holidays | KUOW News and Information

holidays

You might be in the market for a Christmas tree right about now, but have you thought about what type of Christmas tree you want in eight years?

Believe it or not, it might be hard to find one. That’s because of a tree seedling shortage happening right now across the West.

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.

present gift wrapped
Flickr Photo/Plastic_Bat (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/7m9UP1

This holiday season, let's all try to avoid being like Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout.

Remember her? The famed profligate from the Shel Silverstein poem who refused to take the garbage out? Let us refresh your memory.

Many people have anxiety about what to do when those at their Thanksgiving table say uncomfortable or offensive things. Teens deal with that too.

Youth Radio (@youthradioasked three teens how adults misbehave at their tables, and how they cope.

If Washington lawmakers don’t pass a state budget by June 30, the state will go into a partial government shutdown. And the impacts would be significant.

So what would that look like?

I'm in the middle of tapping out an email to my dad, deleting and retyping sentences.

On Friday night I'll cook an abridged Chinese New Year Eve dinner, I write.

Maybe I'll cook noodles (symbolizing happiness, longevity) or dumplings (symbolizing wealth). I don't tell him what I'll do exactly. This is the first time in my adult life, apart from drinking parties organized under the guise of making dumplings for Lunar New Year, that I've paid attention to this holiday.

Flickr Photo: Marilylle Soveran

The writer Henry Fielding defined a rogue as a rich man without charity. Merriam-Webster describes a dishonest, worthless or mischievous person. This year, Seattle stage rogues Jean Sherrard, Paul Dorpat, Khanh Doan and Kurt Beattie shared their talents for the annual “Short Stories Live: A Rogue’s Christmas.”

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:

The Washington State Patrol is cracking down on drunk drivers for the holidays.

Bill Radke sits down with local author Maria Semple, author of "Where's You Go, Bernadette?" and the new "Today Will Be Different." Semple discusses the idea of "the helpless traveler," a theory that when on vacation, you choose to either take charge or do absolutely nothing. 

Richard Ziman, Pilar O’Connell and Bhama Roget in Wayne Rawley’s “Christmastown”
Courtesy of Chris Bennion

When it comes to favorite things, Sandbox Radio should be high on any radio theatre lover’s list. The troupe brings talent and infectious enthusiasm to their one-night-only shows. This winter holiday episode, with musical help from the Cascadia Big Band, features the following performances:

  • "Christmastown” adapted from the stage play by Wayne Rawley
  • "Festival Of Lights - A Presentation" by Juliet Waller Pruzan
  • "King John's Christmas" by A. A. Milne, adapted by Richard Ziman

Back when I was drinking, I loved the holiday season, because it was a time of year when getting blasted was perfectly acceptable.

Eat, drink and be merry? Hey, I'm just following the rules here.

Between open bars, champagne toasts and office parties, the month of December was one long pub crawl for me, and if I drank too much — and I always drank too much — I could absolve myself on Jan. 1, when I swore to a bunch of resolutions I would inevitably break about two weeks later.

I've made so many false promises on New Year's Day, you'd think I was running for office.

Candy Cane Lane in 2013 in Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood.
Flickr Photo/Frank Fujimoto (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) http://bit.ly/2h3ApXV

I want to highlight a good deed that someone has done this Christmas season.

Someone stole Christmas decorations from Seattle's famous Candy Cane Lane in Ravenna.

Nearly 2,000 people in New Zealand are gearing up to spread a little joy by giving a gift to a stranger.

On election night, did you already have a bad feeling about your family Thanksgiving? One Northwest brother and sister did. Jessica Brady and Jeremy Holmes both voted for Hillary Clinton. Their parents didn’t.

Every holiday season, things get a "bit tricky," says Risa Greene, 53, from New York City. "You have one child who is a human garbage disposal and will eat anything you put in front of him, and you have another child who is more restricted than [the] TSA."

Greene's son is an omnivore — he eats everything. Her daughter, Jessica, is a vegan. She stopped eating meat when she was in high school years ago, then dropped dairy products and eggs in college and eventually gave up gluten, too.

Many, many Thanksgivings ago, my fiance took me home to Allentown, Pa., to be inspected by his family. During our visit, my mother-in-law-to-be served a relish so delicious that I married her son.

