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Time To Give Yourself a Gift


As I was doing the programming for this week, it struck me that magazines in December tend to be pretty much all alike.  I’m not talking about political magazines or the periodicals with a certain slant, like The Sun or The Nation or Reason, I mean the magazines that you can pick up in the doctor’s office, like Good Housekeeping and Ladies’ Home Journal and Redbook, dedicated to giving good advice and filling your life with helpful tips on how to manage your home and feed your family well.  This month, they all feature a glossy cover with a mouthwatering picture of a delectable holiday cake or a platter of cookies, usually held aloft by a sweet faced celebrity wearing a cheerful red and green ensemble.  Inside are the same articles with slightly different titles: HAVE YOUR BEST CHRISTMAS EVER! or FIND THE PERFECT GIFT FOR EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST! or FOOLPROOF CHRISTMAS PARTY MENU FOR 10 TO 100 PEOPLE!  It’s intimidating, it’s anxiety producing, it makes me feel that somehow I’ve already failed at having MY BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!  Yet I still buy into the idea that everything needs to be somehow elevated to an outrageously high level for the holidays, and that if I don’t run myself ragged making everything decorated and delicious and sparkling and smelling like a cinnamon spiced spruce tree, I’ve cheated myself (or my family) out of what the holidays should be.  Yes, I know, this time of year should actually be about giving of ourselves and peace and good will towards men, but sometimes all the pressure makes that even harder to achieve than the foolproof party menu for 100 people.  (A tip from me to you: if by some chance, you actually DO have to have a party for 100 people this month, skip the magazine and just go and talk to Rachel Stickney’s mother.  I’m sure she would have infinitely better menus for you, more creative ideas for decorating, plus she actually has 100 place settings of Christmas china.  We’re not talking theoretical holiday party here–this woman is bona fide.)

There is one gift I give myself that helps to calm my seasonal frayed nerves and gives me some of the old fashioned idyllic Christmas spirit I crave so badly in December.  It’s free, it’s available to everyone, and it will not disappoint you like that awful green Jello mold with the grated cabbage and red cherries that your Mom promised was THE BEST SIDE DISH EVER!  It’s WRBH’s Holiday Midday Story Time, and it begins this week.  Starting Monday, December 9th, you can take a break from the shopping and baking and chaos and simply, quietly, listen.  Listen to gentle voices like Leah Chase, Cameron Gamble, Carolyn Cornia, Angela Hill, and Scott Jefferson  sharing stories you loved as a child.  Listen to new voices, too, with stories you haven’t heard before–this year Archie Manning, Sasha Masakowski, Ronnie Virgets, Brian De La Puente, Naomi Orlansky, Jackie Clarkson and Louellen Berger lend their talents to the readings, and the results are just wonderful.  The stories air weekdays at 12:30 pm, so finish your lunch, put that magazine away, brew up a cup of spiced tea, and settle in for a respite from the frantic pace of December.  Here’s the schedule:

All stories air at 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday:

A Visit From St. Nicholas – Mitch Landrieu
Nonna, Tell Me a Story- John Besh
The Birds for Christmas – Wendell Pierce

The Littlest Angel – Leah Chase
Sophie’s Surprise – Angela Hill
A Cajun Night Before Christmas – Bobby Hebert

A David Sedaris Christmas Story – Ron Swoboda
A Cup of Christmas Tea – Scott Jefferson
Together For Kwanzaa – Rose Ledet


A Child’s Christmas in Wales – James Marler

Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap – Naomi Orlansky

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Chris Rose

Carols and Caroling – Sasha Masakowski
Frosty the Snowman – Brian De La Puente
The Story of Hanukkah – Arnie Fielkow

A Christmas Memory – Cameron Gamble

One Christmas – Cameron Gamble

The Greatest Gift – Clancy DuBos
Olive the Other Reindeer – Taylor Schilling

(Christmas excerpt from) She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Mother – Bryan Batt
Together for Kwanzaa – Carolyn Cornia
Holiday Lies – Ronnie Virgets

Gift of the Magi – Wendell Pierce
The Night before Christmas – Wynton Marsalis
‘Twas the Night of the King – Spud McConnell

The Nutcracker – Jackie Clarkson

Peace on the Western Front – Archie Manning
How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Ashton Phelps

Replay of all stories
A Christmas Carol – Constance McEnaney
Old Time Radio: Miracle on 34th Street, Overthrow Christmas, Command Performance, It’s A Wonderful Life, Henry Morgan Show

Santa Calls – Mike Hoss
The Polar Express – Garland Robinette
Cobbler’s Guest – Joe Bruno

Merry Christmas Streganona! and The Tree of Cranes – Kristen Gisleson-Palmer and Janet Gisleson
Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia – Stacy Head

Bless You, Santa! – Jed Collins
The Old Elf and the Cobbler’s Sons – Louellen Berger
Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah – Naomi Orlansky


Rudolph – Jed Collins
JuJu Saves Christmas – Michelle Hirstius
Bipper and Wick – Fletcher and Travers Mackel
Angels Passing – Sasha Masakowsi

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