Blogmas: December 11, 2020

NONFICTION BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS READING


The Truth about Santa: A Bright red cover with an illustration of Santa with a fancy power funnel strapped to the top of his sleigh.

We all know Santa Claus: fat, jolly, omniscient, swift. Lives in a nice home in the Arctic, with the missus and a pack of elves.

Well, forget what you know. Santa Claus is from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as it turns out, and he’s not as fat as he used to be. Here’s something else you didn’t know: he’s been dabbling in some futuristic technology, and has found myriad ways to make his job possible. How can Santa know who’s been naughty and nice? Simple: implant listening devices into your ornaments. How can he make it to every house Christmas Eve? That’s nothing a little cloning and some wormholes can’t solve. And he has plenty of other tactics: quantum entanglement, organ replacement, drug-induced hibernation, and unmanned aerial vehicles, to name just a few.

In this fantastically illustrated, affectionate, and hilarious book, Gregory Mone uses science and technology to overturn the assumption that Santa can’t be real. Drawing on the work of accomplished scientists and researchers, Mone gives us a whole new portrait of this remarkable man and the miracles he makes happen every year. With imaginative artwork and an eye-catching package, this book makes an outstanding Christmas gift for just about anyone. from Goodreads.

I’m in the middle of this book and if you enjoyed What If? by Randall Munroe, this one is for you! With fun chapters like “How Santa Handles His Booze” and “Why Elves are all Clones” this fun take on the science of how Santa does his job has me cracking up!


Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year: a pale cream cover with a simple green wreath.

What if the month of December were soothing instead of stressful? Now you can celebrate a new kind of holiday season—one where you radiate calm and cultivate delight. Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year leads you out of the darkness of winter and back to the enchantment of an authentic and attainable Christmas season filled with merry gatherings, thoughtful gift-giving, and meaningful observations of annual traditions.

Covering the time period from late November to early January, this joyful guide embraces all the festive holiday build-up and then welcomes the new year in a holistic, nurturing way. Author Beth Kempton gently encourages you to prioritize your holiday hopes and take a slower, more mindful approach to your celebrations. Kempton also offers helpful suggestions for making the most of winter, and recommends using this quiet time to dream new dreams, set goals, and aspire toward a beautiful year ahead.

Filled with personal stories, tips, and advice for staying calm and connecting with others, Calm Christmas and a Happy New Yearprovides a cozy retreat from the pressure of striving for perfection. Instead of starting the New Year exhausted, in debt, and filled with regret, you will rejoice in the memories of the season feeling rested, rejuvenated, inspired, and calm. from Goodreads.

The book every person should have in 2020, am I right?


The Atlas of Christmas: A green cover with an ornament featuring a silhouette of Earth’s continents.

Do you know that in Guatemala there’s a “Burn the Devil” tradition to kick off the Christmas season, where revelers gather to set fire to devil-piñatas? In Sweden, a popular figure in Christmas traditions is the Yule Goat, a rowdy, menacing character who demands gifts. And in Japan, a big bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken has become the classic Christmas Day feast. These and many other global Christmas traditions are featured here in this delightful book. From decorations and activities to feasts and special treats, there’s a wide range of both lovely and unusual traditions from around the globe. from Goodreads.

I desperately want a peek at what are considered the quirkiest holiday traditions from around the world.

The Little Book of Christmas Joy: True Holiday Stories to Nourish the Heart: A red border around the book has a small red car with a huge Christmas tree strapped to the top.

Do you know that in Guatemala there’s a “Burn the Devil” tradition to kick off the Christmas season, where revelers gather to set fire to devil-piñatas? In Sweden, a popular figure in Christmas traditions is the Yule Goat, a rowdy, menacing character who demands gifts. And in Japan, a big bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken has become the classic Christmas Day feast. These and many other global Christmas traditions are featured here in this delightful book. From decorations and activities to feasts and special treats, there’s a wide range of both lovely and unusual traditions from around the globe. from Goodreads.

This looks like the kind of book that could help us finally convince others in our family to get fast food instead of slaving over something disgusting for Christmas Eve dinner.

The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus: The Mathematics of Christmas. The white cover has small Christmas icons linked together.

