Now that the holidays are over, another season has arrived. It's time for children to put pen to paper and scratch out thank you letters — all under the watchful eye of their parents.

In a recent piece for The Guardian, Peter Ormerod argues that it's time to do away with that ritual. He writes that thank you letters "represent arguably the first instance in our lives when insincerity is officially sanctioned, which is particularly sad given that the best thing about children is their honesty."

Duke University via Duke Today

This weekend there is a series of performances of Handel's Messiah at Duke Chapel in Durham, N.C. The tradition has been going on for 81 years. This year the performance will be recorded live and broadcast throughout the state and the world.

Dr. Rodney Wynkoop is the Director of Chapel Music at Duke University. He says that the text of the Messiah tells the entire story of the redemption of the world.

Image of c.
JAG Entertainment

Grammy nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon and bassist John Brown bring their big band Christmas tunes back to the stage at Durham’s Carolina Theatre this Sunday, December 7.

For many online retailers, Cyber Monday is likely to be the peak shopping day of the year. To handle the onslaught of orders, Amazon has begun rolling out a new robot army.

The Amazon order-fulfillment center in Tracy, Calif., is more than a million square feet — or 28 football fields, if you prefer — filled with orange and yellow bins flying this way and that on conveyor belts. Chances are, if you ordered a bunch of items in the San Francisco Bay Area recently, Amazon put that box together here.

The Turkey Man

Nov 26, 2014
Photo of Mike Davis is a turkey hunter turned turkey enthusiast who owns more than 700 turkey-themed items.
StarNews Online

Across the country on Thursday, Americans will consume the quintessential Thanksgiving food: turkey. 

Image of Sarah Hale, editor of Godey's Lady Book
Wikimedia Commons


Many people sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner may hearken back to some version of a story about Pilgrims and Native Americans feasting together. 

It's A Wonderful Life

From Elf to Home Alone and Love Actually to A Christmas Story, the tradition of a holiday film is as vital to some people as singing carols or decorating a tree. 

Traffic jam
epSos via Flickr, Creative Commons

Nearly 2.8 million North Carolinians are expected to travel for Christmas or New Year's vacations.

Gas prices and air fares are holding steady, but 48,500 more people plan to travel for the holidays this year than last, according to AAA Carolinas.

Spokeswoman Angela Daley says that could be due to the improving economy. She says the weeks that include Christmas and New Year's Day are the most popular travel time, and it's also the longest. Daley says that makes it easier for people to plan trips at their convenience.

We've been following the story of a local family and their holiday video that has gone viral. We noticed it when it had 1.5 million Youtube views.

Here's our original story, posted 12/17/13:

Possibly the cutest Christmas viral video ever features local Raleigh-based WNCN anchorman Penn Holderness, his wife Kim, six-year-old daughter Lola, and four-year-old son Penn Charles.

The song is really catchy:

Photo: A tree farm in Rutherwood, N.C.
BlueRidgeKitties / Flickr

When Jessie Davis started tagging trees for sale in his 500-acre farm in western North Carolina this fall, he noticed his Frasier firs were taller and brighter than they were in previous years. He knew the reason was simple: this was a rainy year.

Holiday spending cash – or the lack of it – is on the minds of many people this time of year.  There is a group of North Carolina state employees whose job is to make sure budgets are balanced and audits are perfect.  More than 300 of these fiscal agents gathered in Raleigh this week and were asked how they were planning on spending their holiday cash this season.

Black Santa figurine sits on a mantel at the Matory Home in Durham, NC.
Leoneda Inge

Durham, North Carolina is one of the most diverse communities in the state. Mayor Bill Bell likes to say it’s the city with NO racial majority. Then why is it so hard to find an African American Santa Claus?

Let the holiday shopping frenzy begin! But it looks like traditional and online retailers are ignoring Black Friday and moving in ahead of time.

It might be a little shocking – but a lot of big box stores and department stores are opening their doors tonight.  Justin Bieber will be there.

Justin Bieber:  "Yo! I’m going to Macy’s Black Friday sale. SCREAM. Yeah, I know it’s pretty cool, it starts at midnight."

Scot Wingo is the C-E-O of Morrisville-based Channel Advisor.  The company helps retailers sell more of their goods online. 

Many North Carolinians will be traveling this year for the Thanksgiving holiday. About 200 thousand people are expected to fly through Raleigh-Durham airport over the long weekend. And nearly a million and a quarter residents say they'll travel 50 miles or more from home, according to Triple-A Carolinas. Greer Beatty is a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation. She says with all that traffic people should make sure they turn off their cell phones and avoid other distractions when they're behind the wheel.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper wants shoppers to be smart and safe this holiday season.

Cooper and the Better Business Bureau are asking consumers to do their homework this holiday season. They recommend looking into a charity before making a donation and shopping at familiar retailers.

Roy Cooper: "I would avoid a company that I don't know who I'm dealing with. There are so many options out there. Why deal with someone you don't know? You might be wanting to get a great deal, but if seems to good to be true it probably is."