Christmas brings out the best and the worst in us, as can be seen
in this evocative anthology. Among what Thomas Love Peacock
calls the ‘many poetical charms in the heraldings of Christmas’
there are eulogies by saints and diatribes from curmudgeons. Here,
Christmas is expounded by divines, sung by rustics, deplored by
philosophers and made mystical in stories.
This collection includes complete versions of old favourites
and new discoveries: a sermon by Lancelot Andrewes, an account
of Christmas under the Puritans, a first, poverty-stricken Christmas
in turn-of-the-century New York and a Mummers’ play.