The Battle for Christmas: A Cultural History of America’s Most Cherished Holiday


Drawing on a wealth of period documents and illustrations, Stephen Nissenbaum (co-author of Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft) charts the invention of our current yuletide traditions, from St. Nicholas to the Christmas tree and, perhaps most radically, the practice of giving gifts to children. Bursting with detail, The Battle for Christmas (a 1997 Pulitzer Prize finalist) captures the glorious strangeness of the past even as it helps us better understand our present. (paperback, 1996)

“Fascinating.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Captivating . . . entertaining and erudite . . . challenges and demolishes a variety of cherished assumptions.” –Newsday

“Christmas . . . too often fails to wholly satisfy the spirit or the senses. How and why the yuletide came to this is the subject of historian Stephen Nissenbaum’s fascinating new study.” –Newsweek


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Weight.75 lbs