Top critical review
A bit like reading a school project!
on 27 November 2009
This traditional looking hardback with its muted, restrained cover is basically a textbook of all things Christmas. It includes information on the historical and social origins of Christmas, Boxing Day and their associated traditions, recipes for popular Christmas dishes, ideas for planning ahead and looking after your finances, suggestions for entertaining people and hosting parties, words to a few popular carols and some Christmas trivia.
I LOVE Christmas, so expected to enjoy this book a lot, but I wasn't impressed. The book is written in quite a dry manner so it really does come off like a textbook, rather than a light or fun read, and even when the authors are trying to make jokes, they are generally pretty lame.
The main problem, though, is that this book tries to be a jack of all trades but is unfortunately a master of none. For example, the recipes are basic, uninteresting and not accompanied by pictures, and anyone who is serious about cooking at Christmas will almost certainly have a Christmas cookbook that is much more helpful. The `making things' section which has instructions on how to make decoration, wreaths, etc is also pretty useless because even with instructions, such things are very difficult without photos or even hand drawn pictures. In fact, the lack of illustrations throughout is a great shame.
Sections like the `Thrifty Christmas' are also a bit rubbish, because they contain only common sense information that we all already know and which will be repeated in every cheap or supermarket magazine released over the season.
Really the only reason to get this book is if you are interested in the historical facts about Christmas, and how Christmas is celebrated in other countries, and you want some school-project style information. Otherwise, there are lots of far nicer, more fun and more charming books around.