• Kate Wolford

Book Review: Christmas Past by Brian Earl


“Christmas Past” is a delightful book packed with just enough information to keep you entertained, but not overwhelmed.


Author Brian Earl, host of the very popular podcast “Christmas Past,” has gathered together the origins, reasons and details of diverse Christmas folklore and traditions, like eggnog, carols, Santa, gingerbread, staging “The Nutcracker,” and candy canes. (The red stripes on the famed Spangler candy canes are hand painted on, which really surprised me.)


Earl’s tone is self assured and lighthearted. He has a way of packing a lot of information into a short space, but the book never feels stuffed or jumbled. Each of the 26 chapters focuses on a popular Christmas item, tradition or folklore. I learned something new from every entry, and never felt like I was being given too much or too little information. The images and designs in the book are delightful as well, as they tend to be old ads or illustrations of common Christmas customs.


You could read this book in one sitting, but I took a few days to read it, because it’s so enjoyable. It would also be a great gift for kids ages middle school and up. Kids adore reading information nuggets, and these are especially accessible and easy to relate to.


I recommend “Christmas Past” without reservation!


“Christmas Past: The Fascinating Stories Behind Our Favorite Holiday's Traditions,” will be published on Nov. 1, and you can order it here.


Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy of this book to review.

Review by Kate Wolford. editor-in-chief of The Fairy Tale Magazine.

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