The Real Story of St. Nicholas and the True Meaning of Christmas

When I wandered into the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor recently, a special showing of Miracle on 34th Street dampened my Christmas spirit. I plopped down in one of the old theater’s restored Beaux Arts seats during the scene where Santa explains The True Meaning of Christmas to a Macy’s janitor. Santa launches into a … Continued

Culture

Why Christmas Music is Good For Us

The song “All I Want for Christmas is You” is everywhere this time of year. It plays constantly on the radio, in stores and malls across the country, and no doubt serves as the soundtrack of the dreams (or nightmares) of those poor store workers who are forced to listen to it dozens of times … Continued

Culture

How to Combat Materialism at Christmas

Americans spend a lot on Christmas gifts. According to Gallup, they plan to spend $900 per person, the most since 2007. With Black Friday sales at your fingertips online, and credit cards readily available, it’s easy to do. Not to mention, if you’re naturally a gift-giving person or have children, it’s nothing but sheer joy … Continued

Culture

For Christmas, Give Books that Last a Lifetime

Some of the best presents you can give to people over the holidays, or give yourself, are lavish books. I’m not talking about normal books, even the nice hardbacks from the display rack at Barnes & Noble. I mean beautifully crafted, very expensive books that will last a lifetime. Such books, only offered by special … Continued

Culture

Why ‘Elf’ is a Terrible Christmas Movie

I hold a lot of controversial pop culture opinions. I think Friends is unfunny, Beyoncé is vastly overrated, and The Force Awakens is the best Star Wars installment. I am completely prepared to defend every one of these views—come at me Star Wars nerds, I dare you—but my thoughts on pop culture rarely have an … Continued

Entertainment

Understanding the Collective Freak-Out Over Melania Trump’s White House Christmas Decorations

The holidays are the season for high-caloric treats—and so far there’s been nothing so high-caloric as the Christmas pudding of fruity overblown rhetoric from the media mavens horrified over First Lady Melania Trump’s White House Yule decorations. No sooner did Melania unveil her winter wonderland with a videotaped walk-through than press people began scrounging every … Continued

Politics

Why Christians Shouldn’t Let Go of Christmas

Earlier this year, conservative author Rod Dreher called for Christians to stage a “strategic withdrawal” from the secular world in order to preserve their values in a culture that is increasingly hostile to faith. He described this as “the Benedict option.” Now, an Irish priest has proposed a sort of Benedict option for the holiday … Continued

Culture

Why Holidays Offend Feminists

Long before political arguments were the basis for thousands of think pieces and blog guides for how to survive this year’s holiday rituals such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah, my family perfected the art of the tense holiday meal. One year, for example, drinks were thrown and nobody noticed I had Super Glued my hands … Continued

Culture

Why You Should Give Gifts to Your Kid’s Pediatrician

Last year around this time was a stressful season in the Mandel house. My almost one-year-old son had been deemed “failure to thrive” and hadn’t gained weight or grown in months. He was vomiting or spitting up (depending on your definition) upwards of thirty times a day and woke up every ninety minutes starving, needing … Continued

Culture

The Problem With Christmas Cards

‘Tis not the season to be sacrilegious, but nonetheless, at the risk of sounding irreverent, I propose the following: If Jesus were among us today, he would not celebrate the season by sending expensive, staged snapshots of himself to everyone in his address book. In fact, the very prospect might actually anger him to the … Continued

Culture