In keeping with a well-loved NPR holiday tradition, Lynn Neary hosts a collection of extraordinary Christmas stories that will transport you to unexpected places.
Audie Cornish, Ken Harbaugh, Nina Totenberg and other voices from NPR's past and present tell stories of the season in this hour-long special. Some tales are funny; some are touching; some are insightful or irreverent or nostalgic or surprising. You might recognize them from our broadcast archives — or you might fall in love with them for the first time.
NPR's legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg dropped by to see Scott Simon at the Weekend Edition Saturday studios one cold December day in 2012. She didn't visit to talk about any of the great Supreme Court debates about church and state or keeping religious displays out of public spaces. No, she came to talk about Christmas at the Totenberg household.
The spirit of giving makes the Christmas season come alive. Presents are planned — and in your mind's eye, you can just imagine the happiness they will bring. Here is "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry, read by NPR's Audie Cornish.
This time of year, you'll find Nativity scenes outside churches and in front yards across the country. They depict the birth of Jesus long ago in the town of Bethlehem. And in those manger scenes, there's no shortage of those large, sometimes spotted creatures known as cows. Writer Baxter Black suspects that cows, like the rest of us, do a little celebrating of their own this time of year.
We all know the holidays are not always stress-free. As those holiday to-do lists grow longer, it can be difficult to keep anticipation from morphing into anxiety. Julie Zickefoose discovered that song, fellowship and warm cookies fixed all of that, on a frigid night one Christmas past.
Many children are on their best behavior, hoping that the jolly man in the red suit will remember them on the 25th. While Kris Kringle has become the face of Christmas, some parents worry that putting too much emphasis on Santa misses the real meaning of the holiday. So this year, commentator Joseph C. Phillips is going to sit down with his three young sons and tell them his own story of Christmas magic.
December brings, among other things, replays of replays of animated Christmas specials on television. It doesn't spoil the fun to note that Charlie Brown and the gang find the true meaning of Christmas, or that Rudolph saves the day for Santa at the North Pole. But commentator John Moe unearths an email that reveals the true ending to How the Grinch Stole Christmas.