Christmas: The Sacred to Santa

Author(s): Tara Moore

History | No Category | Reaktion Books | Christmas Books

Black Friday. The 'War on Christmas'. Miracle on 34th Street and Elf. From shopping malls to Fox News and Hollywood film, Christmas no longer solely celebrates the birth of Christ. Christmas: The Sacred to Santa considers the holiday in its global context, journeying from its historical origins to its modern incarnation as a global commercial event and stopping along the way to look at the controversies and traditions of the celebratory day. Delving into the long story of this unifying but also divisive holiday, Tara Moore describes the evolution of Christmas and the deep traditions that bind a culture to its version of it. She probes the debates that have long accompanied the season - from questions of the actual date of Christ's birth to frictions between the sacred and the secular - and discusses the characters associated with the holiday's celebration, including St Nicholas, the Magi, Scrooge and Krampus. She also explores how customs such as Christmas trees, feasting and gift-giving first emerged and became central facets of Christmas, while also examining how it has been portrayed in culture - from the literary works of Charles Dickens to the yearly bout of holiday films, television specials, traditional carols and pop tracks. Ultimately, Moore reveals, Christmas's longevity has depended on its ability to evolve. Packed with illustrations, Christmas is a fascinating look at the holiday we only think we know.


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'An informative and intriguing page-turner. If there is anything to be known about Christmas, you will find it here.' - Catholic San Francisco 'Christmas: The Sacred to Santa [is] vast in scale ... well referenced and providing plenty of fruitful channels for further investigation.' - The Tablet

Tara Moore teaches on the writing programme at Penn State York, Pennsylvania, and celebrates Christmas in central Pennsylvania.

General Fields

  • : 9781780235141
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : September 2015
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Tara Moore
  • : Paperback
  • : 224