Wren Hunt

In rural communities of ENGLAND, IRELAND, FRANCE, and WALES, the day after Christmas once witnessed a ritualized attack on one of the region’s tiniest and most harmless birds: the wren. Although this practice declined to near extinction during the twentieth century, the wren still figures as a minor CHRISTMAS SYMBOL, appearing on CHRISTMAS CARDS, ORNAMENTS, and other seasonal decorations.


Americans recognize the evergreen wreath as a CHRISTMAS SYMBOL. Many people hang them on their front doors at Christmas time or display them in other parts of the house. No one seems to know the exact history of this custom.

Wrapping Paper

How would you feel if, instead of finding a pretty arrangement of wrapped GIFTS under the tree on Christmas morning, you discovered a naked jumble of store-bought merchandise with the price tags still on? What is it that turns an ordinary purchase into a Christmas gift?

Winter Solstice

Winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, falls on December 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter solstice marks that turning point in the year after which the days begin to lengthen and the nights begin to shorten.

Wild Hunt

If one listens closely to the swirling winds of a stormy winter night, eerie voices seem to howl in the darkness. In past centuries much folklore from northwestern Europe interpreted these sounds as a sign that the Wild Hunt was abroad.

White Christmas

“White Christmas” is the most popular Christmas song ever recorded. Written by Irving Berlin (1888-1989) and featured in the 1942 movie Holiday Inn, it soon inspired a large and loyal following. Bing Crosby (1904-1977), one of America’s most popular mid-century crooners, sang the tune in the motion picture and also recorded it as a single.

King Wenceslas

The familiar CHRISTMAS CAROL, “Good King Wenceslas,” tells of a virtuous deed performed by the noble King Wenceslas on the day after Christmas, ST. STEPHEN’S DAY. Is King Wenceslas an historical or a legendary character? If historical, did he ever perform a deed similar to that described in the carol?
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