holidays | KUOW News and Information

holidays

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.

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