The story of Christmas, from its beginnings as a pagan celebration with mistletoe, holly and wreath decorations and the old Saturnalian custom of cross-dressing - continued today with the pantomime's "principal boy". The book also covers the practice of superiors waiting upon those of lower rank during the Christmas season - still seen in the British Army - and the election of a Lord of Misrule which was a popular custom in the 14th century. The author reveals how the Victorians enlarged celebrations into something like the Christmas season of today, with singing, dancing, plum pudding, decorated trees, street carolling, Christmas cards and Santa Claus. The book also covers the history of Christmas through the 20th century, discussing the two world wars, the influence of television and film, the Queen's speech and the increasing commercialization of the season. The many illustrations include famous examples such as Roosevelt and Churchill leaving the White House for Christmas service in 1941 and the Christmas tree at Windsor.