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For many of us, the holiday season is filled with the hustle and bustle of buying gifts and attending the boss' office party. But more importantly, it should be a time to observe religious holidays and keep family traditions. We thought this would be the perfect time to point out all the wonderful holiday information available on the Internet. There are many sites with information about Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Much of the information teaches about the origins and traditions of these holidays, something that can be shared with the whole family. And of course, there are also many sites devoted to the fun side of the holidays.
Do you know why Hanukkah is considered the Festival of Lights? If you don't, go to the America OnLine Holiday site (http://www.aol.com/holidays/chanukah/chanukah.html) for a brief description of the origin of the Holiday. Here you can learn about the miraculous jar of oil that burned for eight days and eight nights. For a complete calendar of all the Jewish Holidays, check the B'nai B'rith site (http://israel.nysernet.org/bbrith/caln.html). We also recommend that you check out ORTnet's Hanukkah site (http://www.ort.org/ort/hanukkah/title.htm). This is a wonderful area which includes a history of the holiday and information about holiday games. There's also a section devoted to Hanukkah songs which includes sheet music and the transliteration of the Hebrew text. You can also download the audio files of the songs if you're computer is capable of playing them.
How much do you know about Kwanzaa? We learned that "Kwanzaa is a spiritual, festive and joyous celebration of the oneness and goodness of life, which claims no ties with any religion" from the Kwanzaa Information Center (http://www.melanet.com/melanet/kwanzaa). The links at this site are great and full of detail of this African-American spiritual holiday. You'll find descriptions of the history, purpose and goals of Kwanzaa. We especially liked the list of Kwanzaa Books for Children (http://www.ip.net/melanet/kwanzaa), some of which we plan to share with our kids so they can learn about this holiday.
Did you know that the word Christmas comes from the old English Cristes maesse meaning Christ's Mass? This interesting fact and others relating to the origin of Christmas can be found at the America OnLine Holiday site (http://www.aol.com/holidays/christmas/christmas.html). Included are links to "Christmas Across the Web", a list of fun sites relating to Christmas. You can easily click off to the Twelve Sites of Christmas (http://www.netsurf.com/12sites.html). There you'll find audio versions of "The 12 Days of Christmas" and links to everything from the partridge in the pear tree to the twelve drummers drumming.
Of course you can also find Santa Claus on the Internet (http://www.santaclaus.com) as he and his elves prepare for their Christmas eve journey around the world. By moving around this site you can find Christmas stories and wonderful Christmas recipes. Just move down to the Christmas Presents section of the Santa Claus site to find the links to several delightful recipes; our favorite is the Iced Butter Cookies. You may also want to visit the North Pole (http://north.pole.org/santa/) or check out what Santa's Little Helpers (http://www.pcrinc.com/santa) are up to. And don't forget to email the elves at email@example.com with your special requests.
For those of you responsible for the holiday decorations check out Holly and Sara's Christmas Page (http://www.logicnet.com/melanie.mccluskey/index.htm). Besides lots of Christmas stuff, you'll find a link to ideas from Better Living for making your own decorations (http://www.wvec-tv13.com/wvec/betterliving/holiday_decorations.html). You can find more craft ideas at the Father Christmas Craft Project (http://www.ccinet.ab.ca/dwaterma/). If you'll be getting a real tree this year, take a look at the National Christmas Tree Association (http://www.execpc.com/~ncta/) for some tips on how to make that tree live longer and how to recycle it after Christmas.
Another great way to share time with the family during the holidays is to sit down and watch a sappy Christmas movie. Check out this extensive list of Christmas movies (http://www.auburn.edu/~vestmon/christmas_movie.html). After the video, why not gather round and sing a few carols? In case you forgot the lyrics to your favorite Yuletide tune, you can find them at Christmas.com (http://www.christmas.com/carols/).
Finally, it seems that everyone loves the Grinch and believe it or not, someone has dedicated a whole site on the Internet to him (http://lamar.colostate.edu/~ddave/grinchnet.html). Here you'll find the words and audio to the Grinch song as well as other bits of Grinch trivia, pictures and wisdom.
We look forward to the email and faxes we get from you, so don't stop sending them in. Let us know what's going on in the WNY computing community. You can email us, firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax us, (716) 853-1350 and tell us what you think.