13-Dec Today is St. Lucia Day, honoring a third-century saint. Girls dress up as “Lucia brides” and wear long white gowns and red sashes—a tradition that dates back to the 18th century. The attire is accompanied with a wreath of burning candles on their heads. The girls wake up their families by singing songs and offering coffee, and a traditional bun made from saffron, called St. Lucia’s bun, is commonly eaten on this day.
14-Dec Today is National Wreaths Across America Day. Wreaths Across America (WAA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Morrill Worcester in 1992. In 2012, 406,000 wreaths in total were placed at 815 locations all around the country, in all 50 states and at national veterans’ cemeteries on foreign soil.
15-Dec December 15–24 is the crux of the holiday shopping season, accounting for 40 percent of holiday business. In 2012, U.S. consumers spent an average of $749.51 on holiday-related shopping.
16-Dec In the early 1890s, the Salvation Army needed money to pay for the Christmas meals it provided to needy families. It began dressing up unemployed men in Santa Claus suits and sending them into the streets of New York to solicit donations. Those familiar Salvation Army Santas have been ringing bells on the street corners of American cities ever since.
17-Dec Wright Brothers Day is celebrated in the United States on December 17th each year. The date commemorates the Wright brothers’ first successful flight in a mechanically propelled aircraft. This feat was accomplished near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903.
18-Dec This year marks the 34th year of the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Native American Program. This year, toys and books will be distributed to Navajo, Ramah Navajo, Hopi, White Mountain Apache, San Carlos Apache, Hualapai, Pascua Yaqui, Zuni, Tohono O’odham, Colorado River Indian Tribes, Chemehuevi, and other Native American children on their reservations. The children served by this program are some of the most underprivileged children in our country; many of them are living in deficient housing with no plumbing, sewer, or septic systems.
19-Dec Trees for Troops, a program of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, provides farm-grown Christmas trees to armed forces members and their families in the U.S. and stationed overseas. Through contributions, donated Christmas Trees, volunteers, and the support of FedEx, Trees for Troops has brought the spirit of Christmas to thousands of deserving service members and their families. Since 2005, Trees for Troops has provided more than 122,000 Christmas trees to military families and troops.