U.S. Catholic

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Why are Advent candles pink and purple?

Article Author: Kathleen ManningIn a season filled with red Santa suits and green Christmas trees, the purple and pink candles of the Advent wreath …

Decorations

Who invented the nativity scene?

On Christmas Eve 1223, St. Francis created the first nativity in the Italian city of Greccio. With the help of a local nobleman, Francis celebrated …

20 years ago in U.S. Catholic: Put something different under the tree

<i>By Mary Clare Brady</i><p><i>This article appeared in the December 1993 issue of</i> U.S. Catholic <i>(Vol. 58, No. 12, pages 31-33).</i><p>“It was the best of times, it was …

Santa vs. St. Nick

There seems to be a movement to reclaim the celebration of St. Nicholas Day.<p>A German Catholic aid organization made news well before the holiday …

Do you take your values Christmas shopping?

What parent doesn't want to make their children's wishes come true at Christmas, to see their little eyes light up as they tear off the wrapping …

Light up your Advent: Resources to make the most of the season

Have yourself a merry little Christmas--but don't let Advent pass you by.<p>Advent is here, and the countdown to Christmas is on. But don't get too hung …

Pining for Advent: How a Christmas tree can get you in the holiday spirit

A Christmas tree can spruce up our preparation for the holiday.<p>Christmas trees are a big deal in my family. To avenge her parents’ annual …

What are the ‘12 days of Christmas’?

As we’re reminded every Advent, our Catholic Christmas customs are somewhat at odds with the secular “holiday season,” which starts before …

A survival guide to a fairly happy holiday

We’ve all seen the Hallmark version: the loving, happy, laughing family gathered around the Christmas tree.<p>Then there’s real life.<p>Father John Cusick, …

Five ways to calm down Christmas

<i>By Dan Grippo</i><p><i>This article appeared in the December 1979 issue of</i> U.S. Catholic <i>(Vol. 44, No. 12, pages 23-24).</i><p>Christmas. I’m sick of fighting my way …

Get wrapped up in family traditions this Christmas

From visiting friends and neighbors to making Aunt Cleo's green Jell-O mold, holiday customs connect our everyday stories to the larger story of God …

Discomfort and joy: U.S. Catholic readers on the Christmas spirit

<i>U.S. Catholic</i> readers unwrap the things they love—and dread—about the Christmas season.<p>Christmas, as the old song goes, can be “the most wonderful …

Hollywood's hidden Christmas gems

The question of what makes a movie ideal for Christmas, the day we commemorate and celebrate Jesus’ birth, is subjective. It often depends completely …

The more days the merrier: Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas

This year, hand on heart, I saw Christmas decorations for sale on October 1. When I was little, we didn’t even start thinking about Christmas until …

How to do Christmas right for kids

<i>Molly Jo Rose is a regular contributor to</i> U.S. Catholic<i> magazine and a new online columnist for</i> uscatholic.org<i>. Her column,</i> In and Of the World<i>,</i> …

Christmas Trees

Have yourself a defiant little Christmas

Article Author: John SheaIn those long ago days of Christmas innocence when it always snowed gently in a starry and windless night, my parents would …

Where are you, Christmas?

There’s a commercial that I see everywhere lately. A little girl and her dad are working on a volcano for her science fair. But something goes wrong …

Science

Are there rules for decorating the church during the holidays?

Article Author: Victoria M. TufanoThere are surprisingly few official rules about decorating churches, much to the chagrin of those who have been …

Gifts of the Magi

Perhaps this should have waited for the Epiphany. But then I could never wait at Christmas, even as child.I’ve always loved stories of the three …

Christianity

Unexpected Christmas stories

Article Author: Meghan Murphy-GillYou know how parents claim they could never truly understand X, Y, or Z until they had children of their own? I’ve …

Education
Theology

Ghosts of Christians past: The church’s long history of spooks and hauntings

In <i>The Epic of Gilgamesh</i>, viewed by many as the oldest surviving piece of literature in the world, parts of which date to two millennia before Christ, …

Paranormal activity: Do Catholics believe in ghosts?

About 10 years ago, Marla Fisher and her husband, Everett, were leaving their Pasadena, Texas ranch-style home for a weekend getaway. As Everett …

Searching for life's unexplained mysteries in ghost hunting shows

Thanks to the explosion of reality TV over the past decade, at the click of a button on a remote control, American viewers of the small screen have …

Faith

Let's bump back at the things that go bump in the night

My aunt, Mary Pat, sure knew how to throw a party. I have incredibly fond memories of going to her house on holidays, but my favorite was always …