Christmas Eye Candy: The American Tradition of Christmas Decorations

Decorating for winter celebrations is an ancient tradition. The contemporary American version of the tradition comes in many forms.

1 minute read

December 25, 2019, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Baltimore, Maryland

The Miracle on 34th Street on Christmas Street Holiday Show in Hampden, Baltimore. | Jon Bilous / Shutterstock

An article by Rachel Jones digs into the work of photographer Jesse Rieser, who "has spent nearly a decade mining the exultant spasm of American Christmas decorations, and the messages they telegraph about their surrounding communities."

Rieser has collected photos from 18 states for a project titled "Christmas in America: Happy Birthday, Jesus."

The article shares a mix of those photos, from Santa playing pool to Jesus checking text messages. Then there are incredibly ornate interior decorations.

Meanwhile, the text of the article traces the tradition of decorating for Christmas back to pagan celebrations like Saturnalia in Early Rome and even further back to Ancient Egypt.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019 in National Geographic

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Rendering of wildlife crossing over 101 freeway in Los Angeles County.

World's Largest Wildlife Overpass In the Works in Los Angeles County

Caltrans will soon close half of the 101 Freeway in order to continue construction of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing near Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County.

April 15, 2024 - LAist

Workers putting down asphalt on road.

U.S. Supreme Court: California's Impact Fees May Violate Takings Clause

A California property owner took El Dorado County to state court after paying a traffic impact fee he felt was exorbitant. He lost in trial court, appellate court, and the California Supreme Court denied review. Then the U.S. Supreme Court acted.

April 18, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

View from back of BART Police SUV driving down street in San Francisco, California.

Podcast: Addressing the Root Causes of Transit Violence

Deploying transit police is a short-term fix. How can transit agencies build sustainable safety efforts?

59 minutes ago - Streetsblog USA

Sunset view of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota skyline.

Minneapolis as a Model for Housing Affordability

Through a combination of policies, the city has managed to limit the severity of the nationwide housing crisis.

1 hour ago - Brown Political Review

Row of yellow Pacers Bikeshare bikes at station in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.

Indy Bikeshare System Turns 10, Expands to E-Bikes

Pacers Bikeshare riders logged over 700,000 rides since the system launched in 2014.

2 hours ago - Indy Today

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.