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Creative ornaments hang from one of the Christmas trees during The National Christmas Tree Lighting 2011 on The Elipse in Washington, DC, Thursday, December 1, 2011. (Rod Lamkey Jr/ The Washington Times)

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Travelers check their luggage at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago two days before last Christmas. There are bargains on travel during “dead zone” periods not so close to holidays, according to those in the know. (Associated Press)

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Travelers check their luggage at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago two days before last Christmas. There are bargains on travel during “dead zone” periods not so close to holidays, according to those in the know. (Associated Press)

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Marijuana plants are seen Oct. 3, 2012, in Chicago where officers say they discovered two football fields worth of pot plants growing on the city's South Side. Authorities say more than 1,000 cannabis plants — some as tall as Christmas trees — were discovered during a helicopter operation. (Associated Press)

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Chicago Marijuana Fou_Live.jpg

Marijuana plants are seen on Oct. 3, 2012, in Chicago, where officers say they discovered two football fields worth of pot plants growing on the city's South Side. Authorities say more than 1,000 cannabis plants — some as tall as Christmas trees — were discovered during a helicopter operation. (Associated Press)

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**FILE** Fiona Apple performs Dec. 11, 1999, at the annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas concert at the Pond of Anaheim, Calif. (Associated Press)

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**FILE** Fiona Apple performs Dec. 11, 1999, at the annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas concert at the Pond of Anaheim, Calif. (Associated Press)

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Some historic preservationists aren’t happy about Macy's makeover. At right is how the ground floor of the store looked during the Christmas shopping season in 1931. (Associated Press)

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The Redskins will look to make Christmas a little less merry for Michael Vick and the Eagles when they travel for a holiday matchup Dec. 23. (Associated Press)

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Marvin Bourne of Richmond takes his wife, Karen on a tank ride, which he called "an awesome Christmas present." (Associated Press)

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** FILE ** In this Friday, Dec. 24, 2010m file photo, a cross is seen near the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, during a Christmas parade in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is becoming the church of contention with an unwelcome bid by the Palestinians to use their muscle as the newest members of the U.N.'s cultural arm and obtain World Heritage status for the iconic Christian site (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi, File)

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"A lot of us who went into battle turned around and no one was behind us," said Rep. Mick Mulvaney, South Carolina Republican, in reference to House Republicans' revolt before Christmas against the Senate-passed deal to extend the payroll-tax cut. The showdown turned into a political debacle for the GOP. (Associated Press)

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Jesus Esparza of Chicago was shopping at the Macy's on State Street in Chicago two weeks before Christmas, one of many Americans finding bargains that helped their checkbooks but hurt a lot of retailers' bottom lines. Macy's Inc., however, saw strong gains in December that beat analysts estimates. (Associated Press)

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Above: Onlookers gather around the site of a bomb blast at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, Nigeria, on Christmas Day. A radical Muslim sect claimed responsibility for the attack and for another bombing near a church in the restive city of Jos. Below: Rescue workers remove the body of one of the victims. (Associated Press)

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Firefighter Nick Tamburro pays respects outside the Stamford, Conn., home where a Christmas morning fire killed three girls and their grandparents. Officials said fireplace ashes in a bag started the fire that devoured the large Victorian house. (Associated Press)

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Shoppers file through Macy's at the Tysons Corner Center mall in McLean, Va., for returns and after-Christmas sales on Dec. 26, 2011. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/ The Washington Times)

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Shoppers crowd Tysons Corner Center in McLean on Monday, Dec. 26, 2011, for returns and after-Christmas sales. (The Washington Times)

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Shoppers walk among Christmas decorations in the Tysons Corner Center mall in McLean, Va., for returns and after-Christmas sales. Tysons Corner Center reports a 10 percent jump in foot traffic compared to last year's holiday season. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/ The Washington Times)

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Caitlin Schultz, 18, of Waldorf, Md., at left, crosses bridge near decorations of hanging lights as shoppers crowd the Tysons Corner Center mall in McLean, Va., for returns and after-Christmas sales on Dec. 26, 2011. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/ The Washington Times)

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This artwork by M. Ryder relates to Hanukkah and Christmas.