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.