First hour: Tinsel Tales 4: So Much More NPR Christmas Favorites
Second hour: Selected Shorts Gift Set 2017: "Not How I Imagined It"
In keeping with a well-loved NPR holiday tradition, hear the fourth collection of extraordinary Christmas stories that will transport you to unexpected places. 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. Hosted by Lynn Neary.
Then in our second hour, guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents four holiday tales. Christmas is a time of joy, but also of reckoning and reflection. Two pieces on this holiday program poke a little fun at our very high expectations. And two are tinged with melancholy. The department store Barney’s, on Madison Avenue in New York City, is famous for its witty, extravagant window displays, created by Simon Doonan. One year, the theme was famous people and trends. And luckily for us, it included the late David Rakoff in the role of Sigmund Freud. His hilarious account, “Christmas Freud,” is read by Jon Glaser. Our next work is “Violets,” by the Irish writer Edna O’Brien. O’Brien understands desire, and it’s almost palpable in this story of a middle-aged woman waiting for a new lover. The reader is Fionnula Flanagan. In William Maxwell’s “Homecoming,” a young man returns to his home town—but something is missing. “Homecoming” is read by Keir Dullea. And humorist Calvin Trillin gets the last word on this program: Let’s face it, despite all the comfort and joy, good will towards men, and merry merriness, sometimes Christmas is just an obstacle course. Too many relatives, too many presents, too little time. Trillin feels your pain, and tells us why he wants to spend “Christmas in Qatar.”