Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Book Review: Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas

This year I have deviated from my usual Opal Wheeler book, entitled Sing for Christmas. I've borrowed it every Advent season from the library and we know most of the stories of the Christmas carols by heart.

My new find is Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins. It adds richly to our repertoire of Christmas lore by incorporating the stories of modern Christmas classics into the mix. I have found myself skipping the chapters on the carols and reading the stories of how "Mary, Did You Know?" , "Do You Hear What I Hear?", and "White Christmas" were written. The short chapters are perfect for family circle time.

The carols are heirloom treasures, but I am also unabashedly fond of some of the more recent Christmas songs as well. "Something old, something new" could apply to Christmas as well as to weddings, in my opinion!

Here's a little quiz I designed from the pages of this book:

  1. Which Christmas song became popular after a cowboy singer introduced it at a rodeo at the Madison Square Garden?
  2. Which song was used by the Catholic church to teach doctrine "in code" ?
  3. Name the Christmas song that President John F. Kennedy declared to be his favorite.
  4. The first song ever to be broadcast on radio waves was a Christmas song. What is its title?
  5. A hyperactive young man was encouraged by his parents to develop his musical/performing skills. He eventually penned the lyrics of which modern-day classic Christmas song?
  6. Name the song that became a holiday prayer during WWII?
  7. A poor Appalachian waif sang a Christmas folk song that was passed down to her by previous generations. A historian was entranced by the haunting strains, and made it famous. Can you name the song?

answers: 1)Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 2) The Twelve Days of Christmas 3) Silver Bells 4) O Holy Night 5) Mary Do You Know? 6) I'll Be Home For Christmas 7) I Wonder as I Wander

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