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Published: 05 December 1996

240 Pages | 12 halftones

5-5/16 x 8 inches

ISBN: 9780195109801

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Bookseller Code (06)

Christmas in America

A History

Penne L. Restad

The manger or Macy's? Americans might well wonder which is the real shrine of Christmas as they take part each year in a melange of churchgoing, shopping, and family gatherings, often wondering whether our culture has commercialized the season beyond repair. But, as Penne Restad demonstrates, Christmas has always been an ambiguous combination of solemnity and frenzy.
Christmas in America presents us with a fascinating reflection of our changing society by displaying how we have celebrated this holiday from colonial times to the present. While the early Puritans in New England primly denounced any festivities, city dwellers flooded the streets in raucous demonstrations, and Virginians hunted, danced, and feasted. Unwrapping the hidden messages in such time-honored traditions as the Christmas tree, gift-giving, and family dinners, Restad brilliantly reveals how Christmas has evolved into an unescapable presence in contemporary culture.
Brimming with insight and colorful detail, Christmas in America shows what our celebrations tell us about our culture and ourselves. From Clement Clarke Moore's poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to the box-office smash Home Alone, Restad's marvelous book offers much to delight and consider.

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