holidays

Updated at 7:30 a.m. ET

We're in for six more weeks of winter, at least if you take your meteorological cues from a woodchuck.

According to his handlers, Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow.

Phil, the world's most famous groundhog, lives a pretty charmed life. He and his groundhog wife, Phyllis, reside in their own zoo at the town library in Punsxutawney, Pa., where visitors can peer at them through an outside window. The groundhogs dine on hand-chopped produce and nap on a bed of soft hay.

Police in Byram, Miss. got a hot tip on a heist last week when 5-year-old TyLon Pittman called 911.

"I'm just trying to tell you something. Um, watch for the Grinch, 'cause the Grinch gonna steal Christmas, OK?" TyLon told the officer who called him back.

Yes, that's right. TyLon was trying to turn in the Grinch.

He'd been watching doctored YouTube videos of the classic Christmas tale, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and was getting pretty worried about it when Officer Lauren Develle heard about TyLon's call.

The first time I heard about Caga Tió, or Tió de Nadal, my family was getting settled into our life abroad in Barcelona this fall. A new friend's teenage daughter was telling us about the Catalan traditions she celebrates in school.

"During Christmas, there's a log that you feed scraps of food, and then he poops presents when you hit him with a stick and sing a song!"

Then she sang:

Children all over the United States will have a big decision to make on Christmas Eve: Would Santa Claus prefer a chocolate chip cookie for a snack or perhaps a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

As the sun sets on this winter solstice, bringing an end to the shortest day of the year, headlights will flicker on in traffic jams across the country, according to estimates from AAA.

Wednesday and Thursday afternoon were expected to see the most crowded roads for this holiday season.

In New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston, the worst day for travel was Wednesday.

The roadways, railways and skyways will likely be jammed with a record number of travelers over the holidays and many of them will be coming to the Sunshine State.

No Snow Needed: Postcards From South Florida's Holiday Season

Dec 18, 2017

In South Florida, it can be easy to forget what time of year it is. But even though the thermometer is traveling up past 80, it is the holidays.

Here are snapshots — or postcards — of some South Florida holiday traditions.

If you usually ring in the holiday with a freshly cut evergreen, your reality this Christmas could very well be a scrawny Charlie Brown tree instead — or you may wind up paying more for a lush Fraser fir.

This year, there is a tree shortage. Most growers blame the tightened supply on the Great Recession, says Valerie Bauerlein, who covered the story for The Wall Street Journal.

Before they dress their turkeys, mash potatoes or pull piping hot pies from the ovens this Thanksgiving, people will tie on aprons.

It's the stories and people behind those aprons that have delighted EllynAnne Geisel for years.

The Mystery And The Magic Of Giving Thanks

Nov 22, 2017

This Thanksgiving I will be thinking about turkey, of course.

But also about chickens and roosters.

I now live in the United States, but I grew up in Ghana, where there is no national holiday of Thanksgiving. But giving thanks is a very important part of my culture.

Peter Haden / WLRN

Needy families in Palm Beach County are getting a holiday boost from a local legend.

Don King gave away 1,000 frozen turkeys at the former Jai Alai fronton he owns in Mangonia Park.

“Community unity is our cry,” said King. “We got to work together, and working together works.”

It's hard to imagine a time when red and green weren't synonymous with Christmas, but they haven't always been the holiday's go-to colors. Arielle Eckstut, co-author of Secret Language of Color, attributes the palette's rise to two things: holly and Coca-Cola.

The monks at Assumption Abbey in Ava, Mo., were making concrete blocks when Father Cyprian Harrison joined the order in 1965. As demand for the blocks waned, the order explored other options to support the men who call the cloistered monastery home.

"After a lot of inner reflection, we decided [to get out of the concrete block business and start making] fruitcake. We only had to change the recipe a little," quips Harrison.

Back when I was drinking, I loved the holiday season, because it was a time of year when getting blasted was perfectly acceptable.

Eat, drink and be merry? Hey, I'm just following the rules here.

Between open bars, champagne toasts and office parties, the month of December was one long pub crawl for me, and if I drank too much — and I always drank too much — I could absolve myself on Jan. 1, when I swore to a bunch of resolutions I would inevitably break about two weeks later.

I've made so many false promises on New Year's Day, you'd think I was running for office.

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