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Monday, December 24, 2012

The Two-Way

A Moveable Feast: What Are You Leaving For Santa?

Aside from the traditional plate of cookies, some households planned to leave Santa gourmet surprises that would land most people on the naughty list at the local gym.

December 24, 2012 Milk and cookies might be the traditional Santa offering on Christmas Eve, but in at least one household, St. Nicholas will be getting smoked salmon and scotch.

Summary

The Salt

Polish Christmas Wafer: A Flavorless Tradition That's Oh So Sweet

The oplatek, embossed with a Christmas scene, is shared among family members before Christmas Eve dinner.

December 24, 2012 Before Christmas Eve dinner, some families share the oplatek along with good wishes for each other. The tradition dates back hundreds of years: Back when bread was scarce, exchanging it with neighbors was a gesture of goodwill.

Summary

The Salt

At Christmas, A Roman Holiday Revolves Around The Food

Christmas chocolate and sweets on display at a Christmas market at Piazza Navona on Dec. 20 in Rome.

December 24, 2012 The Italian city isn't big on Christmas glitz and glamor. Instead, Rome saves its holiday shine for the dinner table. The Christmas day meal might start with lasagna before moving on to turkey or guinea hen. And it wouldn't be complete without plenty of sweets.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

It's Not Jolly, It's A Job: You Need More Than A Beard To Be Santa

Charity workers dressed as Santa Claus wave to pedestrians in New York. Professional Santas say it's not an easy job, and it's not just as simple as putting on a beard.

December 22, 2012 If you have a few too many pounds around the belly, too few coins in the purse and access to a Santa suit this Christmas season, you might be thinking you could make a few extra bucks posing as Old St. Nick. Well, some professional Santas warn, it's not that easy.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

The Picture Show

The Life Of Christmas Trees, Before The Merriment

Ripshin Mountain, Carter County, Tenn., 2011

December 21, 2012 John Lusk Hathaway photographs Christmas tree farms while contemplating their place in environmentalism, consumerism and religion.

Summary

Broadway's Profit-Turning, Crowd-Pleasing Christmas Story

Jordan Gelber plays Buddy the Elf in Elf on Broadway. The limited-run production may not turn a profit immediately, but producers have a multipronged strategy for making money.

December 21, 2012 With hordes of tourists descending on New York for the Christmas season, Broadway is looking to turn a profit — by staging limited-run holiday musicals like A Christmas Story and Elf. But with production costs so high, how can these shows make money back? The answer, it turns out, is complicated.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

At A Real-Life Santa's Workshop, Christmas Comes Early

Lou Nasti runs a factory in Brooklyn that makes animatronic Christmas displays. He's been at it for almost 44 years.

December 18, 2012 An unassuming brick building in Brooklyn houses a factory that makes animatronic puppets, elves and polar bears for the holiday season. NPR's Neda Ulaby drops by Mechanical Displays Inc. to talk with Lou Nasti, who's been at it for almost 44 years.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Monkey See

Jimmy Fallon And The Roots Help Restore The Charm Of Mariah Carey's Christmas Classic

A screenshot of Jimmy Fallon and Mariah Carey performing "All I Want For Christmas Is You" with The Roots.

December 5, 2012 Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, and Mariah Carey perform a stripped-down holiday standard.

Summary

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Salt

Christmas Comes Early For Denmark's Beer Drinkers

J-Day, the first Friday in November, marks the release of Denmark's Christmas beer, Tuborg's Julebryg. It's practically a national holiday as the beer is promoted tonight in bars throughout the country.

November 2, 2012 The Danish tradition of releasing the Christmas beer on the first Friday in November started with a beloved TV commercial from 1980 for a straight-laced 140 year-old brewing company, and now it's practically a national holiday.

Summary

Friday, December 24, 2010

Did 'Shrooms Send Santa And His Reindeer Flying?

The hallucinogenic mushroom Amanita muscaria.

December 24, 2010 Long ago, shamans — and reindeer — in the Far East were known to eat red and white mushrooms. And then hallucinate. A Harvard biologist asks, is it possible this is the source of the "jolly" man in the red and white suit and his "flying" reindeer?

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Shepherds, Wise Men, Animals: Were They All There?

Christmas pageant staged by the First United Methodist Church in Johnson City,  Texas.

December 23, 2010 The traditional representation of Jesus' birth includes a manger surrounded by shepherds, wise men and farm animals. But did it really happen that way? Many theologians acknowledge that the accepted Nativity scene is a result of 2,000 years of interpretation and elaboration.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kiss Away: Harvesting Mistletoe From The Treetops

Children kissing under mistletoe.

December 22, 2010 WUOTThis time of year, we're used to seeing a sprig of mistletoe hanging from the doorway — the inevitable invitation to a kiss. But we don't often think about how it got there. One hardy harvester in Tennessee collects it the old-fashioned way — by climbing to the tops of trees.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Shots - Health News

5 Public Health Gifts For The Person Who Has Everything

Deworming Tablets from UNICEF.

December 11, 2010 Stumped for what to get loved ones for the holidays. How about deworming tablets donated to the needy in their honor? Or would you prefer breastfeeding classes for women in Indonesia? We round up some do-good gifts you can still buy in time.

Summary

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Tracing Hanukkah's U.S. Roots ... To Cincinnati?

Rabbi Joshua Metzger, his wife Brocha, and their children Menachem Mendel and Sarah Perel stand by a menorah.

December 1, 2010 The Jewish community began reinventing Hanukkah in the late 19th century when the culture of Christmas also began shifting in America. The holiday became a way for Jewish children and families to celebrate a holiday when other Americans were doing the same.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

'Wind In The Willows': A Christmas Take On A Classic

Nancy Barnhart's illustration of the field mice, 1923.

December 25, 2009 This year's Christmas tale is adapted for radio from Kenneth Grahame's 1908 children's favorite The Wind in the Willows. Washington, D.C., actress Jennifer Mendenhall narrates Chapter 5 — "Dolce Domum," or "sweet home" — starring Mole and Rat.

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