As 2021 draws to a close, it brings glimmers of hope that we might be starting to regain some of what makes the holidays special. Gathering with loved ones looks different, but safer than last year. Travel is cautious, but possible. And whether you’re feeling secure in your vaccinated status, or still avoiding the crowds, WFPL will be there to bring tidings of comfort and joy — you supply the egg nog.
For the rest of the year, we’re bringing you some holiday favorites of years past and some new editions to our holiday schedule.
Thursday, Dec. 2
8-9 p.m.: ‘Candles Burning Brightly’
It’s the fourth night of Hanukkah. Join us for “Candles Burning Brightly,” a one-hour celebration of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights with an exploration of Hanukkah foods and traditional activities … and plenty of music.
Wednesday, Dec. 22
7-8:30 p.m.: ‘Fifth Third Bank’s A Christmas Carol: A Radio Play’
Actors Theatre of Louisville continues the tradition with a rebroadcast of the 2020 audio adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic. This spirited listening experience, brought to life by the Actors Theatre creative team, is infused with all the hearty laughs and abundant good cheer that make this story a cherished Christmas classic.
8:30-9 p.m.: ‘A Child’s Christmas In Wales’
Louisville broadcaster Barry Bernson has reimagined Dylan Thomas’ story “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” for a radio audience, complete with voices from our community. Recorded in 2019.
Friday, Dec. 24
10-11 a.m.: ‘Tinsel Tales 4: NPR Christmas Stories Told Through Song’
NPR revisits interviews with musicians about their Christmas albums. Some, like Katie Melua and Sting, celebrate tradition and winter mystery in their Christmas songs. Others, like Kenny Rogers and Amy Grant, find spirituality and stability in holiday music. Jon Batiste and Anthony Hamilton bring new energy to old favorites on their Christmas albums. Hosted by Lynn Neary.
11 a.m.-Noon: ‘Tinsel Tales 3: Even More NPR Christmas Favorites’
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. Hosted by Lynn Neary.
Noon-1 p.m.: ‘Tinsel Tales 2: More NPR Christmas Favorites’
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. Hosted by Lynn Neary.
1-2 p.m.: ‘Tinsel Tales: NPR Christmas Favorites’
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. Hosted by Lynn Neary.
2-3 p.m.: ‘Selected Shorts: Holiday Hurdles with David Sedaris’
In “Selected Shorts: Holiday Hurdles with David Sedaris,” audiences are invited to reimagine holiday rituals. Selected Shorts’ late host and founder Isaiah Sheffer is featured as the reader of Tobias Wolff’s “Powder,” in which a pre-Christmas snowstorm provides an adventure for a father and son.
In Allegra Goodman’s gentle borrowing from an O’Henry classic, a long-established couple discover they can surprise one another; Dana Ivey and Michael Cerveris read her “Gifts of the Jewish Magi.”
And David Sedaris says English writer Jeanette Winterson captures the city to a T in “Christmas in New York,” a modern fairy tale with just a hint of magic, performed by Richard Masur.
3-4 p.m.: ‘Jonathan 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. From NPR and KCRW.
6-7 p.m.: ‘Joy To The World – A Holiday in Pink’
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.
7-8 p.m.: ‘Hollywood Holiday’
Host Lynne Warfel takes listeners on a one-hour musical retrospective of some of Hollywood’s most cherished Christmas themed movies. Selections feature scores from “Scrooge, the Musical,” “A Muppet Christmas Carol,” “The Polar Express,” “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and more.
8-9 p.m.: ‘A Mountain Stage Holiday’
From the heartfelt to the humorous, “Mountain Stage” looks back at the songs and stories that remind us of this special time of year. Larry Groce hosts.
Monday, Dec. 27
7-8 p.m.: ‘A Season’s Griot 2021’
On the second day of Kwanzaa, join us for “A Season’s Griot,” public radio’s only nationally syndicated Kwanzaa program. Hosted for 25 years by acclaimed storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson, this annual one-hour special captures the tales and traditions of African American and African peoples.
Friday, Dec. 31
11 a.m.-Noon & 8-9 p.m.: ‘A Look Back at 2021 from WFPL’
Listen back to some memorable radio stories produced by the WFPL Newsroom in 2021.
9 p.m. – 1 a.m.: ‘Toast of the Nation’
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 festive jazz you can party to all night long.
This post has been updated.