For Generations of Chicagoans, Marshall Field’s Meant Business—and Christmas

The Midwestern Mainstay Transformed Commerce Into a Communal Holiday Spectacle

Christmas has not been celebrated at Chicago’s Marshall Field’s department stores since 2005, but mention the name to just about any Windy City native, and it will plunge them back into the childhood wonder of the flagship downtown shopping emporium during the holiday season. Gazing up at the towering evergreen of the Walnut Room, glittering ornaments weighing on its boughs. Winding through lines for Cozy Cloud Cottage, waiting for a moment with Santa. Marveling at the elaborate holiday windows along State Street, and savoring that first bite of a …

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In the Birthplace of Juneteenth, I Learned the Value of the Holiday

The Annual Commemoration of Slavery’s End Should Be Celebrated Far Beyond Its Texas Island Roots

When my husband and I moved to Galveston, an island city on the Gulf Coast of Texas, in 1991, I was exhausted by racial hatred and violence, and Juneteenth was …

Where Does Santa Call Ho-Ho-Home?

Nordic Countries Are Battling to Claim the Legend's Address, but Maybe It's Better Not to Know

In my neighborhood, everyone gets a chance to live with Santa.

Östanfors, an old miners’ district in the town of Falun, Sweden, has a longstanding tradition of moving Old Saint …

The Tenacious Woman Who Helped Deliver Mother’s Day to the U.S.

For Anna Jarvis, a Holiday Devoted to Moms Was Not Sentimental Fluff, But a Practical Exercise in Patriotism

One hundred years ago last May, President Woodrow Wilson signed the first congressional resolution and presidential proclamation calling upon all citizens to display the national flag in honor of American …

When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Cinco de Mayo

In One California Town, a Holiday Co-Opted by Beer Companies Has Roots in a Celebrated Citrus Crop

What’s with Cinco de Mayo, anyways?

Corporate advertisers treat it as the de facto Mexican Day, if not Latino Day, in this country. In 1998, the United States Post Office …

How America Invented St. Patrick’s Day

Immigration and Nativism Transformed a Quiet Religious Celebration into a Day of Raucous Parades and Shamrock Shakes

When I was growing up in Britain in the 1970s, St. Patrick’s Day didn’t exist. The conflict in Northern Ireland was at its bloodiest, and it was not a time …