Deck the malls

'Tinsel', a new book by Washington Post columnist Hank Stuever, explores the considerable gap between the comsumer-driven Christmases most Americans have and the 'ecstatic holiday nirvana' they idealise.

Every year, Christmas is directly responsible for some of the worst books to cross a reviewer's desk: stale, overfrosted sugar cookies loaded with the literary equivalent of artificial colouring and high-fructose corn syrup. But now all is forgiven because the season has inspired Hank Stuever to write "Tinsel: A Search for America's Christmas Present," a portrait of the holiday as it's celebrated in the booming Dallas exurb of Frisco, Texas.


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