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on 24 November 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What a brilliant little book. It's much more interesing that I expected; in fact, I'm not sure what I expected of a book on Christmas. I ordered it because I write for a company that makes special products for Christmas, and I've been doing a bit of research into the mythology, folklore and history. It's been far more difficult than I'd imagined. This delightful guide extends much further back than whole official Christmas thing - you know, the birth of Jesus and all that - with Norse Yule, Roman Saturnalia and the church's decision on which date to choose for Christ's official birthday. (It's a bit like the Queen's.) If you were brought up believing that Jesus was really born on 25th December, then wondered how Christmas trees, Santa Claus, stockings, reindeer and turkeys fitted into the mix, here you have all the answers. Great for atheists, agnostics, Christmas loves and Scrooges alike.
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on 14 November 2009
This little book is pocket sized, but the cover is stylishly simple and wouldn't look out of place on the coffee table.
Inside,there are hints and tips on creating a perfect traditional Christmas without spending a fortune.
I particularly enjoyed the sections on making your own gifts and decorations, the party games and the Christmas lunch recipes (I certainly will be trying the nut roast this year!)
The book also contains the words to eleven traditional carols and is the ideal size for taking on any carol singing sessions!
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VINE VOICEon 30 November 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you are like me and love Xmas, this book is a great little companion that is jam-packed with every aspect that makes up the festive season including recipes, history, carols, toys, songs, films etc etc. Really nice concise sections that highlight the key facts without waffle. I have high hopes for some of the other pocket bibles after reading the Xmas edition.
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on 29 November 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Guy and Steve Hobbs, two brothers, have served up a cracking little festive read in "The Christmas Pocket Bible". This nicely finished small hardback, is one of a series of "Pocket Bibles", others that include gardening, pregnancy, and cookery. Presumably aimed as a stocking filler, I would also recommend it as a worthwhile purchase for one's self, as a useful reference guide. It sets the right tone, being fun and avoiding any cynicism about Christmas which would have been an easy route to follow; but it avoids being bland or sweet and sickly. The Hobb's have done a cracking job of mixing individual facts, some interesting and some bizzare, with a warm, enthusiastic style for their subject; they also make some interesting social and historical comments on how Christmas has been celebrated down the ages. You can either "dip in" by just opening a page and picking up on a few facts, or read it front to back.

The book divides into the following chapters.......
1. Christmas Traditions;
2. Food and Drink;
3. Christmas Carols;
4. Make Your Own....;
5. Socialising and Entertaining;
6. Christmas Trivia;
7. Christian Christmas;
8. Christmas In Context;
9. Tips for A Better Christmas;
10. Boxing Day;
11. New Year Celebrations

....which hopefully gives an idea of it's range.

So to give a flavour, it gives a history of how celebrating Christmas came to be effectively banned under Cromwell, and how even after the Monarchy was re-established it was largely due to the efforts of one man, a William Winstanley, that it was restored to its former glory; it tells how kissing under the mistletoe came into being; why ivy is "yang" to holly's "ying"; on more traditional lines it gives recipes for mince pies and last minute Christmas cakes; and as well as the words of famous Carols and songs, it gives a little history behind them. Did you know for instance that "We Wish You A Merrie Christmas" was sung by groups of drunken sometimes threatening carollers in the 16th century ("we won't go until we've got some..." takes on a new meaning in this context!). It provides the words of, as they say, "the most famous song to which no-one knows all the words..." - Auld Lang Syne - though I can't imagine many of us get through more than one of the five verses (plus chorus) on the big night! It lists all the White Christmases we have had in the UK since 1900 and where snow was recorded (your best bet is to go to Lerwick it seems); the top toys of Christmas in more recent times (remember queuing for Teletubbies in 1997 - I do! - or the shortage of "Tracey Island" in the early `90's?) Bringing things up to date, it suggests how to have a "green" Christmas and reminds us that it can be a season of excessive consumption, with UK households generating an extra 3 million tons of rubbish over the period. But thankfully, the Hobb's avoid being preachy or too opinionated on this or any other aspect of Christmas.

