Title: The Old Magic of Christmas: Yuletide Traditions for the Darkest Days of the Year
Author: Linda Raedisch
Pub. Date: October 8th 2013
Source: Netgalley and Llewellyn Publications
Four and a half stars, rounded up.
The Old Magic of Christmas: Yuletide Traditions for the Darkest Days of the Year is a book chock full of stories of different Christmas traditions across the world. From witches to elves to what Saint Nicholas would really do to naughty kids, this is a book that anyone would learn something from near the Christmas season.
I'm going to start this review off by saying that I know next to nothing about worldwide yule traditions. Other than the UK and America, my knowledge was limited. I say "was" because it's definitely not the case anymore. Linda Raedisch filled this book to the brim with knowledge and stories. I especially loved the attention to Norse tradition, since my individual studies have been more turned to that route lately in general.
Each story is told in a way that stirs up images of sitting around the fireplace and listening to a ghostly story while the snow swirls around outside in the twilight. It's true that most of these stories are dark and even creepy, but I think that's what makes it so intriguing and interesting. It's a nice break from anthropomorphic snow men and singing reindeer. These myths and legends are things people believed in, and while creepy, is kind of awesome.
In addition to such stories, the author also includes tasty recipes to share with you and yours, as well as some crafts for the holiday season. The directions are clear and easy to follow, and often have visual representations to help you along the way.
I know not to judge a book by its cover, but just look at it. I adore this image. It conjures up all the feelings of the season, and I love it.
This is a book that I would definitely keep bundled away with my Christmas collection and reread each season. To those interested in history, myth, or who even just want their Christmas with a side of witches and elves, this book is the one for you.
Thank you to Netgalley and Llewellyn Publications for my copy.