Christmas

Americans buy more than 30 million poinsettias every year.
TANAKA Juuyoh | Flickr Creative Commons

Poinsettias are sold by the millions every year, almost all of them between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As popular as these holiday flowers are, there still may be a few things about them that could surprise you. Here are five fun facts about poinsettias we wanted to share.

Forest Folks | Flickr, Creative Commons | http://bit.ly/1PkEJdm

As you dash about checking off the last of Christmas lists, begin to set the trimmings of a holiday feast, or simply relax with a day off of work, spend some time with the annual “St. Louis on the Air” Christmas special, which will air at noon on Christmas Eve.

We’re celebrating the holiday with renditions of favorite holiday music, stories and poems. Here’s what you’ll hear:

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

A dispatch from the North Pole came to the “St. Louis on the Air” studio earlier this week with an offer we simply couldn’t refuse — the chance for three Santas from elsewhere around the world to visit with host Don Marsh and discuss what Christmas is like for children around the globe.

At first, there was a little suspicion.

Courtesy National Lutheran Choir

The 63-member National Lutheran Choir, based in Minneapolis, is making its sixth stop in St. Louis to perform its annual Christmas festival, this time themed “The Spotless Rose.” The performance will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Kirkwood on Saturday.

“We look for a space that fits the kind of program that we do,” said David Cherwein, artistic director of the choir. “That was more of the effort than ecumenical issues…which I would love to brag about, but I can’t. We’re really all partners in the whole thing.”

Emma Clemenson on the right in the late 1990s with four cousins, all in their Christmas kimonas, singing "Sisters" from the movie "White Christmas." Singing along with the movie has been a family tradition for six decades.
Courtesy Mary Burke

For Mary Burke of Kirkwood, watching  the 1954 movie “White Christmas” is like Santa Claus and candy canes — a holiday tradition. Burke and her three sisters grew up in the 50s and 60s singing and dancing along with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. It’s something they never outgrew.

Curious Louis Holiday Movies illustration
Susannah Lohr

For Amber Hinsley of St. Charles, nothing says “Christmas” like huddling in the dark with dozens of strangers. In a movie theater, of course.

Music, candles, delicious food and drink: all normal parts of a delightful and atmospheric holiday gathering. For the Greenleaf Singers and the Not-Ready-For-Reformation Players the gathering also includes “comely wenches and sturdy lads” as well as Renaissance-era songs of the season.

Members of a Jewish and Muslim Teen Dialogue Group packed bags at the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry last year.
Provided by Gail Wechsler

Jews and Muslims in St. Louis are hoping to bring a little extra Christmas cheer to their Christian counterparts this year.

For the fourth year, the groups will be hosting a Jewish and Muslim Day of Community Service. The event has grown since it was implemented in 2010; more than 700 people are expected to show up to help.

Gail Wechsler, one of the Jewish co-chairs for the event, said that the day is all about helping St. Louisan who are in need of assistance.

Santa's Arrival, an illustration for Clement Clarke Moore's poem.
Public Domain

We’re celebrating Christmas spirit in a special Christmas Eve edition of “St. Louis on the Air” with some favorite holiday music, poems and stories.

Bill Greenblatt / UPI

After creating a list of 100 essential songs about St. Louis, Riverfront Times senior music writers Christian Schaeffer and Roy Kasten are working their way through the top 12 holiday songs by St. Louisians.

(Courtesy Bach Society of Saint Louis)

Continuing a sixty-two year tradition, the Bach Society of Saint Louis will perform its annual Christmas Candlelight Concert Tuesday, December 17, at Powell Hall. The Bach Society Chorus and Orchestra will be joined by the UMSL University Singers in a program opening with the "Gloria in excelsis Deo" from Bach's Mass in B Minor and featuring John Rutter’s “Gloria.”

As always, a highlight of the concert will be a candlelight processional.

Mark S. Abeln

St. Louis folklorist John Oldani has published a new book on the region's folklore and traditions, this time about the Christmas holiday.

The book, Christmas in St. Louis, includes more than 200 iconic St. Louis Christmas photographs by Mark S. Abeln, as well as historic photos from the archives of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Among the book's highlights are:

(Courtesy Mustard Seed Theatre)

In remembrance of Veteran’s Day, Mustard Seed Theatre is presenting “All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914.” The a cappella musical is based on a true story from the front lines during World War I.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that three men have been charged today in the Christmas Eve drug-deal shooting that killed a local football player from St. Charles.

The City of St. Louis is once again offering free Christmas tree recycling this year.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is asking motorists to stay off the roads if possible during the winter storm that's expected to hit on Christmas Eve.

We have more details on the storm and tips for your holiday drive. We'll also keep you updated on any major changes in the weather here as it develops, but for real-time weather information, see the Missouri Department of Transportation's real-time traveler information map.