It runs to 165 pages of text and although there are no illustrations I can't claim I missed them. All in all, a great little book that got me in the Christmas spirit. Highly recommended!
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 29 November 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What you get: A neat, traditional-looking hardback with an attractive ivory colour dust jacket. Contents are a range of Christmas-related info such as the origin of Christmas traditions, Christmas recipes, suggestions for Christmas games, Christmas trivia, the words to well-known carols etc.

What I liked: The book has a quality feel and a traditional look. The prose is erudite, yet accessible. There is an interesting and diverse collection of things to browse over Christmas. The facts were accurate and well researched -- as far as I could tell -- rather than copied from the Internet). For example, I was interested to learn that would Good 'King' Wenceslas was assassinated by his brother at just 22 years old. The recipe title 'Luxury Pigs in Blankets' conjured up all sorts of delightful images for me. To my mind, it is a good idea to have a book such as this on the coffee table over the festive season, for little Timmy or Uncle Jim to browse through during lulls in the festivities.

If buying for Christmas: some of the information such as recipes and Christmas preparations, is only really relevant to the run up to Christmas. It would make a nice present for somebody with by a December birthday that likes the festive season. Of course, someone who receives it for Christmas might like to refer to it in subsequent years. It's a nice book to keep.
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VINE VOICEon 14 December 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book has everything that you thought you ever needed to know to cover any sort of Christmas, past and present, all wrapped up in a very easy reading compact book!

The well thought out and organised sections are informative, to the point and succinct, with little "pocket facts" thrown into the mix for a little bit of extra information!

As the sections are so well organised, you don't have to read the whole book if you only want to find out about the bit that you're after. However, this book is addictive (in a good way) and you will end up reading it from cover to cover. I know want to read more in this series!

On a very tiny negative note, there are a few occasions when information was repeated, but hey isn't repetition how we remember and learn things!!!

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone as both a really good little read and a very useful tool for surviving Christmas!
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VINE VOICEon 8 December 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Some may argue that in trying to cover so many aspects of Christmas, it fails in all of them. I however found it to be a perfect book to get me into the Christmas spirit. It is packed full of facts and traditions from all over the world and from many different periods in time. The balance between Christianity (the true meaning of Christmas) and Father Christmas, tinsel and turkey is spot on. The Christmas Pocket Bible includes a variety of information which I had never heard of before and will definately be dipped into in years to come. Of course if you wanted to find out the names of all of Santa's reindeer or find a recipe for cranberry sauce, you could search the internet. But there are plenty of great starting points for expanding your Chrismas knowledge, from making your own Holly wreath to the lyrics to many carols to the best selling Christmas toys, there is something here for everyone!
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on 17 December 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Christmas Pocket Bible is the perfect little book for lovers of the festive season. It's packed full of interesting information and there are innumerable snippets of trivia which you can use to bore everyone around the dinner table! The most interesting sections are the ones that explain the history or myths that surround Christmas like the origins of Father Christmas, the 1st Christmas cards, the origins of the Yule log, wassailing and carols and why we hang out stockings. There are also lyrics to some popular Christmas carols (so handy to take with you if you happen to be going caroling)and recipes for Christmas pudding and mince pies (amongst other things). There are jokes and trivia, family games, tips for gifts and preparation ideas for the day.
For such a little book (only 165 pages) it's crammed full of festive fun!
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on 28 November 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What a great idea this little book is, as it's great collection of festive information that I found very interesting.

Firstly the book is heavy typeset with no images, so it has an old fashioned feel about it, and indeed the first third of the book is devoted to christmas traditions and did you know's which are fascinating. The facts about how traditions we take for granted came to being is particulary interesting and the research is thorough. All the information is presented in bite size chunks and snippets, so easy to digest.

This little book also covers food and drink traditions where they orginated from, orginal recipe ideas and lots of information too on traditional decoration and many other unknown facts about everything we love about christmas.

A great little reference book and puts you in a christmassy mood!
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VINE VOICEon 22 December 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
With the Christmas Pocket Bible you get a journey through the history of many peoples favourite holiday. From who sent the first Christmas cards to recipes for festive food it is an interesting and fact packed little gem.

If you want to know who had the Christmas number one to where the tradition of burning candles comes from its all in here. From which celebs where born on Christmas day to making your own jam and beer!!

This is fun little book with lots of interesting information on all things Xmas and would make a nice stocking filler for the Christmas lover in your life.
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