Page:Our American Holidays - Christmas.djvu/15

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PREFACE

Christmas is our most important holiday, and its literature is correspondingly rich. Yet until now no adequate bundle of Christmas treasures in poetry and prose has found its way into the library of Santa Claus.

While this book brings to children of all ages, in school and at home, the best lyrics, carols, essays, plays and stories of Christmas, its scope is yet wider. For the Introduction gives a rapid view of the holiday's origin and development, its relation to cognate pagan festivals, the customs and symbols of its observance in different lands, and the significance and spirit of the day. This Introduction endeavors to be as suggestive as possible to parents and teachers who are personally conducted and introduced to the host of writers learned and quaint, human and pedantic, humorous and brilliant and profound, who have dealt technically with this fascinating subject.