christmasworldChristmas Around the World by Emily Kelley, 1986.

This is a non-fiction book that describes Christmas customs from various countries around the world.  There is some history and folklore associated with different Christmas traditions in every country.  The main countries described are Mexico, Iran, China, Sweden, Iraq, Spain, and Norway, although there is a section in the back that briefly mentions a few other countries.

In some countries, children leave out their shoes instead of their stockings in the hopes of receiving small presents in them.  Sometimes, the gifts are from Santa, and sometimes, they’re from someone else, like the Wise Men.  In other countries, people do not give gifts on Christmas, except maybe new clothes for the children.

Some of the traditions described are older ones, based on folklore, like the one about hiding brooms and tools from witches and bad spirits in Norway.  In countries in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas is associated with summer instead of winter, changing the way people celebrate the holiday.  Each country has their own special foods associated with the holiday, too.


The book also describes traditions that are associated with other special days related to Christmas, such as St. Lucia Day in Sweden (December 13) and Twelfth Night, when the Wise Men came to visit Jesus (January 6).  These special days are kind of an extension of the Christmas season in different countries.



The pictures in the book are beautiful.  Some of them are in color and some are in black and white.


In the back of the book, there are jokes, a craft project, and a recipe for Christmas cookies.


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