Christmas | KERA News


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.

For many American Jews, Christmas Day means Chinese food and movies. But how do American Muslims spend their time on Christmas?

Jesus is also revered as a prophet in Islam. "Muslims and Christians believe that Jesus is the only messiah," explains Hisham Mahmoud, an Arabic teacher at Harvard University. He points out that Jesus' mother, Mary, is considered by Muslims to be a saint. "In fact, there's an entire chapter in the Quran called 'Mary,' and the story of Jesus' birth is recounted in that chapter," he says.

Hayden Crawford

Every year a bakery in Corsicana churns out 1 million fruitcakes. Despite the bruised reputation of the traditional treat, the fruitcake still sells worldwide.

Galleria Dallas

The tallest indoor Christmas tree in the country has just gone up at the center of Galleria Dallas. More than a dozen engineers and so-called décor experts recently helped get the tree ready for its annual appearance. 

Courtney Collins / KERA News

When you look back on the trends of 2014, one thing’s clear. Flora and fauna were in.

The Dallas Arboretum saw record breaking attendance last year, up 34 percent from the year before.

Joel Bernstein / 'Songs From A Prarie Girl'

Not since Wham!’s 1984 single “Last Christmas” has a holiday song been accepted widely into the canon. The good ones made later usually follow the lead of the classics in at least one way: they pine for another time or place. Music historian Ted Gioia, author of The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire and the forthcoming Love Songs: A Hidden History, explains why the past - or our idea of it - is a comfort each season.

You can listen to our special audio holiday card here.

Santa sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake ... but how does he do it? Sure, the elves lend a hand — but, as it turns out, hours of surveillance video make the job a lot easier.

This year, we present an audio Christmas card to share the real* story on how the North Pole decides who's naughty or nice.

Eric Aasen / KERA News

When you're going to an ugly Christmas sweater party, the uglier the better. Some are finding the perfect outfit at a pop-up sweater store in East Dallas called the Ugly Christmas Sweater Shop. The owner has attracted national publicity for his sweater love.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

It’s hard to picture classic holiday toys without imagining a shiny, electric train.  Multiply that vision by 100, and you’ll get an idea of the annual tradition known as the Trains at NorthPark.

It’s one of the few places you can take a train ride from San Francisco to New York in just a couple minutes.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Holidays can be tough for any family. But when family includes a child or children in foster care, the stressors can multiply. One foster mom in Tarrant County shares her story. (And just a note: We’re identifying the mother and her adopted children only by their first names, at her request.)

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

At homes throughout North Texas, many parents are wrapping gifts thanks to the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. Over the past several weeks, thousands of North Texans have donated toys and clothes.

But how do those gifts get to kids in time for Christmas? Credit scores of helpful volunteers.

Nine Things You Need To Know About Making Tamales

Dec 24, 2013

Tamales are as much a part of the holidays as eggnog, caroling and fruitcake. It’s not just the food itself, but the family effort to make them which makes tamales so special. Fronteras contributor Yvette Benavides explains the 9 rules for making the perfect Christmas tamale.

Bignestegg / Flickr

Five stories that have North Texas talking: The Cowboys make backup plans for Romo’s absence, school districts struggle with large class sizes, Ryan O’Neal wins court battle over Fawcett portrait, and more:

Arlington Police Department

Consider it a perfect Christmas gift for a cop.

The Arlington police chief will be working Christmas Day, giving an officer a well-deserved day off.

Chief Will D. Johnson recently announced a holiday photo caption contest for evening shift officers. Officers wrote a caption to accompany a silly posed photograph, which included K9 Mojo standing near several boxes of doughnuts (of course) and a would-be burglar running off with an old television.

Homeless For The Holidays

Dec 18, 2012

While holiday traditions celebrate family and friends, commentator Rawlins Gilliland shares how Christmas became the catalyst for him to reach a mentally lost and homeless soul.

Russ / Flickr

We consulted UNT’s Steve Wiest, the jazzman who directs the famed One O’Clock Lab Band, about the particulars of terrible tunes. Turns out, there is an explanation.

Last year, drought killed the grown-in-Texas Christmas tree business. This year brought more rain, but as NPR's StateImpact Texas reports, the remaining evergreens are pretty scrawny, and many buyers are looking elsewhere.

Perry for President — Again?

Nov 29, 2012
Courtney Collins / KERA News

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Triumph of the "Overly Attached Girlfriend," Powerball potential, a burlesque Nutcracker and more.

Could DIY Divorce Mean More Exes In Texas?

Nov 15, 2012
TRoyal /

Five stories that have North Texas talking: New divorce rules, cheap flights, a tree made of cars and more.

Aaron Brown / (cc) flickr

We all gripe about pricey airfare over the holidays. But if you use a few simple tips, it’s not too late to book less expensive travel.

Gage Skidmore (cc) flickr

Gov. Rick Perry's name will not be on Virginia's March 6 Republican presidential primary ballot.  The Republican Party of Virginia said Friday that Perry's campaign had failed to gather the required 10,000 signatures of registered voters, the threshold to get on the primary ballot.


For the fourth year, World Vision has commissioned a survey on holiday giving. It finds most Americans cutting back on how much they’ll spend on gifts again this year. But charitable giving is making somewhat of a comeback.  KERA’s BJ Austin reports. 



Once again, KERA is inviting you to tell us about all the things that bring meaning and fulfillment to your holiday season.

Do you fill your kitchen with irresistible aromas that draw family and friends to your table?  Perhaps you take part in spiritual services, read stories to your children or deck the halls with bright lights and a tree.

Click here to read dozens of traditions sent in by KERA listeners all over North Texas - or share your own!