Merry Christmas! Celebrating America's Greatest Holiday

ISBN-10: 0674006798

ISBN-13: 9780674006799

Edition: 2000

Authors: Karal Ann Marling

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Description:

It wouldn't be Christmas without the "things." How they came to mean so much, and to play such a prominent role in America's central holiday, is the tale told in this delightful and edifying book. In a style characteristically engaging and erudite, Karal Ann Marling, one of our most trenchant observers of American culture, describes the outsize spectacle that Christmas has become, showing us the provenance and significance of each of its essential parts: the decorated trees and holiday lights, the cards and gifts and wrapping papers, the toy villages and store displays and Macy's holiday parade, Bing Crosby and Santa Claus. Viewing Christmas through the media of mass culture--engravings and lithographs, magazine fiction, pictorial ads, news photos, cards, and movies--Marling tells us how the beloved Christmas tree grew out of a much-reprinted image of Queen Victoria and her family gathered around a decorated fir; how Santa Claus lost his provincial Dutch character and turned into the jolly old soul we know; how Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol borrowed from Washington Irving's imaginings of what Christmas must have been like in Merrie Olde England; and how the holiday, balancing between the private and public realms, conferred a central and defining role on women. A celebration of the visual culture of the season, Merry Christmas! offers captivating evidence that Christmas in America is primarily a secular celebration of abundance, goodwill, and familial identity, expressed in a multitude of material ways.
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Book details

List price: $18.00
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 12/20/2001
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 458
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.738
Language: English

Preface
Wrapping Paper Unwrapped: Holly Boxes, Tissue Paper, and Bows
The Christmas Business: Greenery, Lights, Ornaments, Toy Villages
Window Shopping: Department Store Displays, Santalands, and Macy's Big Parade
Olde Christmas: Dickens, Irving, and Christmas Charity
O Tannenbaum: Indoor and Outdoor Christmas Tree Spectacles
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town: Store Santas, Kettle Santas, Coca-Cola Santas
Somebody Else's Christmas: Hot Christmas, Black Christmas, Faraway Christmas
Thinking of You at Christmas: Cards or Gifts?
Dreaming of a White Christmas: How Bing Crosby and the Grinch Almost Stole Christmas
Postscript: A Meditation on Christmas Cookies
Notes
Acknowledgments
Index
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