December means the winter holidays are upon us. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years, Solstice, and all your favorite wintertime traditions. Celebrate with some seasonal scholarship below. All stories contain free links to the supporting academic research on JSTOR. Happy Holidays!
Merry Christmas from the Wellcome Collection
December 16, 2021
Enjoy these historical Christmas images from the Wellcome Collection.
Christmas, Inc.: A Brief History of the Holiday Card
December 20, 2015
Americans still purchase approximately 1.6 billion holiday cards a year. What about this old-fashioned tradition appeals to so many?
The Rise and Fall of Montana’s Christmas-Tree Harvest
December 14, 2020
Douglas firs weren't great for lumber, but they once made the small town of Eureka the Christmas-tree capital of America.
The Gendering of Holiday Labor
December 21, 2019
Women in heterosexual relationships still do most of the domestic work. During the holiday season, the tasks multiply.
Celebrating Solstice the Ancient Greek Way
December 21, 2016
The winter solstice Festival of Poseidon was epic.
Wreath-Making in National Parks? In Mexico, Yes
December 23, 2021
Mexico created its national parks system in the 1930s. Today, hundreds of thousands of people live, and work, within its boundaries.
What is Kwanzaa?
December 28, 2015
A look at the history of Kwanzaa and how it has evolved since it was founded by Maulana Ronald Karenga.
Santa and Mrs. Claus and the Christmas War of the Sexes
December 8, 2020
In the late nineteenth century, bachelor Santa got married. Unsurprisingly, Mrs. Claus contributed uncompensated labor to the Claus household.
How Hanukkah Became “Jewish Christmas”
December 24, 2016
For most of the Jewish world, Hanukkah is a minor holiday. What happened in America?
The Class Perceptions of Christmas Decorations in Great Britain
December 9, 2015
In the U.K., Christmas decorations are often associated with the lower-class, and such visibility has been scorned and criticized.
Mele Kalikimaka! How To Say “Merry Christmas” In Hawaiian
December 22, 2015
Translating "Merry Christmas" into Hawaiian offers insight into the language's modest inventory of consonants.
10 Classic Christmas Stories
December 16, 2016
We've gathered up some of our favorite literary takes on Christmas.
What Poinsettias Have to do with U.S.-Mexico Relations
December 23, 2016
Poinsettias were named for the first US diplomat to Mexico. The flower was more successful than he was. How it went from Aztec dye to Christmas decoration.
The First “War on Christmas”
December 2, 2015
The controversy over Jesus' birthday has gone on for centuries.
Are Classroom Holiday Parties Constitutional?
December 6, 2017
Can schools let students and teachers celebrate religions holidays without violating the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause?
What Santa Claus Looks Like
December 14, 2016
Where does the figure of Santa Claus come from? Turns out the answer is not "the North Pole." And he's not just about Christianity, either.
Why We Give Children Toys for Christmas
November 28, 2016
Giving children toys for Christmas first became a thing in early nineteenth century England.
How Charles Dickens Set the American Christmas Dinner Table
December 25, 2016
How did a religious celebration turn into a holiday that is all about home, family, and Christmas dinner? Turns out Charles Dickens has a lot to do with it.
What Gift-Giving Research Tells Us About Giving Tech Gadgets
December 12, 2017
Whatever the gift, it’s worth stopping to think about how much we really want to entangle our gift-giving with the digital realm.
How Victorians’ Fear of Starvation Created Our Christmas Lore
December 24, 2017
One scholar sees more in the Christmas food of authors like Charles Dickens—English national identity and class.
Pirating Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, in the 1840s
December 16, 2019
When Parley's Illuminated Library published a pirated version of A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens decided he had had enough.
Only You Can Prevent Useless Gifts
December 8, 2019
Is it time for a revival of the Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving (SPUG)?
A Holiday Gift Guide from a JSTOR Daily Gift Fanatic
December 7, 2020
Splurges for that scholarly curmudgeon in your life who has a critique of capitalism but still likes to have nice things.
Nittel Nacht: The Jewish Christmas Eve
December 16, 2020
'Twas the night before Christmas, and an undead Jesus walked the earth. No wonder early modern Jews played games and sang songs to scare him off.
Wren Folklore and St. Stephen’s Day
December 26, 2020
The tiny winter songbirds are clever kings to the Irish. They're also fodder (literally) for post-Christmas ritual.