Topical Guides are provided by the AP Stylebook editors for timely events. Here is the most recent topical guide:
2014 Holiday Style Guide
Spellings and definitions of terms associated with religious and cultural events around the turn of the year. Some are in the AP Stylebook; others are common usage in holiday stories transmitted by AP.
Poem by Clement Clarke Moore that begins, "'Twas the night before Christmas ..."
Period including the four Sundays preceding Christmas.
Sung to greet the New Year, poem by Robert Burns set to Scottish music.
Ebenezer Scrooge's denunciation of holiday sentiment in "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens.
Dateline for AP stories from the biblical site of Jesus’ birth.
Capitalize in reference to the Scriptures; lowercase biblical in all uses.
The last Friday in November when U.S. retail sales launch the start of Christmas shopping.
Post-Christmas holiday Dec. 26 In British Commonwealth countries.
Capitalize sparkling wine from that French region uncorked to celebrate New Year’s.
Lowercase tree and other seasonal terms with Christmas: card, wreath, carol, etc. Exception: National Christmas Tree in Washington.
Dec. 25 Christian feast marking the birth of Jesus. Christmas Eve is also capitalized.
Toy spinning top used in games played during Hanukkah.
Traditional Spanish greeting for Christmas.
Spoilsport who steals holiday fun, based on the title character in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" by Dr. Seuss.
Lowercase the biblical praise to God, but capitalize in composition titles: Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus.
Eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights starting Dec. 16 this year.
Such phrases are generally spelled lowercase, though Christmas is always capitalized.
Capitalize the biblical region.
Pronouns referring to him are lowercase, as is savior.
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.
The wise men who brought gifts to the infant Jesus at Epiphany, celebrated Jan. 6.
The seven-branch candelabrum from the ancient temple in Jerusalem. Also the popular term for the nine-branch candelabrum, or hanukkiah, used on the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
Capitalized in references to Jesus or to the promised deliverer in Judaism.
A yellowish evergreen hung as a Christmas decoration; by tradition, people kiss when standing under a sprig.
Only the first word is capitalized.
Capitalized for Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.
A Christmas carol, borrowed from the French word for Christmas, which is capitalized.
Mythical home of Santa Claus.
Decorative plant for Christmas; note the "ia."
Passing along an unwanted Christmas present to someone else.
Brings toys to children in a sleigh pulled by reindeer on Christmas Eve.
Spell the numeral in the Christmas carol.
The evening before the Twelfth Day, Jan. 6, that traditionally ends the Christmas season.
Irving Berlin's sentimental ballad immortalized by crooner Bing Crosby.
Don't use this abbreviation for Christmas.
Old English for Christmas season.