Understand Easter to Understand Christmas

Understand Easter to Understand Christmas

In a world growing more secular by the day there seems to be a serious decline in the understanding of what makes Easter so significant. A quick Google search about the “facts” of Easter reveals stunning statistics on how many chocolate eggs are consumed, how much fake grass is purchased and how many dollars are spent on baskets and bunnies. But hiding behind the commercialized accounting of Easter are real disturbing numbers about Easter itself. A 2014 survey by the Bible Society reveals that only one in four school-aged children can explain Easter. In fact, 71 percent of parents withRead more

Christmas Connection with the Dead

Christmas Connection with the Dead

Many limit the Christmas connection with the dead as merely something from the imagination of Charles Dickens. As Scrooge is haunted by Marley he encounters many of the dead from his family and youth – and that has a huge connection to all that was sacred to those who celebrated the ancient Christmas. Halloween in many parts of the world is actually a celebration of two or three days. There is All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween), Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and Dia de los Santos (Day of the Saints). Some Christians mistaken these days as a scaryRead more

Christmas in a Political Year

Christmas in a Political Year

I recently engaged in conversation with one of our international members who observed, “You Americans ruin Christmas every four years”. Her reference, of course, was to the rancor of this particular election and how divisive it has been for everyone – even those out of the country. I had to laugh but she had a point. It does seem that the conversation shifts greatly around the cycles of American politics. The thought caused me to look through the numbers. We are not a for-profit venture and frankly we do not usually much care for the business of visitor statistics. ButRead more

More than a Half Million Lights on One Tree

More than a Half Million Lights on One Tree

Australia isn’t to be outdone by anyone in the world when it comes to Christmas. There’s no snow, few natural Christmas trees, and little that actually originates in Australia when it comes to Christmas. But they celebrate it big time and they want the world to know it. From their Lego trees to their floating trees to this new Christmas tree — a monster with a Guinness world record breaking total of more than half a million Christmas lights — Australia is most definitely world-leading when it comes to celebrating the season. Check it out:

Ancient Connections of Thanksgiving and Christmas

Ancient Connections of Thanksgiving and Christmas

Here is some fodder for your Thanksgiving day discussions around the turkey — which is the more sacred holiday in America, Thanksgiving or Christmas? Check your learning of history at the door. This history of both holidays goes back further than you know — and both are related to each other in significant ways. Watch this video: Christmas, while constantly under a cloud in regular debates of what is politically correct or not, was NEVER a religious holiday in America. It may have been a religious holiday once-upon-a-time in Rome. The mashed-up words “Christ” and “mass”, which many historians sayRead more

Christmas in Billings, Montana 1954

Christmas in Billings, Montana 1954

Early last week, James Carroll of Tyler, Texas, came to Billings for the second time in his life. It was an enjoyable visit, but it was hard to top that first one, on Christmas Eve 1954. Carroll was a 23-year-old Army private at the time, just out of basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas, on his way to Seattle on a troop train. From Seattle he shipped out to Alaska, where he would serve for the duration of his two-year enlistment. The train stopped in Colorado to pick up some more troops, bringing the number of soldiers to somewhere betweenRead more

Racism and Christmas

Racism and Christmas

Christmas has endured many controversies over the course of its history. Most usually center on religious disputes or how much Christmas imposes of itself on parts of society that do not want it. But in recent years Christmas has seemingly become embroiled in an important ongoing societal dialogue: racism. The biggest story in Christmas and racism centers in the Netherlands. The United Nations recently again declared the Dutch tradition of Black Pete racist. Every year from mid-November until the traditional feast day of St. Nicholas on December 6th many communities in the Netherlands celebrate what is commonly known as aRead more

Train to Release a Christmas Album

Train to Release a Christmas Album

Train is releasing a Christmas album this year. Frontman Pat Monahan told Billboard that the band is currently recording a Christmas album with the tentative title Christmas in Tahoe. And Monahan promises it will be no ordinary holiday album. “There’s a couple of traditional covers on there, but we tried not to do the same stuff everybody else does,” Monahan said to Billboard, explaining what fans can expect from the album. He listed a cover of The Band’s “Christmas Must Be Tonight” Train is doing as an example of what’s to come. Unfortunately there’s no word on whether the bandRead more

Bill Murray Christmas Special Coming for 2015

Bill Murray Christmas Special Coming for 2015

It’s Bill Murray, it’s Netflix and it’s all Christmas. And it appears to have captured all the early buzz for Christmas on television 2015. Coming to Netflix and produced in conjunction with director Sofia Coppola the special reported stars George Clooney, Miley Cyrus, Amy Pohler, Maya Rudolph and, of course, Bill Murray. Clooney talked about it in a recent visit to the retiring David Letterman: Paul [Shaffer, Letterman’s band leader] and I just did a Bill Murray Christmas special. I sit on a piano bench with Paul and pretend to sing, which they don’t let me. And I rode inRead more

What Thanksgiving Has to Do with Christmas

What Thanksgiving Has to Do with Christmas

There are complaints aplenty out there about how Christmas has stolen time and appreciation from Thanksgiving. Those who cry foul by claiming “Christmas creep” miss the larger lessons of history — and they fail to really see the absurdity of their complaints when compared to the worldwide stage. (See this epic rant and compare it to THIS epic rant). After all, in the UK their annual early-November tradition of Christmas is to showcase and celebrate the Christmas advertisements launched by English department stores. The ads are anticipated as greatly there as Santa Claus is at the end of the ThanksgivingRead more