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KERA Holiday Programs 2015

National Christmas Tree Lighting

KERA is excited to celebrate the holiday season with a festive lineup of television and radio programs. Read below for program descriptions and air times:


Monday, December 14
9pm – 10pm – National Christmas Tree Lighting 2015

Actress Reese Witherspoon hosts the 93rd annual lighting of the national Christmas tree at the White House in Washington, D.C.


Monday, December 21
8pm – 9pm – Christmas with Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Returning this Christmas as our guest singer is award winning broadway singer Laura Osnes. She is joined by the Metropolitan Opera Soloists including Erin Morley—Soprano, Tamara Mumford—Mezzo-Soprano, Ben Bliss—Tenor, and Tyler Simpson—Bass. Martin Jarvis, acclaimed British screen and voice actor, will be our guest narrator.

9pm – 10pm – Christmas at Belmont 2015

Join Grammy-winning host Kathy Mattea and nearly 700 student musicians, Belmont School of Music faculty and Nashville Children’s Choir for a production of traditional carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal favorites.


Tuesday, December 22

7pm – 8pm – Lidia Celebrates America: Home For The Holidays

Join celebrity chef and television host Lidia Bastianich as she celebrates the holidays at home with some of her celebrity friends.

8pm – 9pm – Christmas in Alsace with Chef Hubert Keller

It’s a Christmas celebration with star chef Hubert Keller who is taking viewers on a special culinary journey to his homeland of Alsace. Visit the area’s famed Christmas markets and its top culinary hotspots. Highlights include: A tour through the beautiful village where Chef Keller grew up and its medieval Christmas market; Stops at Chef Keller’s favorite cheese store and restaurant, plus an Alsatian winery; A finale at a spectacular Christmas dinner attended by Chef Keller’s family and friends.

9pm – 10pm – Chef’s Life Holiday Special

Having spent most of her adult life in the kitchens of highly-lauded restaurants, Vivian has rarely celebrated the holidays during busy Decembers. This year, she and her husband Ben Knight are determined to give their toddler twins a traditional holiday experience, cooking, laughing, and yes, crying their way through Southern traditions new and old. In this holiday special, Vivian discovers that mistletoe is traditionally shot out of a pecan tree, experiences her first hog killing, and leads a “tacky Christmas sweater” night with the restaurant staff at Chef and the Farmer.


Thursday, December 24

7pm – 8pm – Mr. Stink

Chloe (Nell Tiger Free) sees Mr. Stink (Hugh Bonneville) every day, but she’s never spoken to him, which isn’t surprising, because he’s a tramp — and he stinks. But before she knows it, Chloe has an unusual friend hiding in her garden shed when it seems Mr. Stink and his stinky dog, Duchess, might be driven out of town. As Chloe struggles to make sure no one sniffs out Mr. Stink, she also has to cope with an overbearing mum who is more interested in her own political ambitions than her daughter, her put-upon dad who has a secret of his own, her “perfect” younger sister, Annabelle, and the nasty girls who make her life miserable at school. There is also one other person with an extraordinary secret, as it turns out that there is more to Mr. Stink than meets the eye … or nose. This special family comedy with a nose-clenching twist is based on David Walliams’ best-selling book.

8pm – 9pm – Rick Steves’ European Christmas

Join Rick Steves for a colorful, musical celebration of Christmas across Europe. From England to Wales, France, Norway, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy, you’ll see the bright Christmas markets, hear local choirs, share holiday traditions with families…and even play in the snow.


Friday, December 25
8pm – 9:30pm – Call the Midwife Holiday Special

As celebrations swing into action, Poplar readies itself for Christmas 1960; a festive bus trip to see the Regent Street lights and a visit from a BBC film crew promise to make it a Christmas to remember. But it’s a difficult time of year for grieving mother Iris; bringing back memories of her long departed baby daughter. And at Nonnatus, things are tense as Sister Monica Joan determines to bring the Christmas spirit early, despite Sister Evangelina’s disgust. As the community pull together to prepare for the televised carol concert, Nonnatus is rocked when Sister Monica Joan goes missing.

Friday, January 1
6:30pm – 8pm – Great Performances: From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2016

The Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Mariss Jansons performs favorite Strauss Family waltzes at the opulent Musikverein accompanied by the Vienna City Ballet. Stage and screen legend Julie Andrews returns as host, touring the picturesque city.



Monday, December 7

8pm – 9pm – Hanukkah Lights 2015

A perennial NPR favorite, Hanukkah Lights features Hanukkah stories and memoirs written by Kathryn Blume, Leah Lax, Eric Kimmel, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Jonathan Safran Foer as read by NPR’s Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz.


Tuesday, December 8

8pm – 9pm – Chanukah in Story and Song

This hour-long Chanukah favorite returns: A celebration by The Western Wind performing Ladino songs of Spanish Jews, Yiddish melodies of Eastern Europe and modern Israeli tunes.


