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holidays

Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard tell stories of Christmas at Seattle's Town Hall.
Courtesy of Jean Sherrard

For the last 10 years, a troop of Seattle actors have gathered to tell holiday stories. Although sometimes Grinchy, these stories have always been festive and delightful.

America’s first ‘War on Christmas’

Dec 23, 2015
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Howard Pyle

It's pretty common to hear people complaining about the so-called "War on Christmas." Whoever designs the cups at Starbucks knows what we’re talking about.

But the US relationship with the Christian holiday is pretty complex.

Did you know, for example, that Christmas used to be illegal in Massachusetts and much of New England? And it remained taboo in that part of the country until at least ­1870, when the Feds declared it a national holiday.

Mike DiCecco carrying a Christmas tree
Courtesy of MJD Distributors Garden Center

Have you ever heard of the Chubby and Tubby variety stores? Back in the day they were a Seattle institution. They were known for cheap Converse shoes, cheap fishing supplies, cheap everything. 

It's been about 12 years since the Chubby and Tubby stores shut down, but it turns out their cheap Christmas tree tradition lives on.

What makes for a truly merry Christmas? Is your time better spent picking perfect, personalized gifts and decorating your home, or enjoying holiday cheer with family and friends?

A TSA bomb-sniffing dog.
Courtesy of TSA/Lorie Dankers

More than a million people are expected to pass through Sea-Tac airport this week and next.

More people means more chances for long lines and bottlenecks. But the airport has been working on ways to avoid that. Sea-Tac spokesperson Perry Cooper said the TSA has brought in more helpers to speed up the lines: bomb-sniffing dogs.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Or A Virtual Visit From St. Marco

With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, who first published his version 192 years ago today.

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land
Not one candidate spoke — no, not even Rand.
Not a voice could be heard at a town hall or forum,
Not even Pataki or poor Rick Santorum.

A headline for a chart caught our eye this week: "US Holiday Lights Use More Electricity than El Salvador Does In a Year."

Courtesy of StoryCorps

At the StoryCorps booth in Seattle's  New Holly neighborhood last summer, Anne Delvecchio and Larry Valdez talked about how a chance encounter with Santa Claus helped save a life.

Panettone may have once sounded exotic, but these days, the dome-shaped Italian fruit bread is readily available on American grocery store shelves. And if you're ready to expand your repertoire of global holiday breads, there are many more yeasty, doughy traditions to nibble on. And they all remind us how expensive, imported fruits — like Greek currants and Italian candied citrus peel — have long been a part of our most treasured Christmas foods.

Here, a brief tour of five other fruited holiday breads from around the world.

Julekake

'Week in Review' panel Bill Radke, Joni Balter, Paul Guppy and Pramila Jayapal.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Does Star Wars teach kids that people are either good or bad, dark or light? Do college students need to toughen their skins? Can we make a football coach pray alone? Can Santa be a woman?

Bill Radke solves this week’s dilemmas with state Senator Pramila Jayapal, Seattle Channel's Joni Balter and Washington Policy Center's Paul Guppy.

This Christmas, Gabriel Quesada is 'Black Santa.'
Keenan Hart/From Bottom 2 Top Photography

When Gabriel Quesada was growing up in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood, his uncles told him they knew Santa.

But every Santa he saw was white, and his uncles were black.

"It just didn't make sense to me," Quesada said.

There's a cheeky reference to a troubled Seattle droid in this shot. See it? If not, click through to the next image.
Courtesy of Sheraton Seattle

Right now in the lobby of the Sheraton in downtown Seattle is an ambitious project six months in the making: A gingerbread village made of hundreds of pounds of candy and cookies capturing the struggle of rebels, Jedi and Imperial forces.

Tenor Marty Mullin at Cantare Vocal Ensemble rehearsal.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

If you Google “Puget Sound community chorales,” more than 100 groups pop up, from small Eastern European folk ensembles to the 250-member Northwest Girls’ Choir.

Thanksgiving dinnr food
Flickr Photo/Dan Tentler (CC BY NC 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1SXlIOE

In advance of the Thanksgiving holiday, The Record brought in a panel to talk about some of the key issues happening in the news.

  • Race and justice issues provoked protests at college campuses in Washington state and all over the country this month. Students of color are calling for safer spaces on campus. 
  • The Seattle City Council said no to increasing parental leave from four weeks to 12.  
  • And how do you talk politics with your family on Thanksgiving?

Bill Radke talks over the news with Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez, journalist Erica C. Barnett and University of Washington philosophy professor Michael Blake.

Other guests include Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer, Columbia journalism professor Todd Gitlin, and Lizzie Post, co-host of the podcast Amazing Etiquette.

Editor's note: This story was originally posted last year. Some information was updated on Nov. 22, 2016.

The annual presidential turkey pardoning event at the White House is a strange one. This year is President Obama's eighth and last one, but he still seems confused.

"It is a little puzzling that I do this every year," Obama said in 2014.

"I know some folks think this tradition is a little silly," he said a year later. "I do not disagree."

The president has made the event something of an annual dad joke.

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