Try free for 2 months

  • The Secret History of Christmas

  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Bill Bryson
  • Length: 3 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (420 ratings)

A 2 month free trial (limited time offer).
1 credit/month—to buy any title you like, yours to keep.
Listen all you want to a selection of thousands of Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
AUD $16.45/mo after 2 months. Renews automatically. Cancel anytime.
The Secret History of Christmas cover art

The Secret History of Christmas

By: Bill Bryson
Narrated by: Bill Bryson
Free with 2 month trial

AUD $16.45/mo after 2 months. Renews automatically. Cancel anytime.

Buy Now for $16.85

Buy Now for $16.85

Pay using voucher balance (if applicable) then card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions Of Use and Privacy Notice and authorise Audible to charge your designated credit card or another available credit card on file.

Publisher's Summary

A cornucopia of Christmas delights from the bestselling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything and Notes from a Small Island.

Christmas is the single biggest annual event on the planet, a time for merry-making, over-indulgence, peace, goodwill, and the occasional family row. It’s as comfortable and familiar as a pair of old shoes and yet still glittery and exciting. But what do you really know about it? It’s stuffed full of traditions and rituals that most of us have been observing all our lives without having the slightest idea of where they come from.

Why is it called Boxing Day, for example? Why do we sing about Good King Wenceslas – who wasn’t a king and possibly not even good? What’s the story behind Christmas crackers? Who would have guessed that one of our most popular Christmas carols began as a kind of semi-pornographic Welsh folksong? And how did St Nicholas, a bishop from the dawn of Christianity, turn into the plump and jolly figure of Santa Claus with a flying sleigh and a home at the North Pole?

Christmas, and how it got that way, is full of surprises. Join Bill Bryson to reach into this Christmas stocking and pull them out – along with the inevitable tangerine.

©2022 Bill Bryson (P)2022 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Secret History of Christmas

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    297
  • 4 Stars
    97
  • 3 Stars
    22
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    288
  • 4 Stars
    76
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    3
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    278
  • 4 Stars
    81
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fun and informative

I could listen to Bill Bryson narrate his own books all day. This one is fun and informative as usual. Covered some topics about Christmas that I had never even considered.
Well worth a listen.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Easy and interesting listen

Good historical view of Christmas. Really great. Narration is brilliant. Covers all the main areas.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Love Bryson

What’s not to love? Christmas. Idiosyncratic Brit traditions. Whacky Americans. All relayed with BBs exquisite wit and engaging narration.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

All I wanted to know for Christmas

Yet another great listen by Bill Bryson dishing the history of Christmas and answering questions you probably never thought to ask

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A great bit of Christmas Trivia

There's some fascinating Christmas trivia in this book (and a fair bit of history trivia as well). I found it interesting and just the right length.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

very interesting

the historical timelines made for a fascinating story and made me realise what a total multi layered celebration it is

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting with light humour

Easy listening some informative trivial info that is not worth retaining unless you love sharing

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful

You can really appreciate the amount of research that has gone into writing this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the history of Christmas.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved this!

Classic Bryson wit, well-researched content. His intonation can sometimes be monotonous but love authors who narrate their own stuff. Great listen!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Classic Bryson

What a thoroughly, enjoyable listen. I highly recommend a listen, every holiday season. Fun, entertaining and educational.. classic Bryson.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.