Photo: Leigh Kelsey

Think of this week’s reading list as a stocking filled with miscellaneous, holiday-themed delights.

1. “Why Do Jews Eat Chinese Food on Christmas?” (Justin Bolois, First We Feast, December 2014)

Restauranteurs and rabbis discuss about the diverse origins of this Christmas custom.

2. “Ask Polly: How Do I Deal With My Crazy Family Over the Holidays?” (Heather Havrilesky, The Cut, December 2014)

“Dysfunction abhors a vacuum,” writes Heather Havrilesky. The holidays are no exception. As the eponymous Polly, Havrilesky dishes advice about self-care, harmful family dynamics and more.

3. “The Poverty-Stricken Half-Jewish Christmases of Our Youth.” (Josh Mictom, The Billfold, December 2014)

On giving your parents the benefit of the doubt, Midnight mass, phone calls to Iowa and Salvation Army gift exchanges.

4. “The History of Virgin Births.” (Stassa Edwards, Jezebel, December 2014)

Edwards examines virgin births in the animal world, the religious prevalence of virgin birth mythology and its paradoxical implications for women today.

5. “Weirdness as a Love Language: Why I Sent Creepy Elves to My Sister.” (Maddie Rodriguez, The Toast, December 2014)

Ever the joker, Maddie Rodriguez mails six strange candles to her family: “My obsession with the elves had ripened like a sugar plum … So I placed my two orders – sending one to my apartment, and one to my parents’ place, where I knew my sister would be – and again called the customer service desk, my sister’s order number in hand, to impress upon them the paramount importance of my anonymity. With nary a hint of judgment, the woman working there assured me that my secret was safe.”