There’s so much to the Christmas holiday that this book could easily have been ten books. But really, when you distill the true meaning of the day— whether you celebrate on December 6, December 25, January 6, or a little bit on each of those days—it all comes down to a single word: wonder.
It was wonder that led the Magi to follow the Star to Bethlehem. It was wonder that filled the stable in Bethlehem the night that Jesus was born. It’s wonder that you feel in church and carol services over Christmas, imagining the more than 2,000 years of tradition and history that have made Christmas what it is today. And it’s wonder that fills the eyes of a five year old who starts down the stairs on Christmas morning to see the tree aglow and then shares the long tradition of exchanging gifts.
Christmas begins in the mists of long-distant history and extends along the future of the human family. It’s informed by countless Christmases past and the knowledge that, as long as there are children and a sense of tradition, there are likely to be Christmases in the future. But the true event, the true day of days, is neither an account of old customs nor a prediction of the ways in which this holiday will continue to change and to grow. The true experience of Christmas is wonder.
And so, as you read about where and how Christmas began and how it has evolved through the years, across Europe to North America and around the world to the way that you celebrate it today, there’s room not just for rituals, traditions, and customs, but also for Christmas your way. Using the past as a stepping stone, The Everything®Family Christmas Book looks at ways you can create a Christmas that fills you and your family with wonder, from favorite storytellers and songs to much-loved baking recipes. There are even some gift suggestions thrown in, along with ideas that can help reduce the stress that many people feel at this very busy time of year.
After all, the wonder of Christmas is tied inextricably to memory. For many, Christmases past are the standards by which they measure Christmases present and future. Like the Charles Dickens creation, Ebenezer Scrooge, in “A Christmas Carol,” you can use your memories as a springboard to make each holiday better and more meaningful than the last.
Luckily, Christmas isn’t about perfection. It’s not about having the best-decorated house on the block, and it doesn’t matter that the turkey took two extra hours to cook and the peas were left behind in the microwave (although hopefully not all on the same day). What matters is the creation of new memories, centered on a sense of family and being loved, whether you come with a ready-made family or one that you create yourself. Memory is, ultimately, the basis of tradition—and what is Christmas if not one of the fundamental traditions of our time? Warm and wonderful memories are certainly what this book wishes for you, just as it hopes to provide inspiration for the Christmases that are in your future.
Once a year, on December 25, Christmas reintroduces you to wonder on a scale that you should never forget. This book is intended as a celebration of that wonder. May you read it as part of the most precious gift that the holiday brings: the ability to see things, for a time, through the eyes you once had on Christmas morning.