The Carrolls, who once raised cattle, decided three decades ago to raise Christmas trees instead. The trees take seven to 12 years to mature. Courtesy of Claybrooke Farm hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Claybrooke Farm

Around the Nation

Christmas Tree Farmers Invest Long-Term In The Holiday Spirit

Americans buy 25 million Christmas trees every year. They are slow-growing crops, but the trees can be a smart investment for small farmers like the Carroll family in Louisa, Va.

British and German soldiers fraternizing at Ploegsteert, Belgium, on Christmas Day 1914. World War I was raging at the time, but front-line troops initiated the truce, which they documented in photos and letters. Commanders on both sides were furious when they learned of it. Courtesy of Imperial War Museum hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Imperial War Museum

Parallels - World News

A Century Ago, When The Guns Fell Silent On Christmas

World War I had just begun and the battles were blazing in the winter of 1914. But on Christmas Eve, something strange and unexpected happened. The soldiers in the trenches decided to call a truce.

The stage version of the Hollywood classic An American in Paris combines British, French and American artistic traditions and stars Leanne Cope and Robert Fairchild in the roles made famous by Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly. Marie-Noelle Robert /Courtesy of Theatre du Chatelet hide caption

itoggle caption Marie-Noelle Robert /Courtesy of Theatre du Chatelet

Parallels - World News

The French Go Crazy For 'An American In Paris'

The first-ever stage production of the 1951 Hollywood film starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, with a Gershwin score, is getting rave reviews during its premiere in the city that inspired it.

Need a gift for a 20-something kid about to age out of the family's health plan? Juana Rivera (left) discusses insurance options with Fabrizzio Russi, an agent from Sunshine Life and Health Advisors, at the Mall of the Americas in Miami. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Shots - Health News

Would You Like Health Insurance With Those Stocking Stuffers? KQED

While shoppers rush to the mall to pick up the last neckties and Transformers for Christmas, health officials are trying to pitch them on an unconventional gift this holiday season: health insurance.

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KQED

Ellar Coltrane, who plays Mason in Boyhood, was 6 years old when director Richard Linklater picked him for the role. Made over the course of 12 years, the film is David Edelstein's favorite of the year. Courtesy of Matt Lankes hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Matt Lankes

Movie Reviews

In A 'Depressing' Year For Films, Edelstein Finds Some Greats

Film critic David Edelstein says in 2014 none of the great material came from Hollywood studios. But, he says, it was a "wonderful year" for indie films. He names Boyhood as the best of the year.

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