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"Sleigh Rides, Jingle Bells and Silent Night: A Cultural History of American Christmas Songs," is by Ronald D. Lankford Jr.

Editor's note: These recently released Christmas books include nonfiction and fiction, historical and contemporary, romance and history and each carries with the spirit of the season.

"SLEIGH RIDES, JINGLE BELLS AND SILENT NIGHTS: A Cultural History of American Christmas Songs," by Ronald D. Lankford Jr. , University of Florida Press, $21.95, 250 pages (nf)

There is a rich history behind many Christmas songs of how they became part of annual holiday expectations.

"Sleigh Rides, Jingle Bells and Silent Nights: A Cultural History of American Christmas Songs" by Ronald D. Lankford Jr. teaches readers about the lesser-known backgrounds of the songs Americans hold synonymous with Christmas.

Skirting most of the religious aspects of Christmas, Lankford identifies many of the popular Christmas songs of American culture. From "White Christmas" to "Baby, It's Cold Outside" to "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," Lankford asserts the motivations for these songs are anything but religious. The nostalgia of those longing for home from World War II, sexuality or even apathy are some of the themes behind the lyrics.

Many songs are intertwined in favorite holiday movies such as "Miracle on 34th Street" or "A Christmas Story." Within both holiday music and movies, Lankford points out the melancholy, sexuality, satire and commercialization of Christmas in America.

There isn't any offensive language, but some of the song lyrics are sexually suggestive and include alcohol and cultural reckless abandon.

Wendy Jessen is a Southern Utah University graduate and a stay-at-home mother of six. Her email is wendyjessen26@gmail.com and she blogs at mormonmomofsix.blogspot.com.