Tuesday, December 06, 2011

AP Style: Holiday Guide

AP has compiled a special guide to style for the holidays. It's below. While we're at it, let's repeat the usual suggestions to avoid trite phrases like "'tis the season," "it's beginning to look a lot like ..." and "the white stuff" for snow.

The four Sundays preceding Christmas.

"Auld Lang Syne"
Sung to greet the New Year, poem by Robert Burns set to Scottish music.
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 the French region uncorked to celebrate New Year's.
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day
Capitalize Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 Christian feast marking the birth of Jesus.
One word.
Christmas tree
Lowercase tree and other seasonal terms with Christmas: card, wreath, carol, etc. Exception: National Christmas Tree.
Toy spinning top for Jewish celebrations.
Lowercase the biblical praise to God, but capitalize in composition titles: Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus.
Eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights starting Dec. 20 this year.
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.
Three wise men who brought gifts to the infant Jesus at Epiphany, celebrated Jan. 6.
Candelabrum with nine branches used for Hanukkah.
Capitalized in references to Jesus or to the promised deliverer in Judaism.
Nativity scene
Only the first word is capitalized.
New Year's Eve, New Year's Day
Capitalized for Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.
North Pole
Mythical home of Santa Claus.
Decorative plant for Christmas; note the "ia."
Passing along an unwanted 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.
Old English name for Christmas season; yuletide is also lowercase.
Don't use this abbreviation for Christmas

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At 12/21/11, 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 12 days of Christmas begin on Christmas Day and end on Epiphany (Twelfth Night).

It turns out this isn't common knowledge any more. Newspapers often run "12 days" features that end Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, thus contributing to the confusion.

Someone was recently talking about receiving a gift on "the second day of Christmas." When quizzed, the person said they'd just had the second day of Christmas and they were celebrating for 12 days. Maybe they thought the 12 days began before Hanukkah, but I am always startled by this error, which I've heard several times in recent years.


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