Ever since, I've shared the recipe with NPR listeners right before Thanksgiving. Now, supportive listeners may be shocked to learn that over the years, I've gotten a good deal of grief about this recipe — especially from my NPR colleagues, many of whom have never bothered to taste it!

Meals cooked at home keep getting cheaper, and Thanksgiving dinner will be a real bargain this year.

That's what two separate measures of food prices showed on Thursday.

One gauge, the Consumer Price Index done in October by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that the cost of food at the supermarket — known as "food-at-home" prices — fell for the sixth straight month. Such prices are now down 2.3 percent from the same time last year.

The Fourth of July is just around the corner. And in the tiny wheat-farming town of Johnson, Washington, they’re getting ready for the 50th year of what some call “America’s Craziest Parade.”

Every summer, around 4,000 people from across the country flock to Johnson. Population 50.

The biggest beach party in the world was going on around him, but lifeguard Cabo Guido Serafini was looking at the woman writhing on the sand.

She seemed like she was in convulsions, with her eyes rolling back in her head and a stream of what seemed like nonsense coming out of her mouth. More alarmingly, she was right on the edge of the water, and the sea was tumultuous. He quickly got to work, crouching down to see if he could revive her.

All is not calm weatherwise, but it will be extra bright this Christmas.

"A rare full moon will be an added gift for the holidays," NASA says. A full moon on Christmas hasn't happened since 1977, and it won't happen again until 2034.

You'll have to get up early on Christmas Day to catch the moon in all its glory. "The moon's peak this year will occur at 6:11 a.m. EST," NASA says.

Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard tell stories of Christmas at Seattle's Town Hall.
Courtesy of Jean Sherrard

For the last 10 years, a troop of Seattle actors have gathered to tell holiday stories. Although sometimes Grinchy, these stories have always been festive and delightful.

America’s first ‘War on Christmas’

Dec 23, 2015
p
Howard Pyle

It's pretty common to hear people complaining about the so-called "War on Christmas." Whoever designs the cups at Starbucks knows what we’re talking about.

But the US relationship with the Christian holiday is pretty complex.

Did you know, for example, that Christmas used to be illegal in Massachusetts and much of New England? And it remained taboo in that part of the country until at least ­1870, when the Feds declared it a national holiday.

Mike DiCecco carrying a Christmas tree
Courtesy of MJD Distributors Garden Center

Have you ever heard of the Chubby and Tubby variety stores? Back in the day they were a Seattle institution. They were known for cheap Converse shoes, cheap fishing supplies, cheap everything. 

It's been about 12 years since the Chubby and Tubby stores shut down, but it turns out their cheap Christmas tree tradition lives on.

What makes for a truly merry Christmas? Is your time better spent picking perfect, personalized gifts and decorating your home, or enjoying holiday cheer with family and friends?

A TSA bomb-sniffing dog.
Courtesy of TSA/Lorie Dankers

More than a million people are expected to pass through Sea-Tac airport this week and next.

More people means more chances for long lines and bottlenecks. But the airport has been working on ways to avoid that. Sea-Tac spokesperson Perry Cooper said the TSA has brought in more helpers to speed up the lines: bomb-sniffing dogs.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Or A Virtual Visit From St. Marco

With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, who first published his version 192 years ago today.

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land
Not one candidate spoke — no, not even Rand.
Not a voice could be heard at a town hall or forum,
Not even Pataki or poor Rick Santorum.

A headline for a chart caught our eye this week: "US Holiday Lights Use More Electricity than El Salvador Does In a Year."

Courtesy of StoryCorps

At the StoryCorps booth in Seattle's  New Holly neighborhood last summer, Anne Delvecchio and Larry Valdez talked about how a chance encounter with Santa Claus helped save a life.

Panettone may have once sounded exotic, but these days, the dome-shaped Italian fruit bread is readily available on American grocery store shelves. And if you're ready to expand your repertoire of global holiday breads, there are many more yeasty, doughy traditions to nibble on. And they all remind us how expensive, imported fruits — like Greek currants and Italian candied citrus peel — have long been a part of our most treasured Christmas foods.

Here, a brief tour of five other fruited holiday breads from around the world.

Julekake

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