Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Trouble in Bethlehem?

The little town of Bethlehem has long depended on Christian pilgrims to sustain its economy. But the biblical birthplace of Jesus i s in dire straits, thanks to the modern conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

The security wall meant to protect Israel from suicide bombers now carves the city in two, separating Bethlehem from Israeli-controlled Jerusalem and making it harder for would-be tourists to enter. And western boycotts on the Palestinian territories after victories in this year's elections by Hamas, which many consider a terrorist group, have led to even fewer visitors.

Hotel owners report extremely low occupancy and shopkeepers tell the Philadelphia Inquirer that the violence has "broken their business."

Spreading Holiday Cheer?

Meanwhile, Christmas is all the rage in an unlikely part of the world -- the Muslim city of Dubai.

The oil-rich port has shipped in hundreds of Christmas trees and manufactures snow by the truckload to use in the desert kingdom. And the city's malls feature fake snowmen, fuzzy reindeer and dancing Santas.

Christmas has even come to Afghanistan, where merchants in Kabul can make a tidy sum selling Christmas Trees to the city's many foreign residents. But some Muslim countries can't get into the Christmas spirit. Saudi Arabia bans celebrating non-Muslim holidays, while some religious leaders in Kuwait say even wishing someone a Merry Christmas is contradictory to Islam.

Holiday Torture?

A British group says the holidays bring a special form of torture to some employees -- in the form of endless loops of Christmas carols.

The U.K. Noise Association is considering legal action on behalf of retail workers ... claiming that being forced to listen to the same songs over and over is "no different to being tortured."

Lawyers say any lawsuit would have to demonstrate that holiday music could make employees physically ill. But one labor union insists that Christmas Carol overload could create an unhealthy working environment, saying "it must drive people to distraction."

—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.