Holidays | KERA News

Holidays

Christians around the world gathered on Sunday to mark the end of Holy Week and celebrate Easter.

Festivities took on many forms. While some worshippers reenacted the Passion of the Christ, others gathered for candlelit services or colorful processions.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre / The Texas Tribune

It took Ciudad Juárez resident Norma Martinez about 90 minutes just to get halfway through the pedestrian line at the Paso Del Norte Bridge bridge Saturday afternoon.

Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press

No mass, no problem. 

Those hoping to get their ashes on Ash Wednesday, which signifies the first day of Lent for Christians worldwide, can do so from their cars.

Hundreds of couples tied the knot during free mass wedding ceremonies held on the steps of the Bexar County Courthouse on Valentine’s Day.

DART

The holiday season tends to be less safe for drivers, and the early hours on New Year's Day are no exception.

Charlie Fowler recalls this bullet from celebratory gunfire going through his patio on New Year's Eve in 2013. Fowler has lived in the Kessler Park neighborhood of Dallas, Texas for the last 50 years.
Anthony Cave

Shooting your gun into the air on New Year's Eve — or any celebratory gunfire, for that matter — can have deadly consequences. That might seem obvious, but along with party poppers, fireworks and champagne, it remains a staple at some celebrations.

In Portland, Ore., Patrick Donaldson's Christmas party is swinging. Although the living room is filled with lights, flowers, champagne and bacon-wrapped appetizers, people keep leaving the comfy couches and drifting back to the kitchen. And it's not a big kitchen.

"It's about 10-by-12, I would say — small," Donaldson acknowledges of the cooking space in his 1949 duplex. "Sometimes, I've been at parties where the kitchen is even smaller than this, and everybody is pinned in there."

This year, you might find Santa’s village – or something like it – in a retrofitted RV outside the True Value hardware store in Alpine.

You won’t find any reindeer inside. No tinsel or Christmas lights. Just a ham radio on a countertop. But that’s all you need to talk to Santa.

Brooks Creighton, 10, holds a Space Blaster toy at Learning Express Toys and Gifts in Durham, North Carolina. He says he's grown up with BB guns and nerf guns in his home.
Adhiti Bandlamudi / North Carolina Public Radio

Toy guns have been a popular item on Christmas gift wish lists for decades. Little Ralphie Parker from the 1983 holiday classic A Christmas Story spends most of the movie wishing for a "Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle."

Many toy guns look more real than toy, however, which has city officials, law enforcement and safety experts across the country urging parents to use extreme caution when purchasing them for children.

Most Christmas songs are upbeat, such as Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You." Others are funny or loaded with double entendres, such as the Jackson 5's rendition of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." The rest are midnight Mass favorites, such as "Silent Night."

All good. All great.

A quick glance at the place where West Alexis and Secor roads meet in Toledo, Ohio, reveals just another intersection of concrete and capitalism: A Western Union, a gym and a chicken joint frame the flow of traffic. But out of a crack in the curb, a scrawny weed pushes forth that has come to embody a city's holiday cheer.

University of Toledo student Alyssa Emrick, 20, tells NPR that she and her family had often driven past the weed recently on their way to and from church. Then on Dec. 9, a light went off for her father, Troy.

The end of the year is a traditional time for gift-giving — lots of gift-giving. Americans typically spend between $800 and $1,000 on holiday gifts.

Holiday shopping can be fun and enjoyable, but why do some of us excessively spend and stress-out trying to acquire and give the "perfect" holiday gifts?

Sippanont Samchai / Flickr

Turn on the radio, walk through a department store, watch just one online ad, and you’re at risk of getting a holiday song stuck in your head. Here's a montage of holiday-season earworms — love ‘em or hate ‘em, and a rundown of the tune KERA staffers just can't shake loose.

Holiday Volunteering In North Texas: A Quick Guide

Nov 22, 2017
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

It’s always a good time to give back to the community. And the holiday season is no exception. Whether it’s your money or time, there are plenty of ways to donate to organizations that feed, clothe and help North Texans get back on their feet.

Rabbi Sholey Klein / Dallas Kosher

Hurricane Harvey flooded homes, bakeries and grocery stores across Houston, forcing many Jewish families who keep kosher to survive on crackers from the corner store.

So North Texas kosher caterers took action, and set off for Houston bearing brisket and much more. 

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.

Brandi Korte via flickr

The holiday shopping season kicks into high gear Friday (and, in the case of a few stores, Thursday night). When you start talking shopping strategies, it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly how differently we all approach the task. 

Lara Solt / KERA special contributor

The pressure to shell out for holiday gifts, decorations, food, travel – it can push families to spend money they just don’t have. KERA is starting a new chapter in our ongoing look at life on the financial edge: One Crisis Away At The Holidays.

To kick things off we trace the modern-day history of retail spending and debt; from department store charge accounts, to wallets packed with plastic.

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. 

Here Are Ways To Survive The Hectic Holiday Homestretch

Dec 22, 2014
Shutterstock

Forget wonderful: For a lot of people, it’s the most stressful time of the year. With shopping lists, travel headaches, endless sweets and family get-togethers, the holiday season can be tough.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

If you’re trying to combine education with entertainment this holiday season you’re not alone. The aisles of kids toys are packed with high-tech gadgets promise to challenge the mind. So which ones are good?

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.

Flickr.com

Some North Texas police departments are about to enforce their “no refusal” policy that cracks down on drunk drivers. It’s becoming a part of the holidays.

100pk / Shutterstock.com

Five stories that have North Texas talking: UPS fails to deliver for thousands of customers, H1N1 claims 5 people in Texas, Dallas locals make the yearly YouTube roundup, and more.

Nine Things You Need To Know About Making Tamales

Dec 24, 2013
Shutterstock

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.

Ash Wednesday, To-Go

Feb 13, 2013
JoAnne Pounds / Oak Lawn United Methodist Church

Like some ashes with your train ticket? How about with your hot chocolate? “Ashes To Go” is one way to participate in Ash Wednesday without even entering a church. Members of Oak Lawn United Methodist in Dallas decided to leave the confines of the church for the start of Lent -- the forty day period before Easter -- and give folks the telltale Ash Wednesday forehead treatment in some untraditional locations. 

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Ken and Cecilia Christopherson are channeling Saint Nick in a very real way.  Part treasure hunter, part master craftsman, Ken builds dollhouses from scratch. Each one takes 100 hours to construct, and each one goes to a very sick child stuck in the hospital for the holidays.

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.

liz_com1981 (cc) flickr

Financial analysts say shoppers scouting for day-after Christmas bargains could put retailers on the road to a record-breaking holiday shopping season. KERA’s Jacqueline Fellows reports.

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