Pagan Christmas: The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide by Christian Rätsch and Claudia Müller-Ebeling is an informative read that reveals winter traditions from the past and how they are utilized today with a heavy emphasis on plants and flowers.
Why do we decorate evergreen trees? What are the origins of Santa Claus? What is the connection between holly and mistletoe? Why are red and white the prominent colors during Christmas? How did poinsettias and other flowers become associated with Christmas? What is in the traditional incense associated with church and why were those ingredients chosen?
For the curious, the authors have included loose guideline recipes for 'baccy' to smoke, cookies to bake, incense to make, and beverages to drink.
Most of the traditions the authors talk about come from middle Europe and the Mediterranean, but there are also traditions from Asia and the Americas.
From the old start of winter in November, now called Saint Martin's Day, to Candlemas in February, readers are certain to learn many things in this treasury of knowledge.
Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices by George Barna and Frank Viola
Shamanic Christianity: The Direct Experience of Mystical Communion by Bradford Keeney