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Government and Web Resources

The most celebrated holiday in public documents is Christmas, as illustrated in these titles, most from Christmas past:

German Santa from the Smithsonian collection

How to Buy a Christmas Tree
A1.77:189/3
Types and grades of trees for the discerning tree buyer.

Christmas in Latin America
PA 1.6/a C 464
A post-war pamphlet full of Spanish Christmas songs.

Celebrating the Tradition: The Victorian Christmas Booklet
A13.2: C 33/5
A booklet from the Forest Service recognizing the era that brought the first national conservation movement.

It’s a Gift!
C18.2: C82/2
A 1930s buying guide for ‘appropriate and acceptable’ gifts, including new awnings, cheesecloth, hassocks, and tweed luggage.

On the Web

The Department of Health and Human Services celebrates the holidays on its Girlpower site, which explains the background of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and gives instructions on how to make a menorah.

Nixon Tree decorated with state flowers

Did you know that most Christmas ornaments are made in China? Or that there are 45,115 shopping centers and malls in the U.S.? Check the Census Bureau’s Holiday Season Facts and Features for more interesting holiday statistics. And if you’d like to know how many places in the U.S. are named ‘Menorah,’ the U.S. Geological Survey has a website of Holiday Place Names.

The Hoover Presidential Library website explains the legends behind the most common Christmas symbols. Christmas at the White House traces the story of celebrations from Washington through Bush. The traditions are brought up-to-date at the White House Tree site. In 2001, for the first time a Hanukah menorah was lit at the White House with a lighting ceremony.

Climatological Probabilities of a White Christmas

Online the government also provides publications on toy safety and buying guides and NORAD’s Santa Tracking website to follow Santa’s path around the world on Christmas Eve. NOAA provides a map for predicting which areas of the U.S. might have a white Christmas.

Many more web resources can be found using the web tools available on the Library’s homepage. Try the subject directories listed there for easy category access to holiday information on the web, or use the search engines for the most comprehensive results on specific topics.