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The Business of Holidays Hardcover – October 14, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: The Monacelli Press (October 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580931502
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580931502
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Maud Lavin is associate professor of visual and critical studies and art history, theory, and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the author of Clean New World: Culture, Politics, and Graphic Design and Cut with the Kitchen Knife: The Weimar Photomontages of Hannah Höch.

More About the Author

Maud Lavin is a nonfiction writer. Her books include Push Comes to Shove: New Images of Aggressive Women (MIT, 2010); Clean New World: Culture, Politics and Graphic Design (MIT, 2001); and Cut with the Kitchen Knife: The Weimar Photomontages of Hannah Hoech (Yale, 1993). As editor and coauthor, she has also published The Oldest We've Ever Been (Arizona, 2008) and The Business of Holidays (Monacelli/Random House, 2004). Push Comes to Shove was completed with the help of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and Clean New World with the aid of an NEA grant. She is a professor of Visual and Critical Studies and Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She's into Pilates, reading mysteries, great conversation, traveling to Asia, and goofing off. She is currently doing research for her new book, Lipstick Dreams, on images of femininity in contemporary China, South Korea, and the U.S.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Nethery on November 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is a marvel for the eye and mind. A charming yet wise critique of the culture of holidays in America, the volume is lavishly illustrated in color and serves up platter upon platter of wonderfully written commentary about holiday custom, lore, and consumption. Maud Lavin draws upon the many quirky and fascinating details of material culture that constitute Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter. From traditional mashed potatoes to scary costumes, Santa to the Easter Bunny, Lavin and her collaborators show us how we consumers depend on the holidays and how the holidays depend on us. A very entertaining and handsome book. Highly recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kim Larsen on December 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes I have to restrain myself from punching in the nose those who bemoan the excessive commercialism of "the holidays" (as if said holidays forcibly removed them from their otherwise impeccably ascetic lives). Now, instead of suppressing the punch, I can point the whiners to this wonderful new book. Maud Lavin and her collaborators show us how consumerism, crass or otherwise, is no longer the enemy (if indeed it ever was) of spiritual engagement. As Lavin herself points out in her introduction: "Holidays can remind people of what they feel they are entitled to but are lacking. And sometimes celebrants go about trying to find it -- spirituality or connectedness or presents or just plain sex. Consumerism, in standard and less conventional forms, is one avenue for the search."

Arranged chronologically from New Years Day to New Years Eve, and covering 34 holidays in between, the book adds up to a moving portrait of how invested (in all sense of the word) we are are in our celebrations. The writing is incisive, merry and provocative, and the graphic feast served up on every page a celebration in itself. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Red Cho on March 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I'll point to the already existing reviews on this page as insightful enough as to the book's contents, but do also want to iterate that this book does stretch to some other lesser-known or recognized holidays in America, including Devil's Night, Sweetest Day, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.

Great introduction to business-retail cycles and holiday traditions in general.

Design is also excellent, although those who have limited eyesight might need a magnifying glass. As befits most polished graphic design packages, the text can be a bit small. But the photos are telling enough and overall it's a pleasurable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By hbt on February 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The holidays have never looked so horrifying. But the rubbernecker in me will not put down this wonderful examination of corporate manipulations of our holiday revelry. Beautfully designed, smartly written, funny, sincere and cynical. Also nice to see a publisher actually sew their books, ensuring they last for generations to come.
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Format: Hardcover
The book is a very interesting book. It helps to show the readers the way holidays are now. It points out how holidays have lost their culture and history, and that they are no longer celebrated for the right reasons. I would definitely recommend this book.
OSU Comp Student 2009
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