holidays | KUOW News and Information

holidays

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

'Week in Review' panel Bill Radke, Joni Balter, Paul Guppy and Pramila Jayapal.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Does Star Wars teach kids that people are either good or bad, dark or light? Do college students need to toughen their skins? Can we make a football coach pray alone? Can Santa be a woman?

Bill Radke solves this week’s dilemmas with state Senator Pramila Jayapal, Seattle Channel's Joni Balter and Washington Policy Center's Paul Guppy.

This Christmas, Gabriel Quesada is 'Black Santa.'
Keenan Hart/From Bottom 2 Top Photography

When Gabriel Quesada was growing up in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood, his uncles told him they knew Santa.

But every Santa he saw was white, and his uncles were black.

"It just didn't make sense to me," Quesada said.

There's a cheeky reference to a troubled Seattle droid in this shot. See it? If not, click through to the next image.
Courtesy of Sheraton Seattle

Right now in the lobby of the Sheraton in downtown Seattle is an ambitious project six months in the making: A gingerbread village made of hundreds of pounds of candy and cookies capturing the struggle of rebels, Jedi and Imperial forces.

Tenor Marty Mullin at Cantare Vocal Ensemble rehearsal.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

If you Google “Puget Sound community chorales,” more than 100 groups pop up, from small Eastern European folk ensembles to the 250-member Northwest Girls’ Choir.

Thanksgiving dinnr food
Flickr Photo/Dan Tentler (CC BY NC 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1SXlIOE

In advance of the Thanksgiving holiday, The Record brought in a panel to talk about some of the key issues happening in the news.

  • Race and justice issues provoked protests at college campuses in Washington state and all over the country this month. Students of color are calling for safer spaces on campus. 
  • The Seattle City Council said no to increasing parental leave from four weeks to 12.  
  • And how do you talk politics with your family on Thanksgiving?

Bill Radke talks over the news with Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez, journalist Erica C. Barnett and University of Washington philosophy professor Michael Blake.

Other guests include Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer, Columbia journalism professor Todd Gitlin, and Lizzie Post, co-host of the podcast Amazing Etiquette.

Editor's note: This story was originally posted last year. Some information was updated on Nov. 22, 2016.

The annual presidential turkey pardoning event at the White House is a strange one. This year is President Obama's eighth and last one, but he still seems confused.

"It is a little puzzling that I do this every year," Obama said in 2014.

"I know some folks think this tradition is a little silly," he said a year later. "I do not disagree."

The president has made the event something of an annual dad joke.

Move over, turkey. Step aside, stuffing.

Green Bean Casserole, an iconic Thanksgiving dish, turns 60 years old this year, and it's as popular as ever.

Love it or loathe it, the classic Midwestern casserole has come to mean more than just a mashup of processed food sitting next to the mashed potatoes.

If you are turkey-averse, turkeyphobic or just bored with the bird, fear not. We've got some other main dish ideas for you.

"What I think is cool is to put a center roast on the table that comes from the woods itself: something wild, something home-hunted, like venison," Amy Thielen, Minnesotan and author of The New Midwestern Table, tells All Things Considered's Ari Shapiro. Deer, says Thielen, is "one of those secret underground proteins in the American meat-eating story."

L122, one of the newest members of the Southern Resident Community of orcas, spotted Sept. 7 near Sooke, British Columbia.
Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research

Why is KUOW acquiring KPLU 88.5? Also: What war on Christmas? And should we keep orcas off display? Bill Radke distills the news with Luke Burbank, Erica C. Barnett, Bill Finkbeiner, KUOW General Manager Caryn Mathes, Rob Vernon of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Donald Trump helps out a bit too.

Marine veteran John Knox arranges fall produce at the Growing Veterans farm stand at the VA Hospital in Seattle. Knox says learning to farm helped him make the transition back to civilian life.
KUOW photo/Patricia Murphy

Army vet Josh Wheeldon can tick off a half-dozen veterans groups he has volunteered with: The Mission Continues, AmeriCorps Vet Corps, Team Rubicon, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, 22Kill, Seattle Stand Down and Team Red White and Blue.

He’s also a lifetime member of the older Veterans of Foreign Wars. But he doesn’t always feel like he fits in there.

The leadership of the American Legion and VFW is seeking younger, more diverse members. But they face a challenge changing their public image.


Groups like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars have served former service members for a century. But declining membership threatens to lessen their influence.


If you think it's too early for Christmas ads, you're not alone. But the new seasonal spot from British retailer John Lewis is something of a sensation, with nearly 12 million people having watched the tear-jerking video since Thursday.

