VATICAN CITY - Christmas is a reminder that through the birth of Christ, hope and peace are possible and that only through his grace can humanity find peaceful solutions to the world's most difficult problems, Pope Francis said.

O come to church all ye faithful, sort of faithful and atheists, too

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December means curtains up for church Christmas pageants, hand-bell concerts, caroling kiddie choirs and Nativity displays on the front lawns.

The family Christmas tree became my task

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Christmas practices are developed and celebrated in different ways in families, and certain tasks and jobs become traditions. So how did it happen that growing up in my large family I became the one to go out into the forest and get the annual Christmas tree?

Dealing with grief at Christmas

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It will be a sadder Christmas for Rick Campanelli and his family this year as they celebrate their first Christmas without family matriarch Antoinette, who passed away over the summer. Antoinette was the heart of the Campanelli family holidays. She prepared everything from the gifts to decorating the family home in Hamilton, Ont., and, of course, cooked Christmas brunch and dinner. The whole family rallied around Antoinette’s love for Christmas.

A sweet Christmas tradition: baking cookies with mom

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My hands are covered in flour and my mom is wrist deep in dough. The oven is preheated and the cookie trays are lined with parchment paper. She asks me to choose the cookie cutter for this year, and I select the angel.

Student carollers get life lessons outside of class

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TORONTO - On a wet and windy early December night the leadership team from Holy Spirit Catholic School set out with a group of 27 students from the northeast Toronto school to carol in the surrounding neighbourhood.

Spirit of giving overcomes commercialization of Christmas

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TORONTO - To curb the commercialization of Christmas, Alice Chan has made a tradition of volunteering with her two sons over the Christmas holidays.

Wreath is symbolic of Christ’s light shining on a dark world

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TORONTO - After watching friends and families with children come together to create a Christmas tradition making decorative wreathes, Sarah Fairley finally decided to give it a go herself.

Grotto where Jesus born takes you back to Church origins

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From the very beginnings of Christianity the grotto where Jesus was born has been revered as one of the most sacred places in the world. Today it is designated a World Heritage Site and Roman Catholics from all over the world gather here every Christmas Eve for Midnight Mass.

The story that never grows old

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Christmas poems and stories, like “The Night Before Christmas” or “The Gift of the Magi,” are remarkable in the way they enchant young people from generation to generation. But there is one Christmas story that never grows stale, that is fresh to all ages and places, to young and old, to men and women. Here is how it goes.

Some Christmas saints you may not know

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The lives of the saints are a huge part of Christian tradition and there are many who we associate with the Christmas season. You probably know the story of St. Nicholas. There’s also, of course, the Nativity story and the birth of Christ, with Mother Mary, St. Joseph and St. Gabriel the Archangel.

But do you recall the least known Christmas saints of them all? Here are just a few.

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