BlogMas Day Nineteen – Book Review – Hark! The Biography Of Christmas

This is another of the Christmas themed books I have recently read and really enjoyed. It is written by Paul Karensa and the foreword by Chris Evans is a great introduction.


The Blurb

In this delightful sleigh ride through Christmas history, Paul Kerensa answers the festive questions you never thought to ask… Did Cromwell help shape the mince pie? Was St Nicholas the first to use an automatic door? Which classic Christmas crooners were inspired by a Hollywood heatwave? And did King Herod really have a wife called Doris?

I really enjoyed this one.  I am quite the fan of non-fiction books on topics I like and this one is great as it includes plenty of random and often funny facts about Christmas, as well as plenty of history which I love.  I like the way the author writes and his humour is good, often making me laugh (although occasionally like you would at a funny/unfunny Dad joke!).

The book is split into twelve chapters (of course) which all cover different periods in history and how we came to celebrate Christmas as we do today.  Did you know there was no donkey with Mary and Joseph on that walk to Bethlehem?  And that the average Brit will guzzle 27 mince pies during this festive period?  There are some really good, historical and little known facts out there about how Christmas has changed over the years which I really enjoyed reading about.  He has also included a Christmas timeline and a quiz at the end which would be perfect for Christmas Day festivities.

Some of my favourite facts included what the Japanese eat for Christmas dinner and why Charles Dickens was not a fan of Prince Albert (you will have to read the book to find the answers).  The last section was really lovely and includes the following:

“As to where next for Christmas – well, Christmas doesn’t know.  It doesn’t look forward, it looks back, just once a year.  We still sum up our year in December, even if it’s watching highlights of the year’s news rather than counting our denarii or comparing our crops.  And we’ll keep harking back to a 2,000-year old manger, via 1,000-year old plays, 700-year old carols, and a 500-year old turkey – or possibly a twenty year old Japanese KFC Bargain Bucket.”

I agree with the feedback of Miranda Hart on the book, that this would make a great stocking filler, for fans of history and Paul Karenza alike.  It is also great for Christmas fans like me!  If you have read the book, or read it following seeing this review, please let me know your thought in the comments below!

Where To Buy

Amazon –

Waterstones –


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