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Let's Celebrate Christmas!

This new book explores the roots of America's Christmas traditions -- from Santa Claus to Christmas stockings and Christmas carols.

Book CoverLet's Celebrate Christmas, a new book from Millbrook Press, is a holiday primer brimming with the rich history of Christmas. With little fanfare and lots of facts, authors Peter and Connie Roop uncover the roots of Christmas traditions around the world.

The authors and illustrator Katy Keck Arnsteen set the tone for this multicultural celebration with the opening page of text. Here readers are introduced to twelve smiling faces -- each sharing a Christmas greeting in the language of a different country. Soon we'll be introduced to the many faces (and outfits and modes of transportation) of Santa Claus.

This little volume is packed full of answers in simple language to kids most frequently asked Christmas questions. For example:




"Santa Claus was a real person named Nicholas. Nicholas was a Christian bishop who lived in Asia Minor long ago. Nicholas especially enjoyed giving treats to poor children. He helped so many needy and poor people that the Catholic Church made him a saint. Feasts were given to honor Saint Nicholas's birthday on December 6. Parents told their children Saint Nicholas would give them presents if they were good.


In Holland, Dutch children put out their wooden shoes, hoping Saint Nick would fill them with candy and treats. They called him Sinter Klaas. Sinter Klaas did not come in a sleigh but in a ship! Then he rode a white horse as he went from home to home. Children put out carrots, water, and hay for Sinter Klaas's horse. Sinter Klaas became our Santa Claus when many Dutch people settled in America.

It's with such simplicity that Let's Celebrate Christmas, new this year from Millbrook Press, tackles questions such as

  • Why does Santa come down the chimney?
  • Why do we give gifts at Christmas?
  • Why do we hang stockings?
  • Why do we decorate trees?
  • Why do we sing Christmas carols?
  • What kinds of food do people eat on Christmas?

In addition, the authors provide information about other December celebrations such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Hands-on activities help children to experience some of the traditions of those celebrations.

And there's lots more fun! A special section headlined "It Is Just as Nice To Give as It Is to Receive" provides kids with make-it-yourself gift projects including a picture ornament, a no-mess message board, and a pinecone bird feeder. Activities for making decorations and wrappings are included. And the traditional "The Night Before Christmas" is told in its entirety.

And the book's end pages are chock-full of Christmas jokes and riddles!

Let's Celebrate Christmas offers cover-to-cover learning and fun!

If your local bookstore doesn't have a copy of Let's Celebrate Christmas, ask your bookseller to order one for you. The book (hardcover) is also available from Millbrook Press, 2 Old New Milford Road, Brookfield, CT 06804. Toll-free phone number: (800)-462-4703. Another title by the same authors, Let's Celebrate Halloween, is also available.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 1997 Education World