It’s a Wonderful Life

Many Americans view the 1946 movie It’s a Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra, as the definitive American Christmas story. Some even call it the American version of Charles Dickens’s classic Christmas tale, A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Acclaimed children’s writer Dr. Seuss, born Theodor Geisel, published How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 1957. This story tells how the grumpy Grinch tries to prevent the sweet-tempered citizens of Who-ville from celebrating Christmas.

Hopping John

Hopping John is a traditional New Year’s Day food in the American South. The dish consists of black-eyed peas and rice, seasoned with onions, a bit of pork, and some salt and pepper. It developed among rice plantation slaves in South Carolina and eventually spread to the surrounding black and white communities.

Holy Innocents’ Day

In chapter two of the GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW, the birth of JESUS is followed by a massacre from which the Holy Family narrowly escapes. An ANGEL warns Jesus’father JOSEPH that King HEROD intends to kill the child, whom the MAGI have identified as the newborn king of the Jews.


Holly springs up all around us at Christmas time. It ornaments to-day’s CHRISTMAS CARDS, WREATHS, WRAPPING PAPER, and other Christmas decorations. Although holly serves as a very contemporary symbol of the season, folklorists trace holly’s association with Christmas back to ancient times.


The people of Scotland refer to their New Year’s Eve celebrations as Hogmanay. For centuries New Year’s Eve was the most important midwinter holiday in Scotland, far outstripping Christmas in its importance.

King Herod

According to the Bible JESUS was born in the land of Judea. The GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW tells us that King Herod ruled Judea at the time of Jesus’birth. Historians cannot confirm the treacherous deeds attributed to Herod in Matthew’s Nativity story.


Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that is unrelated to Christmas. Be-cause it often falls in the month of December, however, some people have mistakenly assumed that Hanukkah is the “Jewish Christmas.”

Christmas in Guatemala

Guatemalan Christmas celebrations combine Spanish and German customs. Native American influences may also be seen in Guatemalan Christmas foods and decorations.


CHRISTMAS TREES, WREATHS, and other seasonal decorations made out of greenery ornament our homes, streets, and churches at Christmas time.