Books make great Christmas presents. They’re never the wrong size, the wrong colour, too big or too small, or out of fashion. If you receive one, you don’t have to embarrass everyone by feigning excitement and immediately going to try it on. An honest “thank you, I look forward to reading that” with a smile will suffice. If you’ve already read it, you can congratulate the present-giver on his or her thoughtfulness in choosing something you have enjoyed. Any embarrassment will dissipate far quicker than having to spend all day walking round in a very tight brightly coloured jumper that makes you look ill and feel stupid.
Our interviews will help to guide you to the right choice of present. We have a number of interviews that recommend Christmassy books. Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, professor of English at Oxford, chooses his best books on Charles Dickens and Christmas. Looking at the festival as a Christian feast, professor Bruce Forbes chooses his best books on the history and celebration of Christmas. And Brent Landau, who lectures in the department of religious studies at the University of Texas at Austin, chooses his best books on the Christmas story.
We are also very lucky to have two other very special Christmas interviewees. Igreth the Elf, one of the North Pole’s most senior elves, who heads up all the major packaging and distribution divisions at Christmas PLC, tells us about his best books on Elves. And Father Christmas himself, gives us his best books on Christmas. But there’s no need to stick to a Christmas theme. Whoever you’re buying for, we will have the book for them. Just browse around our 1,500 interviews (7,000 plus books recommended) on every subject under the sun and you will find the right present for the right person.
When it was published on December 19th, 1843, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol was an instant classic. As families settle in front of the fire to read it aloud on Christmas Eve, Oxford Professor of English Literature Robert Douglas-Fairhurst runs through the best of Dickens’s prolific writings about Christmas.
Elves are often misunderstood or misrepresented over the Christmas period – Christmas cracker jokes have never been kind to these tiny heroes of the festive season. Here Igreth the Elf, great-great-great-grandson of Ilbereth the Elf, sets the record straight and introduces five children’s books that celebrate the extraordinary contribution these diminutive creatures make to Christmas itself.
Did you know that Santa Claus was a 4th century bishop in what is now Turkey? That Puritans tried to outlaw Christmas? Or Tiny Tim was originally Little Fred? Religious scholar Bruce Forbes sheds light on Christmas’s pagan past and consumerist present.
The story of the birth of Jesus is the part of the Gospels that is least based on history, explains religious studies scholar Brent Landau. Jesus was probably not born in Bethlehem and he may have been visited by as many as 12 wise men. He picks books to help understand the real Christmas story.