To add to the already riveting conversational topics with which I bore my friends and family throughout the year, I am particularly fascinating at Christmas.
I know a great deal about the story behind the bringing in of the Yule log; the history of the Christmas tree; where the plum is in the pudding; the contents of the original mince pie; why the pantomime is so called; St Nicholas and his transformation into Santa Claus; and my particular favourite, the story of the poor isolated mistletoe plant. The Norse legend of Balder the Bright and Beautiful is a particularly affecting tale that has stayed with me ever since as a small child, I was introduced to the delights of The Christmas Book by Enid Blyton, the source of all my interesting facts.
Love her or hate her, Enid Blyton in didactic mode has a very accessible style, that certainly appealed to my 5 year old self, and still informs me today. The family she uses as a vehicle for the discussion of all the traditions of Christmas could easily be updated to accommodate 21st century life, with the stories themselves requiring less tweaking, to be accessible to all. But the copy in my possession now, published in 1944, with lovely illustrations and a gorgeous dust jacket, is still much beloved by 3 generations of our family. Allowing us to be aware that it is very much of the time in which it was written, it does provide a delightful parcel of stories to explain many of the traditions we take for granted at this time of the year.
Merry bookish best,
Anna and the Festival Team x