How do you apply game theory to select who should be on your Christmas shopping list? Can you predict Her Majesty’s Christmas Message? Will calculations show Santa is getting steadily thinner – shimmying up and down chimneys for a whole night – or fatter – as he tucks into a mince pie and a glass of sherry in billions of houses across the world?

Full of diagrams, sketches and graphs, beautiful equations, Markov chains and matrices, Proof That Santa Exists brightens up the bleak midwinter with stockingfuls of mathematiccal marvels. And proves once and for all that maths isn’t just for old men with white hair and beards who associate with elves. from Goodreads.

Math may not be my best subject but I love anything this nerdy. I’ve got to read it.

A Literary Holiday Cookbook: The title is surrounded by cookies, red berries, and springs of evergreen.

For fans of Little WomenThe Chronicles of NarniaA Christmas CarolAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and more, a literature-inspired cookbook for voracious readers during the festive holiday season.

Some of the most famous instances of fictional fare have become synonymous with the holidays. Who can forget the plentiful food surrounding the Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol? The simple but generous and joy-filled Christmas gatherings at the Marchs’ in Little Women? Or the Van Tassel’s autumnal feast in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? Finally, these literary meals can become a reality on your table with A Literary Holiday Feast. 

From Christmas and Thanksgiving to Halloween and New Year’s, this seasonal cookbook offers 17 full four-course holiday meals from 25 classic books—each including an appetizer, entrée, side dish, and dessert. Additionally, whip up festive sips and delectable edible gifts to share with loved ones. As you curl up by the fireplace to reread one of your favorite literary classics, learn to make:

Mouse King Cheese Bites and Sugar Plums from The Nutcracker for Christmas
Turkey Roulade and Jo’s Gingerbread from Little Women for Christmas
Skillet Cornbread with Homemade Butter and Venison Pot Roast from The Little House on the Prairie for Thanksgiving
Deviled Raven Eggs and Coffin Pizza Pockets from Edgar Allen Poe for Halloween
The Queen of Hearts Tomato Tart and Eat Me Cakes from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for the New Year
and many more! 

Finally—whether you love DraculaPhantom of the OperaRedwall, or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz—book lovers can enjoy full menus of literary delicacies from their favorite books for all of their favorite holidays. from Goodreads.

Seriously?? Why don’t I own this??

Christmas a Biography: a tall brick building decorated with snow and icicles.

A critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author explores the Christmas holiday, from the original festival through present day traditions. 

Christmas has always been a magical time. Or has it? Thirty years after the first recorded Christmas, one archbishop was already complaining that his flock was spending the day, not in worship, but in dancing and feasting to excess. By 1616, the playwright Ben Jonson was nostalgically remembering the Christmases of the old days, certain that they had been better then.

Other elements of Christmas are much newer – who would have thought gift-wrap was a novelty of the twentieth century? That the first holiday parade was neither at Macy’s, nor even in the USA?

Some things, however, never change. The first known gag holiday gift book, The Boghouse Miscellany, was advertised in the 1760s ‘for gay Gallants, and good companions’, while in 1805, the leaders of the Lewis and Clark expedition exchanged–what else?–presents of underwear and socks.

Christmas is all things to all people: a religious festival, a family celebration, a period of eating and drinking. In Christmas, bestselling author and acclaimed social historian Judith Flanders casts a sharp eye on its myths, legends and history, deftly moving from the origins of the holiday in the Roman empire, through the first appearance of Christmas trees in Central Europe, to what might be the origins of Santa Claus – in Switzerland – to draw a picture of the season as it has never been seen before. from Goodreads.

Everyone knows that person that believes Christmas was better years ago and this book would be perfect for pre-prepping all the arguments to the contrary. Also, I simply have to find a copy of The Boghouse Miscellany.

The Battle for Christmas: a tan cover with an old illustration on the cover and a sticker that says “Pulitzer Prize Finalist”

Anyone who laments the excesses of Christmas might consider the Puritans of colonial Massachusetts: they simply outlawed the holiday. The Puritans had their reasons, since Christmas was once an occasion for drunkenness and riot, when poor “wassailers extorted food and drink from the well-to-do. In this intriguing and innovative work of social history, Stephen Nissenbaum rediscovers Christmas’s carnival origins and shows how it was transformed, during the nineteenth century, into a festival of domesticity and consumerism. 
   
