December is a Time to Celebrate!

The month of December is filled with many different holiday celebrations — Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa are just some of the special observances this month. Learn more about all these holidays through the many resources at the Canton Public Library. This Special Collection can help get you started!


The American book of days by Christianson, Stephen G — A day-by-day record of American history from January 1 through December 31. For each of the 366 days of the year (including February 29), several substantial essays explore significant events of military, scientific, ethnic, or cultural significance.

The book of the year : a brief history of our seasonal holidays by Anthony F. Aveni — Discusses the origins and modern development of our holidays and provides an entertainng glimpse into their evolution.

Encylopedia of Christmas and New Year's celebrations : over 240 alphabetically arranged entries covering Christmas, New Year's, and related days of observance, including folk and religious customs, history, legends, and symbols from around the world; supplemented by a bibliography and lists of Christmas Web sites and associations ... by Tanya Gulevich ; illustrated by Mary Ann Stavros-Lanning — Infromation on Christmas traditions and related celebrations spanning centuries and
The folklore of world holidays by Margaret Read MacDonald, editor — Presents stories of some 340 holidays from over 150 countries told, wherever possible, in quotations from books, journals, biographies, and other firsthand accounts by people who actually celebrate the holidays in their own homes. Additional information was contributed by folklorists and anthropologists.

Holiday symbols : a guide to the legend and lore behind the people, places, food, animals, and other symbols associated with holidays and holy days, feasts and fasts, and other celebrations, covering popular, ethnic, religious, national, and ancient events, as observed in the United States and around the world by Sue Ellen Thompson, editor — The title says it all!

Illustrated dictionary of religions : rituals, beliefs, and practices from around the world by written by Philip Wilkinson ; consultants, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Roehampton Institute, London — Uses over 700 full-color illustrations and clear text to explain, identify, and compare the major religions of the world, from Zoroastrianism and ancient Egyptian rituals to Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

Holiday Cooking and Celebrations

Al Roker's hassle-free holiday cookbook : more than 125 recipes for family celebrations all year long by Al Roker ; recipes written with Marialisa Calta ; photographs by Mark Thomas — Traditional American favorites for every occasion, from no-cook appetizers and simple side dishes to manageable main courses, and of course, plenty of grilling and outdoor food.

Betty Crocker celebrate! : a year-round guide to holiday food and fun by Crocker, Betty — Presents a collection of special recipes and festive ideas for holidays throughout the year including Hanukkah, Christmas amd Kwanzaa.

Celebrations cookbook — A collection of more than 400 classic family recipes to help celebrate every occasion throughout the year.



The battle for Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum — This work of American cultural history is full of unexpected revelations about the evolution of Christmas. In probing the historical contexts of Christmas on such diverse issues as consumerism, popular culture, class relations, the American family, and the African-American experience are discussed.

Celebrating Christmas around the world by edited by Herbert H. Wernecke — Presents different Christmas traditions and celebrations from around the world.

God rest ye grumpy scroogeymen : new traditions for comfort & joy at Christmas by Laura Jensen Walker & Michael K. Walker — A collection of whimsical anecdotes and holiday advice. Also includes suggestions on how to host a white elephant gift exchange and tactfully dispose of fruitcake.

Inventing Christmas : how our holiday came to be by Jock Elliott — Looks at the 19th-century origins of modern-day Christmas traditions, which evolved over a 25-year period, beginning in 1823 with the publication of Clement Clarke Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas," to 1848, in a volume that features an array of vintage illustrations.

The world encyclopedia of Christmas by Gerry Bowler — A comprehensive look at Christmas and all of its customs with its long history around the world. Contains articles on the history of Christmas baking, drinking, and merrymaking, and Christmas dramas, music, literature, art and films.

Nonfiction DVDs

The history of Christmas [videodisc] H-TV Productions; executive producer for BIO, Mary Chermayeff — Examines the history of Christmas, from pagan ritual to current traditions; looks at the legend of Father Christmas as it has changed through the years; unusual holiday celebrations across the United States are discussed; looks at technology for various aspects of Christmas

Santa Claus [videodisc] by A&E Television Network — The legend of Santa Claus was born in the second century, when a man achieved sainthood by performing good deeds on behalf of children. Discover the fact, fiction and fun of Santa Claus through archival footage, historic artwork, personal interviews, and TV and film clips.

Feature Films

The Bishop's wife [videodisc] by Samuel Goldwyn Productions, Inc — Romantic comedy where Cary Grant stars as an angel who appears in answer to a frustrated bishop's prayers. When Grant comes into the bishop's home, his neglected wife becomes infatuated with the angel.

A Christmas Carol (1951): Based on Charles Dicken's classic story of how a miserly old man is brought to change on Christmas Eve. CPL owns several versions including the classic with Alastair Sim (DVD), the 1984 version with George C. Scott (DVD), the 1999 version with Patrick Stewart (DVD), and the loosly-adapted remake starring Bill Murray, Scrooged (DVD).

