[ASK! Editor speaks]
The Christmas season is upon us all and it’s certainly a time for merry-making and spending the holidays with family, friends and loved ones. Exchanging gifts, singing carols and kissing under the misletoe – these are all things commonly associated with Christmas. But, have you ever wondered how the date, December 25, was chosen for Christmas?
“The precise origin of assigning December 25 as the birth date of Jesus is unclear. The New Testament provides no clues in this regard. December 25 was first identified as the date of Jesus’ birth by Sextus Julius Africanus in 221 and later became the universally accepted date. One widespread explanation of the origin of this date is that December 25 was the Christianizing of the dies solis invicti nati (“day of the birth of the unconquered sun”), a popular holiday in the Roman Empire that celebrated the winter solstice as a symbol of the resurgence of the sun, the casting away of winter and the heralding of the rebirth of spring and summer. Indeed, after December 25 had become widely accepted as the date of Jesus’ birth, Christian writers frequently made the connection between the rebirth of the sun and the birth of the Son.”
Source: Christmas. (2007). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 8, 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition: http://library.eb.com/eb/article-9082431
In the spirit of giving, here are some books that you may like to pick up on Christmas.
Information on Christmas:
It’s Christmas by Tina Burke
Publisher : La Jolla, Calif. : Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2007, 2006
Summary: Reading “It’s Christmas” is a great way to get young children motivated to take part in making the magic that is Christmas. Each page pictures an activity you and your child can do together, from baking cookies to decorating the Christmas tree. For such a simple toddler’s picture book, the ideas and excitement that come from it are endless.
Call No. : J P 394.2663 BUR
Christmas : season of peace and joy by Dori Hillestad Butler
Publisher: Mankato, Minn. : Capstone Press, 2007
Summary: Describes the history and meaning of Christmas and how it is celebrated today.
Call No.: J P 394.2663 BUT
Christmas by Trudi Strain Trueit
Publisher : New York : Children’s Press, 2007
Summary: Color photographs and simple text introduces readers to the traditions and festivities of Christmas.
Call No. : J P 394.2663 TRU
The night before Christmas by Clement C. Moore ; illustrated by Ted Rand
Publisher: New York ; London : North-South Books, 2004
Summary: The cherished classic is brilliantly illustrated in full-color, capturing all the magical enchantment and joyful good cheer of Saint Nick’s annual visit. A timeless Christmas tradition for children of all ages.
Call No.: J P 811 MOO
Horrible Christmas by Terry Deary ; illustrated by Martin Brown
Publisher : London : Scholastic, 2000
Call No. : J 394.2663 DEA
Stories about Christmas:
I’ve seen Santa! by David Bedford ; illustrated by Tim Warnes
Publisher: London : Little Tiger Press, 2007
Summary: It’s Christmas Eve and Little Bear can’t wait to see Santa! “Santa will come just as soon as you go to sleep,” Mommy Bear says. But Little Bear doesn’t want to go to sleep. He wants to see Santa! Suddenly. . . glug, glug, glug, glug! What’s that noise? Someone is downstairs! Will Little Bear really get to see Santa? Expertly capturing all of a child’s anticipation and excitement on Christmas Eve night, David Bedford’s cozy family tale is a joyful read-aloud for the holiday season.
Call No.: J P BED
Santa knows by Cynthia & Greg Leitich Smith ; illustrated by Steve Björkman
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Dutton Children’s Books, 2006
Summary: Armed with the facts, young Alfie sets out to prove to the world that Santa Claus does not exist but no one pays attention, especially his sister Noelle, whose only request of the man in red is a nicer big brother.
Call No.: J P SMI
Peiling and the chicken-fried Christmas by Pauline Chen
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury Children’s Books : Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2007
Summary: Fifth-grader Peiling Wang wants to celebrate “a real American Christmas,” much to the displeasure of her traditional, Taiwanese-born father.
Call No.: J CHE
When Santa fell to Earth by Cornelia Funke
Publisher: New York : Chicken House/Scholastic, 2006
Summary: When he and his caravan come crashing down to earth during a thunderstorm two weeks before Christmas, Santa is befriended by two children, Charlotte and Ben, who try to help him save the holiday from the tricks and moneymaking schemes of Gerold Geronimus Goblynch and to take off in time for his annual rounds.
Call No.: J FUN
You may also visit these online website for more information about the history of Christmas:
1) http://www.history.com/minisites/christmas/ – “Each year, during the month of December, millions of homes across America are decorated with Christmas trees and fairy lights. But how much do you really know about this festive holiday? Explore our site to find out the true history!”
Source: The History of Christmas. Retrieved December 8, 2007, from History.Com Web site: http://www.history.com/minisites/christmas/
traditions.html – “When was the first Christmas card sent? Why do we kiss under the mistletoe? Learn the origins of Christmas and fun facts about some of our favorite christmas traditions and symbols.”
Source: Christmas Traditions. Retrieved December 8, 2007, from All Things Christmas Web site: http://www.allthingschristmas.com/traditions.html
All websites were last accessed on 8 Dec 2007. Please check the websites’ homepages for the terms and conditions of use.
All book summaries are taken from book descriptions, www.amazon.com and www.bn.com.
All images are extracted from www.amazon.com and www.bn.com.
For the availability of the above book titles, please check the library catalogue.
Posted by Ms Elizabeth Lee, Librarian, Children’s Services
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