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HISTORY Classics: The History of the Holidays: Christmas

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The history of Christmas dates back thousands of years and it has spawned as many traditions as it has questions. This special collection takes a look at the beloved holiday from a number of perspectives. Trace the emergence of Christmas from pagan festivals like the Roman Saturnalia, which celebrated the winter solstice. Learn how Prince Albert introduced the Christmas tree to the English-speaking world in 1841. Take a revealing look at iconic stories including the three wise men and the Star of Bethlehem and see what some modern-day scholars now believe is fact and what is fiction. Learn the history of Santa Claus, from the actual life story of St. Nicholas to modern-day takes on the legend such as The Santa Clause and beyond. Finally, discover the amazing history of Christmas celebrations during wartime from the bitter chill of Valley Forge to the blistering sands of Desert Storm. Witness incredible tales of unspoken cease-fires, when enemy troops have discarded their uniforms and hostilities for one night. It s an intimate, moving look at the way fighting men reconcile the reality of war with the celebration of peace, an unforgettable portrait of humanity at its most human.

HISTORY CLASSICS: THE HISTORY OF THE HOLIDAYS: CHRISTMAS contains 7 documentaries on 4 DVDs.

DISC 1: Christmas Unwrapped: The History of Christmas / Biography: Santa Claus
DISC 2: In Search of Christmas
DISC 3: The Real Story of Christmas / Modern Marvels: Christmas Tech
DISC 4: Christmas at War / The Christmas Truce

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Actuality Productions, Inc., Jim Lindsay Productions, Jonathan Grupper Productions, Greystone
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: A&E Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 1, 2011
  • Run Time: 376 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005ELVC7A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,174 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

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This set of DVDs is exactly what I was looking for - a good overview of the History Channel Christmas shows. Each disc has about 90 minutes of material. The fourth disc had no appeal to me personally, but at this price, I really don't mind. The shows included are:

Christmas Unwrapped: The History of Christmas: Just like the title says, this is about the history of the Christmas holiday. Thorough and comprehensive for a 45 minute show, it covers everything from pagan Yule celebrations up to modern traditions. If you've ever seen The History of Halloween that's narrated by Harry Smith, this is from the same folks.

Biography: Santa Claus: A good look at the Santa myth and how it has changed across different cultures and times.

In Search of Christmas: 90 minute show in search of the CHRISTIAN Christmas. Really only about trying to find the historical truth of the Christian Christmas story.

The Real Story of Christmas: Sharing some of the same subject matter as Christmas Unwrapped, this show delves into the origins of specific Christmas traditions. Of the shows on these discs, this one has the best production values.

Modern Marvels: Christmas Tech: Lightweight episode of Modern Marvels that focuses on things like high-tech home Xmas lights and transporting the Rockefeller center tree.

Christmas at War / The Christmas Truce: Two specials centering on Christmas during wartime. Not my cup of tea, but it might be yours if you're a military buff.

Overall, these were fun to watch over the Christmas season and I'm sure I'll enjoy watching them again next year. Most of the videos are 4:3 but I wasn't exactly looking for visual pyrotechnics from this set. Yes, it's a cash-in for THC, but it's also a lot cheaper than getting these shows separately.
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It's hard to post an overall review for such varying programs. They were all good. The one on the Christmas Peace was excellent, though sad. It's a repackaging of other programs, so it's not comprehensive about the Christmas holiday, though that shouldn't surprise anyone, given the titles and understanding of History channel "classics" collections. To be closer to comprehensive, there'd have to be good material on Christmas customs through the years in various cultures--even a fast survey of the most unique ones would have been good. It doesn't even give much history on some of the most common customs. But I still enjoyed it and have recommended it to others.
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Good historical documentaries on Christmas. Wish there was more like this and maybe more in-depth substance to some of the finer points but all-in-all a good summary of the origins of Christmas.
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By Nelson on February 10, 2016
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Next to "American Eats" these are my favorite shows !
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Great!
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