Christmas in Connecticut [videodisc] by Turner Pictures ; Once Upon a Time Films — Columnist Elizabeth Lane's (Barbara Stanwyck) publisher, Sydney Greenstreet, invites himself and a handsome war hero to Stanwyck's fictitious Connecticut home for Christmas. Stanwyck quickly rounds up a cottage, husband, baby and cook before the guests arrive, but real trouble begins when 'married' Stanwyck begins to fall in love with engaged navy man, Jones.

A Christmas story [videodisc] by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents a Bob Clark film ; screenplay by Jean Shepherd & Leigh Brown & Bob Clark ; produced by Rene Dupont and Bob Clark ; directed by Bob Clark — A whimsical and slightly twisted tribute to the traditional, all-American Christmas. Set in Indiana during the 1940s, the film follows the adventures of Ralphie as he pursues that elusive rifle.

The homecoming [videodisc] : a Christmas story by Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. — The Waltons spend an anxious 1933 Christmas Eve together as they await the arrival of their father during a snowstorm in this made-for-TV drama.

How the Grinch stole Christmas [videodisc] by Universal Pictures ; Imagine Entertainment — The curmudgeonly recluse Grinch (Jim Carrey), who hates Christmas, becomes annoyed with the out-of-control Christmas festivities in Whoville. But after the Grinch conspires to deprive the Who's of their favorite holiday he learns that the spirit of Christmas goes much deeper than tinsel and toys. Also available in our Children's Library is the original animated edition.

It's a wonderful life [videodisc] by Republic Pictures ; produced and directed by Frank Capra — When an unforeseen financial disaster leaves good guy George Bailey (James Stewart) considering suicide, an angel is sent to show him how the lives of those he cares about would be different had he never lived.

Miracle on 34th Street [videodisc] by Twentieth Century Fox — The classic fable of love, faith and imagination unfolds as a young lawyer must clear the name of Santa Claus and a young child (Natalie Wood) becomes

The Santa Clause [videodisc] by Walt Disney Pictures presents in association with Hollywood Pictures, an Outlaw production — Tim Allen has to fill in for Santa Claus after the man in red has an accident.

White Christmas [videodisc] by a Paramount Picture ; written for the screen by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama, Melvin Frank ; lyrics and music by Irving Berlin ; produced by Robert Emmett Dolan ; directed by Michael Curtiz — Two song-and-dance men team up in show business after the war. Joining forces with a sister act, they trek to Vermont for a white Christmas. The real adventure starts when Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye discover that the inn is run by their old army general who's now in financial trouble.


Canton Public Library has a multitude of Christmas music by various artists. A search of our Online Catalog for Christmas Music produces nearly 500 entries. You're sure to find many recordings to your liking.


All Things Christmas: Christmas stories, poems, recipes, traditions and much more.

Christmas on the Net: Stories of Christmas, holiday recipes, cards, music and fun for all ages.



The everything Judaism book : a complete primer to the Jewish faith--from holidays and rituals to traditions and culture by Richard D. Bank — An easy-to-understand guide to the Jewish religion offering a definitive overview of the practices, beliefs, and culture of Judaism. In addition, provides information on the Jewish holidays and festivals, the differences among the various branches of Judaism, the significance of the kosher laws, and more.

Joan Nathan's Jewish holiday cookbook : revised and updated on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the publication of the Jewish holiday kitchen by Joan Nathan — The author brings together the best of her classic The Jewish Holiday Kitchen and The Jewish Holiday Baker with innovative new recipes reflecting every cuisine of the Jewish tradition, all organized according to the holidays of the Jewish year.

The New York Times passover cookbook : more than 200 holiday recipes from top chefs and writers by edited by Linda Amster — Includes traditional and innovative recipes culled from the food pages of the New York Times. The recipes are organized into suitably topical sections along with a selection of warm, informative essays contributed by Times food writers, including Joan Nathan and Ruth Reichl.


Chanukah on the Net: Designed for children and families, this site includes the story of Chanukah and the symbol of the menorah, greeting cards, music, a pattern for making your own dreidel, and much more.

Hanukkah Exhibit: The History Channel's special Hanukkah Exhibit explains traditions like the Menorah, the Dreidel, Latkes and Sufganiyot; also includes a section of Amazing Hanukkah Feats.

Hanukkah: Festival of Lights: Presented by the World ORT Union, dedicated to education for the Jewish community, this site offers an introduction to the history of Hanukkah and the symbolism of the lights, together with games, music and more.


Books & Music

Kwanzaa: from holiday to everyday by Maitefa Angaza

Kwanzaa party! [sound recording] — Features music from throughout the African diaspora in celebration of Kwanzaa.


Kwanzaa on the Net: Offers a wealth of information about Kwanzaa, including its history, the seven principles, crafts, recipes and an option to send E-Greeting cards.

Eduplace Resources/Kwanzaa: Here are holiday crafts, recipes and teacher lesson plans for Kwanzaa.

The Official Kwanzaa Website: Includes resources on roots and branches, the seven principles, the symbols, color and decorations and an archive of founder Dr. Maulana Karenga messages.