Christmas | WOSU Radio

Christmas

The Holiday Cookie Show

Dec 22, 2017
Jill111 / Pixabay

Today at 11am

Santa isn't the only person who deserves a nice batch of oven fresh cookies after a long day of gift giving and holiday festivities. Join us today for a look at classic and new Christmas cookie recipes. Also find out how the baking tradition started and more.


WYSO Curious: Do Animals Talk On Christmas Eve?

Dec 22, 2017
Renee Wilde / WYSO

For many of us, the holiday season is a time for sharing stories and traditions. In keeping with the holiday spirit, WYSO’s Renee Wilde traces the roots of her own holiday tradition, celebrating the Christmas legend that on Christmas Eve animals can suddenly talk.

Susan Adolphus James has one vivid memory of childhood Christmases on the island of Beaulieu, Grenada: black cake.

"Christmas don't feel like Christmas if you don't have a piece of black cake," says James, who moved to the U.S. as a teen.

In 2004, after three decades of serving Slovakian-style holiday dinners, my grandmother declared that she was done. Since no single person could match Grandmom's culinary prowess, the rest of the family did our best to divide up her dishes. For our Christmas Eve meal, my father learned to make the opening course — a lima bean soup. We purchased the dessert, a nut roll called kolachi, from a nearby Ukrainian church. For our main course, pierogi, I took the lead. I was entirely unprepared.

Ask any Swede and they'll tell you that a smörgåsbord table without herring is (gasp) unthinkable. While there are other foods they may rattle off as equally important — gravlax, cured ham, meatballs and rice pudding — it's these tiny, pickled fish that are the backbone of the elaborate buffet, which likely traces its roots back to high-society gatherings in the 1500s.

Whether it's hanging lights, baking dozens of cookie variations or just enjoying the plants, holidays are full of traditions. But like with any tradition, sometimes you've been doing it so long that you don't know why.

Why do we kiss under mistletoe and toast with eggnog? Who decided we should eat jelly doughnuts for Hanukkah? And where do poinsettias come from?

My mother's side of the family is half Danish and my father's side half Norwegian. But at Christmastime, we feel 100 percent Scandinavian. Largely ignoring the English and Scottish bits of our heritage, we fill our Christmas table with treats such as crumbly Danish cookies and piquant pickled herring.

My favorite of all the Danish desserts is smør bullar. Small spheres of butter, flour, powdered sugar and nuts, dusted with more powdered sugar for good measure, these cookies are the flavor of Christmas for everyone in my extended family.

Debbie Holmes / WOSU

At Dale Tree Farm in Delaware County, Shannon Schoch and her family found just the right tree.

"You guys like this one?" Schoch asks. "Yeah, I like it. It has a good shape at the top."

The Christmas spirit is popping up along the waters of the Great Lakes region.

In Port Huron, Mich., Santa Claus rode to shore on the Huron Spirit, a boat operated by the Lakes Pilots Association. In Toledo, Ohio, the tug Josephine brought him to the National Museum of the Great Lakes.

But the most poignant event of the holiday season was in Chicago, where the sinking of  "The Christmas Tree Ship" was remembered recently.

If you usually ring in the holiday with a freshly cut evergreen, your reality this Christmas could very well be a scrawny Charlie Brown tree instead — or you may wind up paying more for a lush Fraser fir.

This year, there is a tree shortage. Most growers blame the tightened supply on the Great Recession, says Valerie Bauerlein, who covered the story for The Wall Street Journal.

All Sides Weekend: Chefs in the City

Dec 1, 2017
wirdefalks / Pixabay

What would the holidays be without food? On this All Sides Weekend, we sit down with Chef David Tetzloff of G. Michael's Bistro & Bar to talk about festive and traditional dishes coming to the table for Christmas, Hannukkah, New Year's, and other seasonal celebrations.

We'll also take a look back at the Columbus food scene in 2017 and discuss what new spots to try in the new year.

The Holiday Cookie Show

Nov 30, 2017
jill111 / Pixabay

Santa isn't the only person who deserves a nice batch of oven fresh cookies after a long day of gift giving and holiday festivities. Join us today for a look at classic and new Christmas cookie recipes. Also find out how the baking tradition started and more.

An interview on All Things Considered earlier this month got us thinking about Christmas tree ornaments — and the stories behind them. We asked readers and listeners to send us the memories attached to their most cherished ornaments. Here are a few of our favorites, edited for length and clarity:

Think you're stressed out during the holidays? Try being one of Santa's helpers.

Turns out being surrounded by children, tinsel and merriment isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Humorist David Sedaris wrote about the downside of holiday joy in a collection of fanciful stories based on his experiences called the Santaland Diaries. Once again, here's Sedaris reading from his essay as a somewhat-flawed Macy's department store elf named Crumpet.

Click the play button to hear this holiday tradition.

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