclaim. With a storytelling and production style meant to mimic public radio news pieces, the podcast features expert guests and listener-submitted Christmas memories, all in bite-sized, 10- to 15-minute episodes. Brian has either been interviewed, or the podcast has received mention, in Vanity Fair, Modern Woman/USA Today, The Financial Times, Best Life, Bustle, Huffington Post, PopSugar, and many other local and national media outlets. Brian has also been a frequent freelance contributor to The Boston Globe, The Boston Phoenix, and several other Boston-area publications.
Christmas Past: The Fascinating Stories Behind Our Favorite Holiday’s Traditions reveals the surprising, quirky, and sometimes horrifying stories behind the most wonderful time of the year. With 26 short chapters, it is a festive, digestible Advent calendar of a book that is perfect fireside reading for the holiday season!
"Where do many holiday traditions and fixtures come from? What is the origin of Santa Claus? How did candy canes come about? Did people always kiss under a sprig of mistletoe? Most people will never know the answers to all of these questions unless you plan on spending hours on the internet doing searches. There is an easier way… read the book Christmas Past: The Fascinating Stories Behind Our Favorite Holiday’s Traditions, written by Brian Earl... This book is OVERFLOWING with text, facts, funny stories and more."