Tune in for an HPPR Radio Readers Book Club holiday tradition: the two-hour broadcast of a High Plains author's delightful Christmas story: A Carol Dickens Christmas, featuring a fresh reading by the book's author, Thomas Fox Averill.


Monday, December 23, 2019

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. CT

Thursday, December 26, 2019

2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. CT

Every year, kids across the globe follow Santa Claus on his Christmas Eve journey from the North Pole. The source of the information is NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, in Colorado Springs.

Last December the website received 18 million visits from people around the globe speaking many different languages - along with evidence that kids still use phones. There were 126,000 calls last year to NORAD's Santa line.

From Texas Standard:

Many Texas holiday traditions are in full-swing. Some folks hang lights, some will go to a German-style Christmas market. Others will make tamales and attend at least one posada. If you’ve never been to one – they’re like a holiday block party. Posadas are often organized by a Catholic community to mark the Biblical journey of Mary and Joseph as they searched for a place to stay in Bethlehem. Some posadas are huge, others are intimate. But almost all of them include a special piñata. A place many folks in the Central Texas city of Manor get their posada piñata. Is one you’d only find by word of mouth.

Radio Readers Book Club Holiday Tradition Listen Now!

Dec 22, 2018

Tune in tonight for an HPPR Radio Readers Book Club holiday tradition: the two-hour broadcast of a High Plains author's delightful Christmas story: A Carol Dickens Christmas, featuring a fresh reading by the book's author, Thomas Fox Averill


Saturday, December 22th—  7-9pm CT

Monday, December 24th— 7-9pm CT

Tune in tonight for an HPPR Radio Readers Book Club holiday tradition: the two-hour broadcast of a High Plains author's delightful Christmas story: A Carol Dickens Christmas, featuring a fresh reading by the book's author, Thomas Fox Averill


Saturday, December 22th—  7-9pm CT

Monday, December 24th— 7-9pm CT

Getty Center / Wikimedia Commons

The Magi
By William Butler Yeats

Now as at all times I can see in the mind's eye,
In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones
Appear and disappear in the blue depths of the sky
With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones,
And all their helms of silver hovering side by side,
And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more,
Being by Calvary's turbulence unsatisfied,
The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor.

CC0 Creative Commons

A new study reveals that American attitudes about Christmas are changing, reports The New York Times.

The survey from the Pew Research Center suggests that Americans increasingly consider Christmas a non-religious holiday.

However, most respondents rejected the notion, popular in Conservative media, that there is a “war on Christmas.”

CC0 Creative Commons

If holiday stress has got you gnashing your teeth, a company in London has an answer for you.

For the equivalent of 24 bucks, you can spend three minutes smashing ornaments and Christmas trees in Rudolph’s rage room.

As The Huffington Post reports, visitors are given baseball bats and set loose in the room to smash ornaments, dancing Santas, and other accoutrements of the most wonderful time of the year.


Christmas was made just a little bit brighter this year for some low-income children, thanks to gifts from an unexpected source.

Some of the worst offenders in Texas prisons worked hard this holiday to crochet stuffed animals for needy kids.

The inmates made for a surprising image: These hardened men in their white prison jumpsuits, many of them muscled and heavily tattooed, bent carefully over their yarn and poking away with their crochet hooks.


Those planning to travel for the Christmas holiday should expect severe weather in some areas of the central United States.

Regardless of whether or not “the white stuff” falls from above, High Plains holidays always seems to sprinkle in great memories and offer an extra scoop of seasonal splendor.

On today’s edition of Growing on the High Plains, I’ll take you back to a time that shaped my appreciation for this special time of the year. Tune in and travel back to a time of milkshakes, penny candy, and a drug store jukebox that played both Bing and The King. Snow or no, these are the remembrances that set the scene for my High Plains holiday.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Despite increasing gas prices, AAA is projecting holiday travel to reach the highest level on record this year.

Bill Husa / Enterprise-Record

If you’re heading out into the frenzy of Black Friday, here’s some advice from mental health experts, courtesy of The Mercury News.

First of all, if you’re prone to over-shopping, consider visiting actual brick-and-mortar stores rather than shopping online.

Rosemary Tree

Dec 30, 2015

 Rosemary is an inexpensive, fragrant, and right-sized Christmas tree substitute for office and apartments.  And, if the plant doesn't survive let it dry and use on potatoes or lamb.

