I have always been a big fan of trivia and filling my available neural pathways with the kind of information that rarely comes in useful--well, unless it’s informing people that the Tom Waits song about the man with the face on the back of his head is based on a real person. Or telling them that “Sit on a potato pan, Otis” is a palindrome every time we happen to be riding on an Otis brand elevator. Thanks, Book of Lists!
Well, I’m also the kind of person that browses the dictionary or encyclopedia for leisure reading. And last Christmas, I came across a book that simply tickled my fancy, a thick green volume titled The Encyclopedia of Christmas.
What’s A Yule Log, Anyway?
If you’ve ever wondered about the origin of Christmas traditions of any type, this is an excellent place to turn to for an answer. For instance, last year my friends and I shared a Czech-inspired Christmas meal of Wild Boar Goulash and Gingerbread Dumplings. Although I had this menu firmly decided upon for quite a while before the holiday, it was only in the Encyclopedia of Christmas that I learned that the Boar’s Head has been an important part of the Yule feast since pagan times in Scandinavia, and that it even has it’s own carol!
All Around the World
The Encyclopedia of Christmas (I realize now that I’m going to have to come up with a pet name for it) also has fascinating information about the traditions and customs of Christmas celebrations around the world. Don’t usually think of witches and Christmas as going together? This source will make you think again! How about the origin and role of the Christmas tree? It’s in there too.
Always Leave Them Wanting More
I could just go on and on about all of the fascinating information that you can discover in this book, but it is over 600 pages . . . so I’ll leave it to you lovers of information morsels to try this tasty treat out for yourselves.
If you do check it out, let me know what your favorite new fact is in the comments section of my blog post! I’ll leave you with mine--rosemary used to be a popular herb to include in English Christmas garlands, but it’s popularity has declined. Maybe it’s time for me to bring it back--I love rosemary!
With as much as she loves reading the dictionary and expanding her vocabulary, Michelle K.’s favorite kind of Scrabble game is the one where you make up words.