Christmas Around the World

Every year during my childhood, our post box was graced with an 80 page volume of one of the World Book’s Christmas Around the World series, a gift, I think, from my globetrotting grandparents. Although somewhat dated and with some breathlessly misleading information (the Spain entry insists that Spaniards eat loads of turkey for Navidad, but that it’s stuffed with garlic and glazed with olive oil, and the Washington volume seems to describe a city that hasn’t existed for a good century or so, and possibly never did), they’re still wonderful glimpses into the habits of other countries at Yuletide. At the very least they inspire curiosity, which I’d like to think has something to do with why I can vouch for how Christmas is passed in the locales of at least five of the books on the below list. I hunted in vain for a decent list online, and failing to find one, decided to post the below, which I’ve verified with family members who still have the books. I have a few of them in my possession myself (pictured).  It seems the series went on for another decade, till at least 2003, when probably — like so many other good things in the past — someone decided that the internet did a better job with “information.” But those who had these colorful volumes know the truth. A reader who knows the series very well writes in to note that the books “also arrived with an advent calendar, small ornament, and recipe cards. A family could celebrate Christmas around the world!”

  • 1993 — Germany
  • 1992 — Russia
  • 1991 — Brazil
  • 1990 — The Philippines
  • 1989 — Poland 
  • 1988 — Washington, D.C.
  • 1987 — The Holy Land
  • 1986 — Denmark
  • 1985 — Ireland 
  • 1984 — New England
  • 1983 — Spain
  • 1982 — Austria
  • 1981 — The Netherlands
  • 1980 — France
  • 1979 — Italy
  • 1977 — Scandinavia 
  • 1978 — Britain
  • 1976 — Mexico 

Given the paucity of information out there about the series in general, for the completist I’ll add the below list. I don’t actually own any of these (although I wish I had the Belgium one, at least), but these are the fruits of the some internet labor, mainly thanks to There appear to be a couple of duplicates, or possibly some of the copyright dates are wrong.

  • 2003 — Puerto Rico 
  • 2002 — Belgium
  • 2001 — Scotland
  • 2000 — Greece
  • 1999 — Finland
  • 1999 — Australia
  • 1998 — The Phillipines
  • 1997 — Ukraine
  • 1997 — Colonial and Early America 
  • 1996 — American Southwest
  • 1995 — ?
  • 1994 — Switzerland 
  • 1994 — Canada

One thought on “Christmas Around the World”

  1. They also arrived with an advent calendar, small ornament, and recipe cards. A family could celebrate Christmas around the world!

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