AP distributes style guide of holiday terms

Dec. 3, 2014
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The state Christmas tree glows from the 10,000 ultra-low wattages LED bulbs after lighting ceremonies held by Gov. Jerry Brown at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. Along with the lights, the 53-foot white fir tree was decorated with 900 hand crafted ornaments made by children and adults with developmental disabilities donated from the California Department of Developmental Services. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
The Associated Press has compiled a list of spellings and definitions of terms associated with religious and cultural events around the turn of the year. Some are in the AP Stylebook; others are common usage in holiday stories transmitted by AP.
Period including the four Sundays preceding Christmas.
“Auld Lang Syne” 
Sung to greet the New Year, poem by Robert Burns set to Scottish music.
"Bah! Humbug!"
Ebenezer Scrooge's denunciation of holiday sentiment in "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens.    
Black Friday
The last Friday in November when U.S. retail sales launch the start of Christmas shopping.
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) _      
Dateline for AP stories from the biblical site of Jesus’ birth.
Capitalize in reference to the Scriptures; lowercase biblical in all uses.
Boxing Day     
Post-Christmas holiday Dec. 26 In British Commonwealth countries.
Capitalize sparkling wine from that French region uncorked to celebrate New Year’s.
Christmas, Christmas Day
Dec. 25 Christian feast marking the birth of Jesus. Christmas Eve is also capitalized.
One word.
Christmas tree
Lowercase tree and other seasonal terms with Christmas: card, wreath, carol, etc.  Exception: National Christmas Tree in Washington. 
Toy spinning top used in games played during Hanukkah.
Feliz Navidad
Traditional Spanish greeting for Christmas. 
Lowercase the biblical praise to God, but capitalize in composition titles:  Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus.
Eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights starting Dec. 16 this year.
Spoilsport who steals holiday fun, based on the title character in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" by Dr. Seuss.
Jesus, Jesus Christ
Pronouns referring to him are lowercase, as is savior.
happy holidays, merry Christmas, season’s greetings
Such phrases are generally spelled lowercase, though Christmas is always capitalized.
Holy Land
Capitalize the biblical region.
Kriss Kringle
Not Kris.  Derived from the German word, Christkindl, or baby Jesus.
African-American and Pan-African celebration of family, community and culture, Dec. 26-Jan. 1.
The wise men who brought gifts to the infant Jesus at Epiphany, celebrated Jan. 6.
The seven-branch candelabrum from the ancient temple in Jerusalem. Also the popular term for the nine-branch candelabrum, or hanukkiah, used on the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
Capitalized in references to Jesus or to the promised deliverer in Judaism.
A yellowish evergreen hung as a Christmas decoration; by tradition, people kiss when standing under a sprig.
Nativity scene
Only the first word is capitalized.
New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day
Capitalized for Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.
A Christmas carol, borrowed from the French word for Christmas, which is capitalized.
North Pole
Mythical home of Santa Claus.
Decorative plant for Christmas; note the “ia.”  
Passing along an unwanted Christmas present to someone else.
Santa Claus
Brings toys to children in a sleigh pulled by reindeer on Christmas Eve.
“A Visit From St. Nicholas”
Beloved poem by Clement Clarke Moore that begins, “'Twas the night before Christmas...”
"The Twelve Days of Christmas”
Spell the numeral in the Christmas carol.
Twelfth Night
The evening before the Twelfth Day, Jan. 6, that  traditionally ends the Christmas season.
"White Christmas"
Irving Berlin's sentimental ballad immortalized by crooner Bing Crosby.
Yule, Yuletide
Old English for Christmas season.
Don’t use this abbreviation for Christmas.

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