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Friday, December 25, 2009

Miniature Train Displays That Draw From Nature

A miniature version of the U.S. Capitol, at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.

December 25, 2009 A small company's elaborate holiday model-train displays are built mostly of twigs, leaves and gourds from the company's home turf: a wooded ridge in northern Kentucky. As a result, people in Washington, D.C., New York and other cities can enter a miniature wonderland full of familiar landmarks.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

'Tinsel': Over-The-Top Christmas In Texas

Cover Image

December 21, 2009 Hank Stuever wanted to write about Christmas in America with a capital "A." Tinsel is the story of his journey to Frisco, Texas, where the lights are brighter, the Christmas trees are taller, and the reindeer are faster.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gift Ideas: Tools For The Dedicated Baker

Cake plate

December 10, 2009 Dorie Greenspan, the author of Baking: From My Home To Yours, suggests — among other things — a rolling pin made of nylon, cookie scoops and a cake plate for your favorite baker to show off sweet creations.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Sen. Hatch Writes 'Extremely Catchy' Hanukkah Song

Sen. Orrin Hatch at Sen. Ted Kennedy's memorial

December 9, 2009 The senior senator from Utah wrote "Eight Days Of Hanukkah" in time for the Jewish holiday that starts Friday night. He did it in collaboration with Atlantic national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg — who says he's "pleased as punch" Hatch wrote it a decade after Goldberg suggested it.

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Friday, December 04, 2009

From Dickens Himself, Notes On 'A Christmas Carol'

Charles Dickens

December 4, 2009 Charles Dickens performed his famous story in public more than 150 times. Now the handwritten changes he made during those hugely popular readings are on display at the New York Public Library.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Want To Break Up? 'Tis The Season, So Better Hurry

November 28, 2009 It's not just turkeys that get nervous this time of year. Chances are high that a failing relationship will also meet its end during the holidays. That's because it's not just turkey season — it's turkey drop season.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Atlanta's Pink Pig Brightens Spirits, 55 Years On

Slideshow Promo

December 24, 2008 The Pink Pig debuted in 1953 at Rich's, a downtown Atlanta department store. It was a monorail ride back then. Today, it's a short train ride at Macy's department store, but the new Pink Pig carries much of the same sense of wonder as the old one.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

No Gelt, No Glory: A Dreidel Champion Is Crowned

Virtual Dreidel beats Pamskee for the 2008 title — and the glory.

December 22, 2008 Dreidel spinners like Debbie Does Dreidel and Jewbacca take on defending champion Pamskee in the Major League Dreidel Championship in New York City. The target? To beat 17.8 seconds.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Matchless: A Christmas Story

matchgirl

December 25, 2008 Every year, NPR asks a writer to compose an original story with a Christmas theme. This year, Gregory Maguire reinvents the Hans Christian Andersen classic "The Little Match Girl" for a new time and new audiences.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Wonderful Life? Not In Every Holiday Classic

Gremlins

December 21, 2008 Not thrilled about the annual viewing of Frank Capra's family favorite? Here are eight alternatives — not "holiday movies" per se, but films with timeless scenes set at the holidays. That, and some classic family dysfunction, too.

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Pass The Foie Gras: Christmas Menu Hard To Digest

Army National Guard Capt. Benjamin Tupper

December 21, 2008 Forget the picturesque tree and perfectly arranged presents. Christmas means blending old customs with new traditions, even if the result is messier than a bag full of carrot jam.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Selling The Bawdy Side Of Christmas

The Cheeky Girls shooting a Christmas music video.

December 18, 2008 Amid risque Santa suits and foul-mouthed holiday movies, is Christmas becoming more naughty than nice? Some people celebrate the season in provocative ways. Others look for deeper meaning despite the rowdy behavior around them.

Summary

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Virgin Mary, Less Virgin Islands

Rev. James Martin

December 17, 2008 This week, millions of American will send Christmas cards. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, isn't a fan of cards that display family photos on the cover. "Even devout Christians have been replacing Jesus, Mary and Joseph with themselves," he observes.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Companies Say 'Bah, Humbug!' To Holiday Parties

A bucket of champagne awaits guests at a formal office Christmas dinner.

December 3, 2008 Scores of U.S. businesses plan to forgo their annual bash as a response to the slumping economy. One business consultant says the decline in parties doesn't bode well for the futures of the companies cutting back.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Back In Vogue: The Retro Way To Pay For Presents

An example of a layaway receipt.

November 26, 2008 This season, stores like TJ Maxx and Sears are offering customers the option to buy on layaway — make a deposit, and the store keeps the goods until the price is paid in full. Layaway had been discontinued decades ago, but it's making a comeback because credit cards are no longer cheap or easy to use.

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