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.
Ans 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.