In Louisiana, Mardi Gras comes each year with dozens of parades filled with marching bands, colorful floats and parade-goers who scream, "Throw me something, Mister!"
That "something" the crowd wants are beads. The goal of any Mardi Gras parade is to catch as many as possible. After the revelry, people often have so many beads around their necks they can barely turn their heads.
As Ukrainian Christmas celebrations get underway, the recent political protests in Kiev have been on the forefront of some people's minds this holiday season.
On-going rallies have been held at Independence Square in Kiev in opposition to President Viktor Yanukovych's stand with Russia. Protesters want their former Soviet-country to sign an economic deal with the European Union.
A view of the New Year's Eve fireworks display in Sydney Harbor in Sydney, Australia.
Credit Nikki Short / EPA/Landov
Thousands of Filipinos toot their Torotots (party blowers) during an attempt to break the Guinness record for the "most number of people blowing party blowers simultaneously" in Davao city. Ten-thousand party blowers were expected to make noise there on New Year's Eve.
Credit Ritchie B. Tongo / EPA/Landov
A Buddhist woman prays ahead of the new year at Chogye Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea.
Credit Ahn Young-joon / AP
Balinese girls in traditional costumes gather during a parade for 2013's last sundown in Bali, Indonesia.
Credit Firdia Lisnawati / AP
A reveler poses on New Year's Eve in Amritsar, India.
Credit Narinder Nanu / AFP/Getty Images
New Year's Eve fireworks explode over Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor, marking the start of 2014 near the Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Credit Kin Cheung / AP
People celebrate the New Year during an event for the Count Down Seoul 2014 at the Time Square in Seoul, South Korea.
Credit Park Jin Hee / Xinhua/Landov
People gather to release balloons to celebrate the New Year during an annual countdown ceremony in Tokyo. Some 2,000 balloons were released in the air, carrying with the visitors' wishes.
Credit Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP/Getty Images
People celebrate ahead of New Year's Day in the center of Rosa Khutor, a venue of the Sochi 2014 winter Olympics.
Credit Maxim Shemetov / Reuters/Landov
A lightshow illuminates the Great Wall during a New Year countdown event in Beijing.
Credit Wang Zhao / AFP/Getty Images
A reveler takes part in festivities during a New Year countdown event at the Great Wall in Beijing. Hundreds of people gathered at the Great Wall to celebrate the New Year.
Credit Wang Zhao / AFP/Getty Images
Fireworks explode over Palm Jumeirah in Dubai to celebrate the new year in a dazzling bid for a new world record. The glittering fireworks display that lasted around six minutes spanned over 60 miles of the Dubai coast.
Credit Karim Sahib / AFP/Getty Images
The new year has begun in Australia, where fireworks exploded near Sydney's Harbor Bridge and the Opera House.
There are some holiday songs that should banned. I'm sorry, Burl Ives, but there's really no reason for anybody to have to hear "Holly Jolly Christmas" ever again.
And Little Drummer Boy? There's almost no way to describe the sinking feeling that tune gives me. Except, well, to call it a sinking feeling. On the other hand, I don't mind Mariah Carey singing "All I Want for Christmas Is You," but my producers are pretty much coming though the glass of the control booth at me for saying that.
Armstrong Christmas tree surrounded by presents. Photograph by William Dudley, ca. 1924. Muriel Armstrong lived in Groton, Connecticut.
Credit The Connecticut Historical Society, 1995.36.1583
Muriel Armstrong and another girl with Christmas tree and presents. Photograph by William Dudley, ca. 1924. It’s not clear who the second girl might be. Muriel didn’t have a sister, so she may be a cousin or a close friend.
Credit The Connecticut Historical Society, 1995.36.1584
Decorated Christmas tree in front of bookcase. Photograph by William Dudley, ca. 1920-1923. This photograph was also taken in the Armstrong family home in Groton, probably a few years earlier than the previous two photographs.
Credit The Connecticut Historical Society, 1995.36.1580
Decorated tabletop Christmas tree with toys. Photograph by William Dudley, ca. 1916-1927.The Connecticut Historical Society. It’s not clear whose Christmas tree and presents are depicted in this photograph.
Credit The Connecticut Historical Society, 1995.36.1652.
Small tabletop Christmas tree with clothing and toys. Photograph by William Dudley, ca. 1915. This tiny tabletop tree may have been the Armstrong’s Christmas tree when Muriel was an infant.
Credit The Connecticut Historical Society, 1995.36.1582
Decorated Christmas tree with glass ornaments, electric lights and toys. Photograph by William Dudley, 1920s. Note the teddy bear and mittens, both popular gifts at the time.
"For Muriel Armstrong From Santa" These words are written on a child’s easel blackboard sitting next to a tree decorated with tinsel, beads, glass ornaments and even an American flag. Other presents, including dolls, a sewing set, Bradley’s Toy Village, and “Denslow’s One Ring Circus and Other Stories” surround the tree. This black and white photograph captures the Christmas morning scene for a comfortable Connecticut family about 100 years ago.
Today we're talking about the afterlife of characters from classic Christmas stories. What happened, in later years, to Ralphie from "A Christmas Story" or Susan Walker from "Miracle of 34th Street" or Charlie Brown or Clara from "The Nutcracker?"
Mark your calendars: According to some scholars, the next time it might happen is the year 79,811. I'm talking, of course, about the hybrid holiday of Thanksgivukkah, a melding of Thanksgiving and the Jewish Festival of Lights. The Borsch Belt-style Pilgrim jokes and mishmash recipes (turkey brined in Manischewitz, anyone?) are flying around the Internet; but since Jews are frequently referred to as "the People of the Book" and Pilgrims pretty much lived by the Book, Thanksgivukkah seems to me like the quintessential (stressful) family holiday to celebrate by escaping into a book.
If there's one Thanksgiving mistake Jack Bishop sees more than any other, it's people rushing to carve their birds. Bishop is editorial director of the public TV series America's Test Kitchen. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "Turkey needs to rest before you carve it ... and a lot fewer juices will end up on the carving board."
Bishop and Bridget Lancaster, also of America's Test Kitchen, share their tips for buying, seasoning and cooking a turkey, and describe some of their favorite side dishes.
It's that time of year again. Time for Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish. Every year since 1972, around Thanksgiving, I've shared my mother-in-law's famous cranberry relish recipe on the radio. It's appallingly pink, like Pepto Bismol — but it tastes terrific.
This year, I bring my relish recipe to Thanksgivukkah. Next week, Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah fall on the same day. It's a rare convergence.
If you visit Rockefeller Center this holiday season, you can look up in awe at a New York transplant from Connecticut. The iconic Christmas tree will be cut down in Shelton later today, and shipped to New York City by tractor-trailer, according to the Associated Press.