Wednesday, December 9

8pm – 9pm – Candles Burning Brightly

A one-hour celebration of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights with an exploration of Chanukah foods and traditional activities … and plenty of music.


Thursday, December 24

7pm – 8pm – Jonathon Winters’ A Christmas Carol

Jonathon Winters’ A Christmas Carol. An updated version of a public radio tradition hosted by NPR’s Susan Stamberg. Master comedian Jonathan Winters presents a distinctive reading of Dickens’ holiday classic, with a special performing edition prepared by Dickens for his own presentations. Also featuring Mimi Kennedy.

8pm – 1am – In His Own Words – Glenn Mitchell Christmas Blockbuster

A beloved holiday tradition in North Texas, hear Glenn’s own readings, interviews, histories, oddities, trivia and loads of holiday music.


Friday, December 25

8pm – 9pm – NPR Tinsel Tales 1

This program features stories from the NPR archives that touch on the meaning of Christmas. David Sedaris, Bailey White, John Henry Faulk — these and other NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Featured Stories: Dad ‘n’ Sam (Jay Allison), Homeless Christmas (Lee Stringer), Christmas Morning, 1949 (Sylvia Seymour/Paul Auster), Low-Glamour Christmas Party (Bailey White), Doing it in the Closet (John McIlwraith), Christopher (Jay O’Callahan), Ode to Christmas (Chuck Kramer), Santaland Diaries (David Sedaris), Modern Day Joseph and Mary (Scott Simon), John Henry Faulk’s Christmas Story (John Henry Faulk)

Noon – 1pm & 9pm – 10pm – NPR Tinsel Tales 2

NPR fills millions of homes each holiday with humor, warmth, and a host of festive voices. Continuing with the tradition of the first Tinsel Tales program, this is another collection of the best and most requested holiday stories. Joy, hope, and childhood memories overflow as NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Featured Stories: December’s Soundtrack (Amy Dickinson), Christmas With UPS (Loree Gold), Merry Stressmas: It’s That Time Of The Year (Kevin Kling), Appreciating The Ugliness Of The Christmas Tree (Ken Harbaugh), Stealing Hemlock (Bailey White), Christmas Lights Tour (Bill Harley), Christmas With The Totenbergs (Nina Totenberg), The Gift Of The Magi (O. Henry, read by NPR’s Audie Cornish), Christmas For Cows (Baxter Black), Christmas Pudding (Marialisa Calta), Caroling In The Cold (Julie Zickefoose), Christmas Magic (Joseph C. Phillips), Grinch’s True End (John Moe)

1pm – 2pm & 10pm – 11pm – NPR Tinsel Tales 3

In keeping with a well-loved NPR holiday tradition, hear the third collection of extraordinary Christmas stories that will transport you to unexpected places. Audie Cornish, Ken Harbaugh, Nina Totenberg and other voices from NPR’s past and present tell stories of the season in this hour-long special. Some tales are funny; some are touching; some are insightful or irreverent or nostalgic or surprising. You might recognize them from our broadcast archives — or you might fall in love with them for the first time. Featured Stories: Santa Claus, Private Eye (Duck’s Breath Mystery Theatre of San Francisco), Pass The Fois Gras: Christmas Menu Hard To Digest (Firoozeh Dumas), A ‘Silent Night’ That Brought Healing (Steve Banko), The Christmas Club (Bill Harley), All I Wanted For Christmas (NPR staffers), Christmas Gift Records (The Ban-Smo Label), The Night Before Christmas, Latin Style (Read by NPR’s Claudio Sanchez), The Designated Celebrator (Melinda Shoaf), Christmas Truce (Historian Douglas Brinkley), Wolf Christmas (Daniel Pinkwater)

7pm – 8pm – Pink Martini’s Joy to the World: A Holiday Spectacular

The internationally acclaimed “little orchestra” Pink Martini bedecks the airwaves with festive holiday songs from across the globe. From timeless classics to rarely heard gems, hear a multi-denominational, multi-cultural jubilee, overflowing with enough holiday spirit to warm your entire family. Hosted by All Things Considered’s Ari Shapiro.


Saturday, December 26

7pm – 8pm – A Season’s Griot 2015

This one-hour celebration in story and song is public radio’s only nationally syndicated Kwanzaa program. Hosted for nearly 20 years by acclaimed storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson, this annual special captures the tales and traditions of African American and African peoples.


Thursday, December 31

9pm – 2am – NPR Toast of the Nation 2015-16

An NPR tradition every New Year’s Eve since the 1970s, Toast of the Nation is the perfect audio complement for the occasion. It’s jazz that you can party to, all night long with countdowns to midnight in all four continental time zones. Spirited, improvised, grooving and swinging, each segment is a stop in a sequence of celebrations, contributing something new to the musical feast.