I’ve said many times that I’m in awe of Benito Cereno’s knowledge of Christmas history. And while I do say that to keep him coming on the podcast so I don’t have to do research, I also mean it sincerely.
Benito’s written plenty about Christmas history, from essays to comics, and even some longer works that will eventually make it to print. But he also made something for which I am eternally grateful: a video history of Christmas. This was initially for a class he was teaching. Then he was graced with covid quarantine, which almost cost him his sanity but provided us with these videos he made for his students.
He’s given us a thematically organized series of lectures that cover everything from church history to local lore to those fun tidbits of “and this, children, is why no one in their right mind ever put a pickle on a tree.” Each one runs a half hour to 45ish minutes. He’d be mad if I claimed that this was an exhaustive history, but for a one-man project made while stuck at home during quarantine, it’s seriously close.
The least I could do was give him a landing page for all of these wonderful videos as a way to say thanks.
So please subscribe to his YouTube channel. Or you can see the range of topics and pick and choose here. And remember that these are fun, informal lectures rather than polished made-for-public-TV documentaries, a bit more like a podcast with images.
- Part 01: Christmas starts earlier than you think
- Part 02: Lives of Saint Barbara and Saint Nicholas
- Part 03: Celebrating Saint Nicholas Around the World
- Part 04: Krampus, Black Peter, and the Companions of Saint Nick
- Part 05: A Pooping Log and the Gift-Bringers of Non-Spanish Spain
- Part 06: The Elves, Cats, and Many Many Trolls of Icelandic Xmas
- Part 07: A Saint, Her Eyeballs, a Goat and Some Gnomes
- Part 08: History of Christmas from Saturnalia to the Reformation
- Part 09: The Trial of Father Christmas
- Part 10: Who invented Santa Claus?
- Part 11: Twelve Crazy Nights
- Part 12: All Good Things
There. I just wanted an excuse to have all these links in one place.
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