My first Christmas book was The World Encyclopedia of Christmas, published by McClelland and Stewart in 2000. It is gorgeously illustrated and contains over 1,000 articles on all things connected with Christmas. It is still the best thing out there. If you want all the colour pictures you’ll have to get a used copy on eBay or Amazon but the Kindle version has all the text and is quite cheap. It got rave reviews. Publishers Weekly said “Meticulously researched, well-written, and often downright funny, this encyclopedia does justice to its fascinating subject.” “Wholly delightful and generally informative,” said the Calgary Herald.
Robert W. Grant, Jr. of Wilmore, Kentucky was less impressed and remarked “This book is terrible. The author is a so called Christmas expert but his work reflects someone who is uninformed and lazy. More than a few entries in this encyclopedia are simply erroneous. I praise the Lord that I did not purchase it and can return it to the library. I wouldn’t buy this book for anyone even as a gag Christmas gift.”
Next up was Santa Claus: A Biography, again published by McClelland and Stewart. This is available in paperback and ebook formats. Reviewers loved this one too. “The definitive chronology of hope and imagination”, said Publishers Weekly. “Filled with humor and warmth, this ‘biography’ should be kept among the other tales of Christmas to be read the moment holiday cynicism begins to gather.”
In October 2016, Oxford University Press published Christmas in the Cross-Hairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World’s Most Celebrated Holiday. Readers called it “eye-opening, lively, meticulously researched history”; “at every turn Bowler’s vivid account delivers needed depth and nuance to the current frays over the festival” and “C’est un livre excellent. Très bonne lecture pour la période de Noel et je n’hésiterai pas à l’offrir en cadeau!” Robert W. Grant, Jr. of Wilmore, Kentucky has yet to offer an opinion.
And now behold a collection of classic Christmas tales from around the world. From the gospel accounts of the Nativity to A Child’s Christmas in Wales, with stops for wisdom, humour, compassion, and love during the world’s favourite season. It is available on Kindle and in a handsome paperback version by The Theodosian Press.
8 thoughts on “Christmas Books”
Dear Mr. Bowler,
I bought the world encyclopedia of Christmas about three years ago (easton press – very nice) and LOVE it. I store it so carefully after Christmas and cannot wait to get it out again.
I am going to try another of your books, Christmas in the cross-hairs. I just love hearing GOOD stuff about Christmas. I am tired of people saying how bad Christmas is. Really? Christmas is bad?
Anyway, thank you!
Dear Dr Bowler
I am writing a book for British Library Publishing (to be published later this year) entitled “Christmas Traditions”. It is intended as a support act for some wondrous illustrations (not yet chosen, but the picture researcher is both sympathetic and highly-rated so it should work…). I was commissioned to write c. 15,000 words, have exceeded that by over 10% but could have done a lot more. In contrast to Mr Grant (your using that quote is brilliantly funny btw) I have found your first two books exceptionally useful as well as extremely enjoyable and (“yes”) “It is still the best thing out there.” Those first two will definitely be in my ‘Further reading list’ and the other two if my publisher will let me. As I rather suspect that you will never get tired of Christmas, I wonder whether you would mind having a quick look at my draft text? I have greatly relied on you at one or two points — but I trust not too much. I enclose my website details so that you can see that I am a well-published author and, unlike Mr Grant, a sensible chap. Of course I will most certainly understand if your answer is a polite – or even impolite — “no”. With all best wishes, George Goodwin
Thanks once again, Dr Bowler, for your wide reading, wit, and wisdom so abundantly shared in these volumes: a veritable Saturnalia of Yuletide lore!
Thank you, John. And, of course, you must take credit for being the spur to the transformation of Unemployed Bowler to Stupendous Christmas Man.
Dr. Bowler’s “The Folly and the Ivy: A Critical Consideration of Christmas” lectures, available at regentaudio.com, is a great digital stocking stuffer. Better than Bing Crosby for Advent listening!
Dear Gerry Bowler, Could you please send some Information on your Christmas Books that you have written and published. Because I have been looking around in some book stores with no luck at all. And I am a Christmas Crazy History fan. And I would like to be put on your Email Newsletter if I can if you have a Email Newsletter if not we’ll I’m good. And Good Day To You And Your Family as well. And My Have A Safe And Warm Holiday and Christmas Season As well. Good Day Mr. Charles F & Mrs Pamala M Forsyth 12450 SW Fischer Rd., Suite 257* Tigard OR 97224-2381 USA. PS: If you have a beat up old copy of “The World Encyclopedia Of Christmas” hanging around wei If You want to get rid of it we’ll send it to me and if you well I’ll be grateful to you for life. And again Good Day. (11/08/2021) Time Email Sent (9:03pm PST) Oregon Time
Thank You For The Book “The World Encyclopedia Of Christmas” And Thank You Gerry Bowler For The Book And If Who Ever Sent Me The Book A Big “Thank You To Al. Sincerely Yours Charles & Pamala Forsyth. And Have A Safe And Warm Holiday And Christmas Season Coming Up. GOOD DAY
You’re very welcome. Merry Christmas.