Christmas

Ryan Poppe

A tour of the Texas capitol is memorable any time of year, but during the holidays it has a special kind of magic.

Near the south entrance of the pink granite monument a giant evergreen twinkles with thousands of tiny lights and a menorah reminds visitors that the season is celebrated by Texans of many faiths.

But it’s inside where the holiday spirit really comes to life.

Every day at noon during the season the cavernous rotunda echoes with the sounds of the season as groups celebrate with song. 

It was late at night one Christmas Eve in the mid-1980s — New York City was a still a murky mix of squalor and grandeur then — when I found myself stranded at a bus stop near 121rd Street after a botched reunion with an ex-girlfriend. The street was empty and quiet and peaceful in a way only Christmas Eve (or apocalyptic blizzards) can manifest.

Time For A Holiday Favorite: 'Santaland Diaries'

Dec 23, 2014

You might not expect "Santa's Helper" to be a career-altering gig, but for David Sedaris, it changed everything. The writer and humorist spent a season working at Macy's as a department store elf. He described his short tenure as Crumpet the Elf in "The Santaland Diaries," an essay that he read on Morning Edition in 1992.

Instantly, a classic was born. Sedaris' reading has become an NPR holiday tradition. Click the "Listen" link above to hear Sedaris read his story.

A Very Code Switch Christmas TV Special

Dec 22, 2014

It's that time around Christmas, when all we can see
is the same set of specials on network TV.
There's
Frosty, and Charlie, and Ralphie, and Kevin
But not too much brown in this mostly white canon.

Sweets this time of year take on all kinds of whimsical shapes: cookies cut into stars, stockings and gingerbread men, candy canes, peanut butter balls ... or logs covered in frosting.

Yes, really — logs.

Not real logs, of course — these are holiday cakes, rolled and frosted to look like a yule log and known as buche de Noel. Sometimes the cakes are dotted with little meringue mushrooms or edible holly leaves. While the cake may not be on every American's baking list, cookbook author Dorie Greenspan says it's iconic in Europe.

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