I don't think this book's title does it any favours - Christmas sounds far to specific when to my way of thinking it's a good all round winter cookbook with a few of things that would be welcome all year (we love pickled herring in my family), but the Christmas in the title is probably the reason it was half price in Waterstones and as that's more my budget I probably shouldn't complain. Indeed Waterstones have done me proud this year in their sale, I haven't bought a lot but I'm really pleased with what I've got - particularly this one; I'd been half interested in it beforehand but hadn't been able to find a copy to have a good look at and had assumed it would be to specific to be really useful or desirable. So far I've only looked through it but that's been enough to convince me that it's a little treasure.
The great thing about borrowing from other peoples traditions is that you're not bound by them. I love mince pies but it feels somehow transgressive to make them before December or long after New Year, never mind things like Christmas pudding... Part of the pleasure they bring is bound by there seasonality (disgusted of Leicester is not impressed that the first Easter eggs were being put out for sale on the 27th of December) but Lebkuchen or any other honey or spice biscuit I could see my way to eating any time and as far as I'm concerned if it's cold outside mulled wine in any form is quite acceptable so a recipe for a Glogg syrup is quite useful - especially because the sort of teabag arrangement that I normally favour doesn't scale down very well, but a syrup will so it can be used up on leftover cooking wine and the like, which is sensible rather than hangover inducing.
There are, as I would expect from a Scandinavian inspired book, plenty of recipes for pickled herring; something I've tried, and failed, to make well at home before, but am now encouraged to try again with. As I have a few days off I can engage in projects like this so mean to gather together all the pickling recipes I can find on my shelves, try and work out where I went wrong before, search out some good looking herrings and have another go - possibly a few goes involving different ingredients - and see if I can nail it.
This book also happens to be very reasonably priced on amazon - well worth checking out...