Cover Story: Nine Holiday Gifts Guaranteed to Boost Your Spirits

Help Us Spread the Spirit of Peace this Season

SPIRIT is the courage and determination that helps people to survive in difficult times and to keep their way of life and their beliefs.” That’s just what most of us need as we approach the year-end holidays this year.

Remember: Hanukkah begins on December 22, Christmas on the 25th, Kwanzaa on December 26, then some people even give New Year’s gifts. Books are a great choice for the New Year, because studies show that January is becoming a very popular month for starting new books!

What better gift to give someone this holiday season, than the gift of SPIRIT. All of these books promote peace by helping to bridge the gaps that separate Americans these days. Please read our Cover Story this week—and choose a couple of these great books. And, please, share this week’s cover story with friends.There’s probably a book on this list that you’d like to receive!



Hanukkah: Celebrating Religious Freedom

SUNDOWN DECEMBER 22—The first night of Hanukkah arrives for million Jews worldwide. Although not as religiously significant as some other Jewish holidays—Yom Kippur, Sukkot or Passover, just to name a few—Hanukkah is widely celebrated, and is easily recognized even by non-Jews.

Christmas Crowds

EVENING OF TUESDAY DECEMBER 24—Even though a growing minority of Americans say they have no religious affiliation—about half of us say they like to attend Christmas Eve services. These holiday celebrations have become the biggest events of the year in thousands of churches nationwide. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story.

Navigating Holidays in Interfaith Families

RABBI ALPER ON TAMRON HALL—Popular author and standup comedian Rabbi Bob Alper recently appeared on Tamron Hall‘s national TV talkshow to help interfaith families think about these conflicts and questions that inevitably arise at the holidays. Here’s a link to watch Rabbi Alper on the broadcast. As usual with such TV shows, you will have to watch a brief commercial before the Tamron Hall video begins. It’s worth the wait!

What Visions Are Emerging for your Holiday Season?

RODNEY CURTIS gives us all a wonderful mix of joy—and deep emotion—from his own family’s holiday season. This short, heart-felt column captures the roller coaster many families experience at this time of year. Please, read this love letter from Rodney’s family—and share it with friends.



Care to see all the holidays? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances—just remember the address



Do not miss the remarkable Hidden Life about Franz Jägerstätter. Click the movie still to read Ed McNulty’s review.

Faith & Film

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:








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