Reading Megan Durnford’s charming work, which nicely combines social history and human interest, what may strike the reader most is that things we tend to think of as age-old traditions are in fact relatively new. Take the history of the Christmas tree in Quebec. The first one appeared in 1781 in the home of an exiled German army officer, but the practice didn’t become common until the late 19th century, and it was only in 1910 that a Montreal department store first displayed them commercially….Many of Durnford’s stories recall a pre-commercial, pre-secular time when magic still played a role in peoples’ lives.

(The Gazette, December 18, 2004)