The Many Ways We Are Injured During the Holidays

Dec 28, 2015
National Electronic Injury Surveillance System

The numbers blog posted some interesting facts about all the different ways we get injured during the holidays. Every year during the most wonderful time of the year, people head to the emergency room in droves.

Poem: "A Ballad Of Santa Claus" by Henry Van Dyke

Dec 24, 2015
Tarja Mitrovic / Flickr Creative Commons

Here's a poem for the Holiday by Henry Van Dyke:

Among the earliest saints of old, before the first Hegira,
I find the one whose name we hold, St. Nicholas of Myra:
The best-beloved name, I guess, in sacred nomenclature,—
The patron-saint of helpfulness, and friendship, and good-nature.

Poem: "Christmas Greetings" by Lewis Carroll

Dec 24, 2015
Creative Commons

A poem for the holiday by Lewis Carroll:

Christmas Greetings

Lady dear, if Fairies may
For a moment lay aside
Cunning tricks and elfish play,
'Tis at happy Christmas-tide.

We have heard the children say -
Gentle children, whom we love -
Long ago, on Christmas Day,
Came a message from above.

Still, as Christmas-tide comes round,
They remember it again -
Echo still the joyful sound
'Peace on earth, good-will to men!'

Views of Christmas in U.S. Changing

Dec 22, 2015
Pew Research Center

The Pew Research Center has published a new survey that reveals changing about American attitudes toward Christmas.

National Christmas Tree Association

It's the time of the year when Katie Abrams sees her Fort Collins, Colo., neighbors pulling up with real trees tied to car roofs. She feels small pangs of jealousy when friends post woodsy pictures in flannel shirts, cutting down the perfect spruce.

“It all sounds really nice,” Abrams says. “And then once you go out and do it I can just imagine all the steps involved.”

That’s about when she pulls out the fake tree from the garage. An act that terrifies U.S. Christmas tree growers.

K.G.Photos / Flickr Creative Commons

The wonks over at the economics blog have devised a strategy for you to win your white elephant gift exchange using game theory. White elephant, also known as Yankee Swap, is a holiday gift-giving game where participants have the opportunity to steal a gift or to open a new one.

As you might already have figured out, the best way to win is to go last. But alas, order is chosen at random.

 One of the bonuses of teaching for so many years is that I’ve learned much from local speakers who have shared their knowledge with my students and me. In  1986, Lawrence Weigel, a regional historian from Victoria, began a tradition of speaking to my classes about local Volga German Christmas customs. Even though my grandma’s family came to America from this region, I’d never heard about the character called Belznickel that Mr. Weigel brought to life in my English classroom.

White Treasure

Dec 11, 2015

Holidays remind many of us of either family or cultural customs that connect us to generations long past. By following old family recipes, we can savor treats our ancestors have served for decades or maybe even hundreds of years. For instance, my husband’s Swiss ancestors have been making and giving linzer tarts at Christmas time long before they migrated from Switzerland to the United States. After analyzing my own great-grandma’s stash of old recipes, the English side of my family has baked date cookies and breads as well as Christmas puddings for eons.

Holiday Recommendations for Young Readers

Dec 1, 2015
CKAROLI / Flickr Creative Commons

The San Jose Mercury News published a great list last week of recommended holiday books for young readers. Leo, A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett is a gentle spooky tale and a beguiling story of acceptance. In If You're a Robot and You Know It by David A. Carter, preschoolers will have great fun clapping hands and stomping feet along with the robot.

A guide to the care and watering of  the plant that says "Christmas" no matter the time of year.

Lovers of sun light, rejoice. Soon, the winter solstice will pass for another year. Even though days grow longer only a few minutes at a time, we’ll soon enjoy more sunshine than darkness in a 24-hour span. Unfortunately, it takes a month or so of incremental minutes before longer days are noticeable, so until then let’s bask in the glow of Christmas lights.

Flash Christmas

Dec 14, 2014

What do you do when you aren’t ready for Christmas? As a former Type A Christmas junkie who decorated, baked and made dozens of cookie and candy platters, wrote long Christmas letters, and had her Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving , I’m about to find out.

Christmas Cactus

Dec 12, 2014

It takes special care to get this holiday favorite to bloom at the right time.  Skip tells you how.

Thinking of the holiday season takes me back to my childhood, the smell of black gold in the oil patch, well-worn ornaments, and a gunny sack for collecting mistletoe once the grown-ups knocked it out of the tree with buckshot.