Around Christmas, people around the world covet a Rudolph, Wis., postmark on their cards and letters. Carrie Antlfinger/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Carrie Antlfinger/AP

Retailers' Black Friday ads and other parts of the holiday season are designed to tap into a very ancient part of our brains. Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Disney's Frozen Castle & Ice Palace Playset is displayed at the TTPM Holiday Showcase in New York. In a recent survey, parents said they were more likely to buy Frozen toys for their daughters than any other present this holiday season. Richard Drew/AP hide caption

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Candice Nelson fits her daughter Arya Kubesh with a Halloween hat at a store at Galleria Mall in Edina, Minn. Retailers are hoping Halloween will give them a good bounce into the peak spending time of the year. Elizabeth Flores/MCT/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Elizabeth Flores/MCT/Landov

Edna Kash-kash, a Native American from Oregon, sits in front of a tepee circa 1900. In Eastern Oregon, a tribal celebration of first foods offers a connection to ancestors. Lee Moorhouse/Buyenlarge/Getty Images) hide caption

itoggle caption Lee Moorhouse/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

Haitians celebrate their independence from France on Jan. 1 each year with a traditional squash soup called soup joumou. Courtesy of Whole Foods hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Whole Foods

A gift card display at a Target store in Mayfield Hts., Ohio., last month. Amy Sancetta/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Amy Sancetta/AP

Many Americans are familiar with cornhusk-wrapped tamales. But those aren't my favorite. Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images

Tourtiere is "one of Canada's better contributions to the culinary world," says Thomas Naylor, executive chef to the Canadian ambassador to the U.S. Larry Crowe/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Larry Crowe/AP

The pudding's dark glossy dome is flamed with brandy and carried to the table before the shimmering blue aura dies away. Chris Elwell/iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Buy more, or buy less, this holiday season; the choice is yours. Matt Cardy/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Matt Cardy/Getty Images