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Christmas:

Somber services mark 'Blue Christmas' | There were no jolly Christmas carols at the Cannon Memorial Chapel. No brilliant poinsettias or festive branches of holly. No smiling faces or hearty wishes of happiness. (Associated Press )
Charity offers animal donations as gifts | Instead of waiting in line with hundreds of others for a chance at nabbing the year's hottest Christmas gifts, Food Network chef Alton Brown decided on an intangible alternative for the people on his list — a donation to Heifer International. (Associated Press)
Don't trim the tree with guilt | Now is the season to celebrate not just a birth in Bethlehem but also the joys of being a consumer (The Australian)
Dreaming of a green Christmas | At Christmas, people go through tonnes of paper, packaging, food and trees in the name of celebration. (BBC News)
In your name: Holiday donations on behalf of those with plenty | Are the mixed blessing of receiving the gift of a charitable donation on the rise these days? (The New York Times)
Mixed-faith families celebrate the holidays together | The Christmas Tree or the Menorah? Or both? For about 2.5 million families of mixed-faith marriages, the holidays are about respecting each others' traditions and balancing the needs of their faiths. Audio. (NPR's Morning Edition)
Queen's Christmas speech on podcast | Queen Elizabeth II's traditional Christmas speech will be available as a podcast this year for the first time. A download can be ordered in advance for free on the British monarchy's Web site http://www.royal.gov.uk, royal officials said Friday. (Associated Press)
• Rare Christmas carol discovered | A rare recording of a "carol plygain" - the traditional ...
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