Drawing on a wealth of period documents and illustrations, Nissenbaum charts the invention of our current Yuletide traditions, from St. Nicholas to the Christmas tree and, perhaps most radically, the practice of giving gifts to children. Bursting with detail, filled with subversive readings of such seasonal classics as “A Visit from St. Nicholas  and A Christmas Carol, The Battle for Christmas captures the glorious strangeness of the past even as it helps us better understand our present.  from Goodreads.

We are making it all up as we go along!! This one, like Christmas a Biography would be fun to read and ready yourself for that relative who just loves to tsk tsk their way through the holidays.

Christmas a Candid History features five adults watching and helping a little blond boy put the tree topper on the tree.

Written for everyone who loves and is simultaneously driven crazy by the holiday season, Christmas: A Candid History provides an enlightening, entertaining perspective on how the annual Yuletide celebration got to be what it is today. In a fascinating, concise tour through history, the book tells the story of Christmas—from its pre-Christian roots, through the birth of Jesus, to the holiday’s spread across Europe into the Americas and beyond, and to its mind-boggling transformation through modern consumerism. Packed with intriguing stories, based on research into myriad sources, full of insights, the book explores the historical origins of traditions including Santa, the reindeer, gift giving, the Christmas tree, Christmas songs and movies, and more. The book also offers some provocative ideas for reclaiming the joy and meaning of this beloved, yet often frustrating, season amid the pressures of our fast-paced consumer culture. 

DID YOU KNOW

For three centuries Christians did not celebrate Christmas? 

Puritans in England and New England made Christmas observances illegal? 

St. Nicholas is an elf in the famous poem “The Night Before Christmas”? 

President Franklin Roosevelt changed the dateof Thanksgiving in order to lengthen the Christmas shopping season? 

Coca-Cola helped fashion Santa Claus’s look in an advertising campaign? from Goodreads.

This book looks like a lovely balance between, “look how its all changed” and “how to bring back the simple joy.” I’m finding myself more and more concerned about the poor Puritans…

Santa Claus a biography is a stark white cover with just Santa’s red hat, belt and boots.

An entertaining, often surprising look at the life of the world’s most influential fictional character.

He is the embodiment of charity and generosity, a creation of mythology, a tool of clever capitalists. The very idea of him is enduring and powerful.

Santa Claus was born in early-nineteenth-century America, but his family tree goes back seven hundred years to Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children. Intervening generations were shaggy and strange — whip-wielding menaces to naughty boys and girls. Yet as the raucous, outdoor, alcohol-fuelled holiday gave way to a more domestic, sentimental model, a new kind of gift-bringer was called for — a loveable elf, still judgmental but far less threatening.

In this engaging social and cultural history, Gerry Bowler examines the place of Santa Claus in history, literature, advertising, and art. He traces his metamorphosis from a beardless youth into a red-suited peddler. He reveals the lesser-known aspects of the gift-bringer’s life — Santa’s involvement with social and political causes of all stripes (he enlisted on the Union side in the American Civil War), his starring role in the movies and as adman for gun-makers and insurance companies. And he demolishes the myths surrounding Santa Claus and Coca-Cola.

Santa Claus: A Biography will stand as the classic work on the long-lived and multifarious Mr. Claus. from Goodreads.

As a kid I had a really hard time understanding if Santa was the same person as St. Nicholas or was he was a cousin or just a different person….maybe? It was confusing and, being Catholic, the answer to everything seemed to be “take it on faith.” I cannot wait to see how the stories, sightings, and involvement of Santa has changed through the years.


Tell me, please! Do you have any nonfiction holiday books to recommend?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

Satabdi Mukherjee

Content Writer | Editor | Book Reviewer

Quirky Pages

Where united we read...😎

ReadingfortheWeekend

Just trying not to drop my book in the pool - lover of Rom Com, Thrillers and Audiobooks!

book'd out

Book Reviews and News

Strawberrys Corner

Language Learner- 🍓- Reader - 🍓 - Writer

redpillows

Book reviews, promotions, releases, author interviews, author guest posts - It's all about books!

Amanda's Book Review

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one" -George RR Martin

%d bloggers like this: