Christmas

The 1.3-acre campus includes the Parker's family home, a museum, a neighboring house and a gift shop.

You Can Now Buy Ralphie Parker's House From 'A Christmas Story'

For years, fans of the 1983 classic movie have been flocking to the home and museum in Cleveland

An intercontinental ballistic missile takes flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, in 2002. In 1962, the United States would confront the Soviet Union on its missile stockpiles in Cuba, edging the two nations to the brink of nuclear war.

History of Now

'Do You Hear What I Hear?' Conjures Images of Peace Everywhere—and Nuclear Annihilation

Composed at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the classic Christmas song contains another message—one of unity

A 1918 photo of a Christmas tree for horses in Washington, D.C.

When Humane Societies Threw Christmas Parties for Horses

Held across the U.S. in the early 20th century, the events sought to raise awareness for poor living conditions and offer the animals a holiday respite

The 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life stars James Stewart as down-on-his-luck George Bailey and Donna Reed as his wife, Mary.

What 'It's a Wonderful Life' Teaches Us About American History

The Christmas classic, released 75 years ago, conveys many messages beyond having faith in one another

"There isn't a Christmas that goes by that I don't sing 'Oh Holy Night,'" says Irma Thomas (above: in 2019 at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival) "If you listen to all the verses, it tells a beautiful story."

Irma Thomas' Rendition of 'O Holy Night' Is a Marvel From Beginning to End

Soulful Christmas music is an obsession for Bill Adler, so he interviewed the singer of one of his favorite songs

“Bless whoever it was who came up with the idea,” jazz historian Dan Morgenstern says in a Smithsonian interview about Armstrong’s rendition of the holiday chestnut.

The Little-Known Recording of Louis Armstrong Reciting 'The Night Before Christmas'

Shortly before he died, the jazz legend offered his own rendition of the classic holiday poem

Christmas tree cured fish was one well-received recipe Julia Georgallis included in her new cookbook.

You Can Eat Your Christmas Tree. Here's How to Do It

Turn your once-ornamented tree into something scrumptious

Children cluster around Santa in this 1903 illustration.

Christmas Wasn't Always the Kid-Friendly Gift Extravaganza We Know Today

How a once-raucous holiday became a time of childlike wonder and beribboned consumerism

Mistletoe is best known for its role in holiday festivities, as seen on this Christmas card from 1886, and it features in ancient lore of many cultures, whether Celtic druids or Scandinavian gods.

The Biology of Mistletoe

Best known as a holiday trimming, the parasitic plant is a botanical luminary in its own right

Bright lights and large crowds were ever-present at the Weihnachtsmarkt in Dresden, Germany, 2014.

Smithsonian Voices

A Taste of the German Christmas Market at Home

Normally. the German-speaking lands of Central Europe would be bustling filled with food, drink, good cheer, and other longstanding traditional activities

“Hogan in the Snow,” ca. 1985. Painted by Robert Draper (Diné [Navajo], 1938–2000). Chinle, Navajo Nation, Arizona. 26/6481

Smithsonian Voices

Christmas Across Indian Country, During the Pandemic and Before

This extraordinary year, we asked how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting people’s families and communities

Steam hides a vendor stirring mulled wine with sea buckthorns at a Christmas market in Svobody Square, Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine.

Virtual Travel

This Holiday Season, Travel With Your Nose

The scents that you find most comforting can help you feel like you're on the road, even when you're not

Many U.S. grocery stores carry marinades and seasonings from Jamaican companies.

A Brief History of Jamaican Jerk

It's more than just a seasoning or a flavor. Jerk is a whole culture worthy of celebrating, especially at Christmastime

Gen. Glen VanHerck, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command talks on the phone as part of a video celebrating the NORAD Santa Tracker's 65th year.

Smithsonian Voices

Why NORAD Tracks Santa Claus

How did a misdialed phone number lead to a holiday tradition.

The original photos from late 1800s by famous snowflake photographer Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley, are stored in the Smithsonian Archives. His pictures were instrumental in helping scientists examine snow’s crystalline properties.

Smithsonian Voices

Why Scientists Find Snowflakes Cool

Mineralogists study snowflakes to learn more about how water in its solid phase behaves

Will Cotton, Molasses Swamp II, 1999, oil on linen

Smithsonian Voices

Top Ten Favorite Holiday Movies as Seen in American Art

What is cozier than watching old holiday movies on a chilly winter’s night? Pairing them up with favorite artworks from SAAM's collection, that’s what

A young girl lightly pats the backs of others with a survachka on Christmas Day in Bulgaria.

A Globe-Trotter's Guide to Holiday Games

Staying home for Christmas and New Year's? Try one of these festive traditions from around the world

Often overshadowed by more famous jets in World War II, the Ar 234 B-2—known as the Blitz, or Lightning—had caught the Allies by surprise when the nine soared through the skies on December 24, 1944.

With Lightning Speed and Agility, Germany's Ar 234 Blitz Jet Bomber Was a Success That Ultimately Failed

Only one is known to survive today and it is in the collections of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

PEZ has designed about 1,400 different character heads and innumerable variations.

How PEZ Evolved From an Anti-Smoking Tool to a Beloved Collector's Item

Early in its history, the candy company made a strategic move to find its most successful market

As municipalities determined what public activities should or shouldn’t be permitted, people were puzzling through their own choices about how to celebrate the holidays.

What the Pandemic Christmas of 1918 Looked Like

Concerns about the safety of gift shopping, family gatherings and church services were on Americans' minds then, too

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