The 200 or so volunteer “elves” at the Santa Claus museum in Indiana respond to about 20,000 letters each year.

What Happens to All Those Letters Sent to Santa?

Believe it or not, most get answered

Middlebury College Archivist Danielle Rougeau holds a Christmas card sent by poet Robert Frost in 1962, shortly before his death.

Catch a Rare Viewing of Robert Frost's Cheery, Dreary, Dark Christmas Cards

The poet’s annual Christmas cards, made in compilation with printer Joe Blumenthal, were not necessarily traditional, but they were always beautiful

The tradition of decorative gingerbread dates back to the Middle Ages.

The Un-Christmassy Origin of Gingerbread Houses

This tradition dates back to the story of Hansel and Gretel

Is This St. Nicolas' Pelvis Bone?

Oxford researchers have determined that a bone fragment purportedly from St. Nicholas comes from the same century in which he died

Lanterns in Medellín, Colombia.

Colombia Begins the Christmas Season With These Beautiful Light Displays

Día de las Velitas is celebrated on the day before the celebration of the Immaculate Conception

Holmes and Watson have had years of adventures together, but the first time they ever appeared in print was in a story Arthur Conan Doyle set in Utah.

The Creator of Sherlock Holmes Was, Like Many Victorians, Fascinated by Mormons

The first story featuring iconic detective Sherlock Holmes, 'A Study in Scarlet,' was published on this day in 1887—and set in Mormon Utah

Charles Brown (far right) with fellow Blazers (from left) Johnny Moore and Eddie Williams.

Who Really Wrote "Merry Christmas, Baby"

The co-author of a classic holiday song still can’t catch a break

The sarcophagus at St. Nicholas church in Demre looted by crusaders, which archaeologists now believe did not contain the Saint's remains.

Turkey Claims It's Found Saint Nicholas' Crypt

Archaeologists say the body was not stolen by crusaders in the 11th century and is still located below a church in Demre

A dog eats a special Christmas cake in Tokyo, celebrating with the festive red and white dessert. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

Why the Japanese Eat Cake For Christmas

A tradition beginning in war and ending in cake

Boo! Telling ghost stories on Christmas was a tradition for hundreds of years. Here, Marley's ghost surprises Ebenezer Scrooge in an illustration from the first edition of the classic tale.

Why Do People Tell Ghost Stories on Christmas?

Christmas ghost stories are a tradition going back much farther than "A Christmas Carol"

Needle drop is one of the traits plant scientists at the Christmas Tree Research Center at Dalhousie University are hoping to improve.

Can Science Produce a Longer Lasting Christmas Tree?

LED Christmas lights make the needles hold on longer, and other discoveries from the world’s only Christmas tree research center

The National Menorah and one of the state Christmas trees near the White House in 2009.

Someday, Maybe We’ll Have Hanukkah in July

Hanukkah and Christmas fall on the same day this year because not everyone follows the same calendar

Santa opens the Christmas season at Santa's Village in Rovaniemi, Finland.

Where Does Santa Live? The North Pole Isn't Always the Answer

Santa Claus is usually good news for tourism—but more than one place lays claim to his legend

Holiday spices have a long history, stretching back hundreds of years. (Alamy)

How the Crusades Helped Create Your Gingerbread Latte

Spices have been shaping cuisine for thousands of years, especially around the Christmas season

The Patents Behind Christmas Sugar Confections

The popularity of candy canes and ribbon candy has a lot to do with 20th-century machines that sped up production

Nazi Christmas ornaments

The Nazis Fought the Original War on Christmas

As they rose to power, party leaders sought to redefine the holiday to suit their own political needs

The first edition of A Christmas Carol. The illustration on the left is of Mr. Fezziwig's ball, one of Scrooge's good memories.

Why Charles Dickens Wrote 'A Christmas Carol'

The beloved story sold 6,000 copies in its first week in print and 15,000 in its first year

Marshall Field's was as much a part of Chicago's soul as the Lakefront and the Cubs.

For Generations of Chicagoans, Marshall Field’s Meant Business, and Christmas

The midwestern mainstay transformed commerce into a communal holiday spectacle

Each Christmas, Iceland’s Yule Cat Takes Fashion Policing to the Extreme

The Jólakötturinn will make you thankful for those Christmas socks

New York City's Holiday Vintage Subway Trains Are Back

Go back in time, underground

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