So hear you are again, up to your elbows in the holidays. And maybe—again—you're doing it all by rote. And possibly you've wondered: Why exactly do I do this? We're here to tell you why. Yes, Virginia, there are reasons—meaningful, moving, profoundly human reasons—for the candles, the carols, the shopping, the decorations, even the fruitcake. It may be gray and cold outside, but look: The holiday glow just got a little brighter.

Winter sceneTo Banish the Darkness
Wherever we live, whatever our traditions, our winter celebrations have one primal thing in common. Kate Braestrup sees the light.

Holiday spirit O Come, All Ye Free Spirits
Feel as if none of the standard holidays suits you? Paul Rudnick discovers that there's something to be said for inventing your own.

Holiday turkeyNo Mean Feast
Even in an age of plenty, there are things we hunger for. Celia Barbour takes a lesson from the ghost of glorious Christmas dinners past.

Rickey Minor A Joyful Noise
If holiday songs bring back memories, music man Rickey Minor says join the chorus.

Presents Presents, Accounted For
Cintra Wilson dares to shop for a few people who have everything, and unwraps the real point of giving gifts.

CrecheShelter from the Storm
Buffeted by change and unexpected sorrow, Catherine Newman finds comfort in a $3.99 crèche.

Fruitcake Behold, the Fruitcake
Tom Chiarella on what a much-maligned baked good can teach us about faith.


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