Christmas

A picture of a hand in a fingerless glove.
ADRIGU / Flickr

Charities are urging shoppers not to forget the less fortunate during the winter holidays.

The Durham Rescue Mission and Salvation Army are collecting gifts for children.

Other shelters are asking people to drop off essentials for people who are out in the cold.

“In our winter ministry, in which we distribute clothes out in the community, we need scarves and hats and gloves and coats,” says Lynn Daniel.

Duke University via Duke Today

This weekend there is a series of performances of Handel's Messiah at Duke Chapel in Durham, N.C. The tradition has been going on for 81 years. This year the performance will be recorded live and broadcast throughout the state and the world.

Dr. Rodney Wynkoop is the Director of Chapel Music at Duke University. He says that the text of the Messiah tells the entire story of the redemption of the world.

Image of c.
JAG Entertainment

Grammy nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon and bassist John Brown bring their big band Christmas tunes back to the stage at Durham’s Carolina Theatre this Sunday, December 7.

We've been following the story of a local family and their holiday video that has gone viral. We noticed it when it had 1.5 million Youtube views.

Here's our original story, posted 12/17/13:

Possibly the cutest Christmas viral video ever features local Raleigh-based WNCN anchorman Penn Holderness, his wife Kim, six-year-old daughter Lola, and four-year-old son Penn Charles.

The song is really catchy:

Christmas music. It's nearly inescapable at this time of year - on the radio, in shops, in cafes, everywhere. When Phoebe Judge sat down to talk about "Christmas" with jazz double bassist John Brown, the question arose: Why would musicians want to add to the large catalog of existing Christmas songs and recordings?

"It comes from a place of joy," said the double bassist. "We wanted to take this material that's tested, tried and true and say something different about it."

Great Harvest For NC Christmas Tree Farmers

Nov 29, 2013
Photo: A tree farm in Rutherwood, N.C.
BlueRidgeKitties / Flickr

When Jessie Davis started tagging trees for sale in his 500-acre farm in western North Carolina this fall, he noticed his Frasier firs were taller and brighter than they were in previous years. He knew the reason was simple: this was a rainy year.

Counties across North Carolina are embarking on one of their official after-Christmas duties – disposing of hundreds of tons of Christmas trees. Here's what's happening in Wilmington.

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 tale.

Steven Kimbrough
stkimbrough.com

Everywhere you go right now, you’re probably hearing holiday tunes. But the internationally regarded baritone Steven Kimbrough is bringing a new sound to Christmas: opera. His new album, “Christmas Lullabies From Around the World” has the celebrated singer doing operatic renditions of some little known Christmas songs.

Nnenna Freelon
nnenna.com

Grammy award winning singer Nnenna Freelon is called the “international voice of jazz.” And along with bassist and composer John Brown, she is changing the sound of Christmas. The two have put out a collaboration called, “Christmas.” They’ll be performing at the Carolina Theatre on December 21st. Host Frank Stasio talks to them about their collaboration.

The North Carolina Bankers Association says the number of bank robberies is down slightly since last year. The group met with law enforcement agencies yesterday to discuss how to reduce the crime rate. The association says there have been 113 robberies this year compared to 129 in 2011. Associate counsel Dawn Thompson says the group keeps track of crime trends to help law enforcement cut down on robberies.

Cast from 'It's a Wonderful Life'
playmakersrep.org

The iconic Frank Capra film has captured the hearts and minds of people around the world. It’s the quintessential American Christmas movie. Now, the Playmakers Repertory Company is bringing a stage adaptation to Chapel Hill. “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” is showing through December 16th at the Center for Dramatic Art on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus
baylorpress.com

As Christmas draws nearer, we are flooded with images of Santa Claus. He is perhaps our most iconic symbol of the holiday. The modern Santa Claus is based on the legends of Saint Nicholas, or Nicholas of Myra from the 4th Century. Adam English is Associate Professor of Religion at Campbell University and author of “The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus” (Baylor University Press/ 2012). He joins host Frank Stasio to discuss the historical origins of Santa Claus.

NC Symphony Music Director Grant Llewellyn
NC Symphony

Handel's Messiah -- it's a staple this time of year for community sing-alongs and professional orchestras alike. The North Carolina Symphony is performing the work this weekend at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh. I spoke with conductor Grant Llewellyn earlier this week. He says he understands why the work has endured to become a holiday classic.

'Ice Punch' Poinsettia grown at NC State's Horticulture Field Lab.
Leoneda Inge

You know the holiday season is in full swing when Christmas Trees are sprouting up on big corner lots and at most big box stores.   North Carolina is one of the top producers of Christmas Trees.  The state is also a top producer of another holiday plant – the poinsettia. 

First of all – North Carolina poinsettias are grown in-doors – in greenhouses.   The conditions have to be just right. This is a tropical plant, you know.  And the colors! Walking into a poinsettia greenhouse at N-C State is like walking into a candy store!

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