Christmas

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Star of Bethlehem May Have Been Something Much Rarer

We might not be able to expect Jesus back for another 500K years at least

(Newser) - Christmas cards and carols have been lying to us for years. The Bible says the Star of Bethlehem—or "Christmas Star"—was followed by Magi bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the birthplace of Jesus. But one Notre Dame professor says the famous star wasn't... More »

Santa Larry Breaks Mall of America's Santa Color Barrier

The mall has a black Santa for the first time ever

(Newser) - No matter what Megyn Kelly says , Santa Claus isn't just white. And we know that because for the first time in 24 years, the Santa Experience at the Mall of America in Minnesota will have a black Santa, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. "Anybody can be Santa; it’s... More »

New Zealand 'Wins Christmas' With Nationwide Secret Santa

A warning: It involves 'light stalking'

(Newser) - Some 2,000 Kiwis will receive holiday gifts this year—from complete strangers. A New Zealand man came up with the idea for a nationwide Secret Santa exchange in 2010, in which Twitter users were assigned another user for whom they were to buy. New Zealand Post has taken the... More »

SUV Filled With Christmas Gifts Didn't Really Have Gifts: Cops

Try $330K worth of pot, THC pills, and hash wax oil, Ohio police say

(Newser) - What happens in California should stay in California—especially if what happened was someone meticulously wrapping $330,000 worth of THC pills, hash wax oil, and marijuana (about 71 pounds) like Christmas presents, UPI reports. Instead, per an Ohio State Highway Patrol press release , 31-year-old Daniel Yates apparently decided to... More »

And Now ... a Hipster Nativity Scene

All yours for $130

(Newser) - It's that time of year when stories about Nativity scenes begin making headlines, and in this case, it involves an oh-so-modern twist. It seems the website Modern Nativity is selling a "Hipster Nativity Set" for $129.99, and it's drawing some attention. Think "Joseph" taking a... More »

Chin Up: This Is the Lightest You'll Weigh This Entire Year

Once you gain those holiday pounds, it'll take about five months to lose them

(Newser) - The good news is you're probably lighter now than you were at any other point so far this year. The bad news is you're about to pack on the pounds again, and it'll take months to lose them. So report researchers out of Cornell and Finland in... More »

Girl With Cancer Gets Final, Unforgettable Christmas

'In the worst of circumstances we have seen the best in others'

(Newser) - A 4-year-old Virginia girl given months to live in September held on for one final Christmas before passing away Tuesday, reports WTVR . But thanks to friends, neighbors, and complete strangers, Virginia Rose Vandermark had a magical Christmas before Dec. 25 hit. According to ABC News , Virginia was diagnosed with acute... More »

Septuagenarians Find Out They're Long-Lost Sisters

Pennsylvania women say the discovery is a Christmas miracle

(Newser) - Barbara Smith didn't find any firearms or wooden PS4s underneath her Christmas tree this year—instead, she got a sister, the AP reports. The 78-year-old woman from Pottsville, Pa., tells the Progress she received a call from a man named Carl Trusiak last week, and he delivered astounding news:... More »

This Is the 'PS4' a Boy Got for Christmas

It was a wooden fake purchased at Target

(Newser) - "This is the best present ever, thank you, Santa!" was 9-year-old Scott Lundy's initial reaction when he unwrapped his big gift Christmas morning: a Sony PS4. But that exuberance quickly turned to tears when Scott and his dad, Brian, actually opened up the box to set the... More »

Convenience Store Executive Works 40th Straight Xmas

If his employees work, then he does, too

(Newser) - A New Jersey convenience store executive has fulfilled his Christmas tradition of working in one of the company's stores for the 40th consecutive year. QuickChek Senior Vice President Mike Murphy worked Friday at a store in Mount Arlington. Murphy says he's always felt he should work the holiday... More »

Grinch Takes Food, Walkers From Retirement Home

But the community made sure Christmas still came

(Newser) - Residents of an adult living community in Vermont awoke Christmas morning to find that a Grinch-y thief or thieves had stolen food, gifts, and walkers overnight. Vermont State Police say the National Church Residences Village Manor in Pittsford was hit sometime Thursday by a thief or thieves who pinched Christmas... More »

British Choir Thwarts Bieber, Snags No. 1 Hit

With his blessing

(Newser) - It's a merry little Christmas for Britain's National Health Service Choir, which pulled off something of an upset and snagged the nation's No. 1 holiday hit and in so doing denied the top spot to Justin Bieber—with an assist from Bieber himself. The choir's mashup... More »

In Restive Bethlehem, an Uneasy Christmas

Fighting casts a pall on West Bank town as it celebrates signature holiday

(Newser) - Christian faithful from around the world on Thursday descended on the biblical city of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations at the traditional birthplace of Jesus, trying to lift spirits on a holiday dampened by months of Israeli-Palestinian violence. The fighting cast a pall. Crowds were thin and hotel rooms were... More »

Feds Open US Border —to Santa's Reindeer

'USDA wants to do everything in its power to help Santa'

(Newser) - If you wake up Christmas morning and don't find any gifts from Santa under the tree, don't blame the federal government. On Wednesday, the USDA issued permits to Santa's reindeer to come and go through any of the country's northern border ports beginning Christmas Eve and... More »

After Viewing Xmas Lights, a Family's Double Tragedy

Texas brother and sister killed after their car is rear-ended

(Newser) - A Texas family's ride to view a Christmas lights display ended in tragedy Monday night when their car was rear-ended, killing the two oldest kids, WFAA reports. The Haltom City mom and dad and their three children had just completed a drive-through of the Christmas lights extravaganza at Texas... More »

Our Xmas Lights Use More Power Than Some Countries

And they only account for 0.2% of US consumption

(Newser) - America's Christmas lights, even those that don't rival the Griswolds' , guzzle a staggering amount of electricity when compared to power use overall in other countries, according to researchers at the Center for Global Development . The festive lights use around 6.6 billion kilowatt-hours a year, according to the... More »

'Panicking' Girl Calls 911 Over Elf on the Shelf

Isabelle LaPeruta thought she had ruined Christmas

(Newser) - 'Tis the season for adorable emergencies. NBC New York reports a 7-year-old New Jersey girl called 911 after unintentionally disturbing her family's Elf on the Shelf. And as any Elf on the Shelf owner knows, Elves on the Shelf only have one rule: "Please do not touch... More »

Science Explains Importance of Rudolph's Red Nose

Blue light cannot cut through the fog

(Newser) - They may not have sorted out how Santa's reindeer can fly, but scientists say there is an optical explanation for just how beneficial it is that Rudolph's nose burns red and bright. Reporting in the journal Frontiers for Young Minds , a Dartmouth anthropology professor says that Arctic reindeer... More »

Man Opens Fireplace, Finds Century-Old Letters to Santa

Missives in NYC apartment belonged to turn-of-the-century Irish immigrant family

(Newser) - When Peter Mattaliano decided to redo the fireplace in his NYC apartment, he called his construction-savvy brother to help him bust open the sealed unit. "We were joking that we might find Al Capone's money," Mattaliano tells the New York Times . "Then my brother yelled to... More »

How a Grinch Sultan Stole Christmas

By threatening those celebrating publicly with 5 years in prison

(Newser) - Don't be caught wearing a Santa hat in Brunei unless you want to spend the next five years in prison. Hassanal Bolkiah, the sultan of the Muslim country on Borneo, has banned "the act of celebrating Christmas excessively and openly" for fear it could lead to "tasyabbuh... More »

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