It's pumpkin-selling season, and crowds are flocking to farms to pick out their own jack-o'-lanterns. But this year, challenging weather conditions have cut the supply of pumpkins — both for carving and canning.

Heavy summer rains in parts of the Midwest and elsewhere have left many farmers short on pumpkins. And in California, drought has squeezed the crop.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

It's Independence Day. Let's take a break from parades, patriotic songs and pyrotechnics to think about the Declaration of Independence, which was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

Now that the holidays are over, another season has arrived. It's time for children to put pen to paper and scratch out thank you letters — all under the watchful eye of their parents.

In a recent piece for The Guardian, Peter Ormerod argues that it's time to do away with that ritual. He writes that thank you letters "represent arguably the first instance in our lives when insincerity is officially sanctioned, which is particularly sad given that the best thing about children is their honesty."

New Year's fireworks at the Space Needle.
Flickr Photo/sea turtle (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman checks in with BJ Fogg, director of the Stanford Persuasive Tech Lab and creator of the Tiny Habits system of behavior modification, about whether or either of them were able to keep their 2014 New Year's resolutions.

How would the director of the Seattle Opera advise the city going into 2015? (Hopefully, not to follow the lead of Don Giovanni)
Facebook Photo/Seattle Opera

All this month, we asked the guests on The Record what Seattle should have as its New Year's resolution.

The first time I ever got tipsy was during a champagne toast at a cousin's wedding reception.

All was good, until the room started spinning — and the sight of my cousin's bride dancing in her wedding dress was just a whirl of lace.

Of course, if you're an uninitiated teenager, any amount of alcohol can go straight to your head. But, decades later, bubbly wine still seems to hit me faster than, say, beer. It turns out there's a reason.

Jews, Chinese Food And Christmas: A Love Story

Dec 24, 2014
Chinese food fortune cookie
Flickr Photo/Ginny (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Hanna Raskin, former food critic for the Seattle Weekly, about the historical reasons why American Jews traditionally eat Chinese food on Christmas.

Most Christmas trees get kicked to the curb and ground up into mulch after the holidays. But a Portland-area conservation group is trying to change that.

The Tualatin Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited has found used Christmas trees make great salmon habitat when placed in coastal waterways.

Next month, they're launching the third year of a program they call Christmas for Coho. They'll collect used Christmas trees on three Saturdays in January and place them in the Necanicum River, coastal stream in northwest Oregon.

In Seattle, the Pacific Northwest Ballet performs The Nutcracker to that same ubiquitous Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky score. The ballet tells the story of Clara, a young girl whose grandfather gives her a nutcracker at a party. One night, Clara goes searching for her nutcracker and walks right into a battle between a regiment of toy soldiers and a wily team of oversized rodents.

Flickr Photo/nwlynch (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Did you know E.B. White was fired by the Seattle Times in 1923? You’ll learn about that and other curiosities in this Yuletide episode of Speakers Forum.

It features stories by White, John Updike, Ken Kesey, Vladimir Nabokov and a spoof on Clement Clark Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”

Our faithful rogues included Paul Dorpat, Jean Sherrard, Randy Hoffmeyer, Marianne Owen, David Skovar and Seattle indie American band Pineola.

Santa Is Magic And Can Be Any Race You Imagine

Dec 23, 2014
An Artherton Elementary School student sings for a Make-A-Wish child for National Believe Day at on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, in Houston.
AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher

Ross Reynolds talks with Debra Sullivan, president of the Seattle chapter of the Black Child Development Institute, about why having multiracial Santa Clauses is good for children.

A Guide To Gifts For Those Who Can't See

Dec 23, 2014

In this week of Christmas, we want to go through some holiday gift ideas, but this is not your typical gift list. We want to look at ideas for the visually impaired — including new technology that can help people without sight do everything from read a book to tell the time.

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.

USPS unveiled a marketing campaign this year in advance of the hectic holiday delivery season.
Screen shot from YouTube

Marcie Sillman talks with Jo Ann Pyle about working conditions for U.S. Postal Service workers during the holiday season. Pyle is president of Branch 79 of the National Association of Letter Carriers in Seattle.

Perhaps you are familiar with the oft-quoted wisdom of (allegedly) Coco Chanel that when a woman gets dressed and believes she's ready, she should take off one accessory before she leaves the house.

When Beth Barrett was a girl, she and her mother had a Christmas ritual.

"My mom and I would watch 'The Sound of Music,'" says Barrett, now director of programming for SIFF, the organization that produces the annual Seattle International Film Festival. For her, the holidays weren't complete with this familiar cinematic ritual.

Pages