Christmas Traditions

An illustration of a Christmas party: a man and a woman dance under mistletoe. From Mr Fezziwig’s Ball illustration by John Leech from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, London 1843

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Christmas, but not as you know it!

The festival of Christmas has always had the birth of Jesus at its heart. Yet, there are some surprises: for instance, the shepherds and three wise men do not appear together in the Bible story, Father Christmas and Santa Claus were once completely different characters and, indeed, the seemingly centuries old ‘traditional English Christmas’ was imaginatively ‘recreated’ by an American Victorian novelist now better known for Sleepy Hollow.

George Goodwin’s new book, Christmas Traditions is beautifully illustrated with images from the British Library’s own vast collection, and is designed to reflect the joyful nature of Christmas time – whether the history of each of its components is delightfully simple or intriguingly complex.

Join him as he shares his enthusiasm for a very special time of year and explores the gradual creation of our modern celebrations in this illustrated talk.

Ticket includes a mince pie and a small glass of mulled wine. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing (an ideal Christmas present!).

George Goodwin is the author of Benjamin Franklin in London: The British Life of America’s Founding Father; Fatal Colours – Towton 1461, War of the Roses; and Fatal Rivalry – Henry VIII, James IV and the battle for Renaissance Britain. He is an Eccles Centre Makin Fellow at the British Library and a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society and of the Royal Society of Arts.

Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library in collaboration with British Library Publishing.

Image: Mr Fezziwig’s Ball illustration by John Leech from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, London 1843


Name: Christmas Traditions
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £13.00
Student: £6.50
Registered Unemployed: £6.50
Disabled: £6.50
Under 18: £6.50
Senior (60+): £11.00
Young Person (18-25): £6.50
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546