wildly curious
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The History of Christmas Traditions

Andy Melton via CC/Flickr, http://bit.ly/2BKBXOa

Wednesday, we're talking about Christmas and the bountiful customs that accompany it. Just why do we do stuff like wrap presents, hang lights, and drink eggnog? And why is it so darn commercial these days? (Hint: it's always been that way.)

RadioWest divider.

Christmas is the time to come together. It's also the time for drinking. And eating. And a story about an elf in a flying sleigh. Christmas is a lot of things to a lot of people in a lot of different places. But, says historian Judith Flanders, all those things are far more central to the story of the festive season than religious worship. In a new book, Flanders unwraps the fascinating history of Christmas past and present to explore the origins of the traditions that wreathe it in myth.

Judith Flanders is a historian and the author of several books on the Victorian era, including The Invention of Murder and The Victorian City. Her new book is called Christmas: A Biography [Independent bookstores|Amazon].

Doug Fabrizio has been reporting for KUER News since 1987, and became News Director in 1993. In 2001, he became host and executive producer of KUER's RadioWest, a one hour conversation/call-in show on KUER 90.1 in Salt Lake City. He has gained a reputation for his thoughtful style. He has interviewed everyone from Isabel Allende to the Dalai Lama, and from Madeleine Albright to Desmond Tutu. His interview skills landed him a spot as a guest host of the national NPR program, "Talk of the Nation." He has won numerous awards for his reporting and for his work with RadioWest and KUED's Utah NOW from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists, the Utah Broadcasters Association, the Public Radio News Directors Association and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.