12.27.15: The Holiday Cocoon Show

Dec 25, 2015
Sean Reay via Flickr CC /

Last winter researchers set off for Norway’s northern reaches where the sun barely rises above the horizon to find out how residents cope with the cold and darkness and discovered something remarkable. Today, we reveal the Norwegian secret to enjoying a harsh winter.

born1945 via Flickr CC /

The family that owns the craft chain Hobby Lobby is opening a Museum of the Bible just blocks from the National Mall. It will be the first time their vast collection of biblical artifacts will be open to the public, but where exactly did these artifacts come from? On today’s show, a look into the provenance of the bible museum.

It's Official: This is the Best Holiday Song EVER

Dec 21, 2015

After a contentious battle, our first ever, December Madness Holiday Song Showdown winner has been crowned: White Christmas by Bing Crosby. Poor She & Him didn't stand a chance against Bing; it was a landslide victory.

Maybe it's because the weather outside hasn't been too frightful and Jack Frost hasn't been doing much nipping at our noses here on the East Coast. Or maybe when it comes down to it, a classic song sung by a classic crooner is what we really want to hear come December. 

A big thank you to everyone who participated, and to everyone who shared their picks for the holiday song they can't live without. We've compiled a list of most of those songs below  so you can create your very own, Word of Mouth crowd sourced holiday playlist. (We left out Pump up the Jam and Stairway to Heaven because we're pretty sure we were being punked with those choices.)

Anthony Quintano via Flickr CC /

Among the challenges for people transitioning genders: learning a new voice.

On today’s show, a number of vocal coaches are now working with clients who are self-conscious about their speaking voices. The butterfly music transgender chorus is teaching them to sing.

Then, for all its cheer, December brings with it a number of potentially awkward or befuddling situations. We'll get advice from Slate's Dear Prudence who has some solid ideas for how to handle the holidays. 

Title/ Artist/ Album/ Label

Sporan Dhomhnaill, Mist on the Glen, Miss Monaghan/ Battlefield Band/ Beg and Borrow/ Temple Records

January/ Clara Baker/ Temporary Things/  Clara Baker

Round My Lullay/ Sally Rogers/ At Quiet O'Clock/ Round River

Winter Snow ; Never Go Astray ; Lion's Mane Jeremiah McLane/ The Grinding Stone/ Jeremiah McLane

I Got Trouble/ Holly Near/ And Still We Sing: The Outspoken Collection/ Calico Tracks

Trouble/ Little Feat/ Join The Band/ Savoy

The Heater's Broken/ Emily Kurn/ I'm Just Like You/ Emily Kurn

Library of Congress

A writer and community activist in New Hampshire will be honored today by the Martin Luther King Coalition.

JerriAnne Boggis is being recognized for her work to tell the often little known stories of African Americans in the state. Boggins is an activist and the director for the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail. She says on this holiday, she hopes Granite Staters will remember Dr. King’s ideals – and his actions.

Thanksgiving Tales, Tips, & Travails

Nov 26, 2014
Satya Murthy / Flickr/CC

From family feuds to terrible traffic to sixteen dinner guests with varied dietary restrictions, we’re hearing stories from this uniquely American holiday: how we gather, why we gather, and what makes this day so linked to tradition.  Also, we'll look at the debate over how Black Friday has crept into Thanksgiving Thursday.


11.11.14: Veteran's Day

Nov 11, 2014
jpellgen via flickr Creative Commons

Ron Capps served in five wars in ten years, and was left with severe PTSD. On today’s show, he talks with us about founding the Veterans Writing Project to harness the power of prose for coping with the hidden wounds of war. Plus, we’ll find out how one mother of three dealt with her husband’s prolonged absence during military deployments: by asking guests to fill his empty seat once a week.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

American Flag
Brandi Korte / Flickr Creative Commons


An organization that studies New Hampshire tourism says an estimated 880,000 out-of-state visitors are expected for the July 4th holiday weekend and they are expected to spend about $131 million.

The forecasts from the Institute for New Hampshire Studies are higher than last year's predictions. The period covers July 3-July 7.

Most of the visitors will be from New England and the Middle Atlantic States. Canadians are anticipated to be visiting New Hampshire at higher levels than last year.

Affendaddy via flickr Creative Commons

Maybe it’s the repetition, or maybe the obligatory cheeriness, but there’s something about hearing holiday songs that you don’t like that rankles much more deeply than other assaults on the senses.  We asked listeners to share their favorite seasonal tunes on our Facebook page, along with the ones they hate.

Sherwin Sleeves

Christmas songs can quickly puncture the spirit of the season with deep rancor. NHPR’s Sean Hurley found this out for himself, when he decided to compose a new Christmas carol. Sean's song, “The Christmas La La Song” was picked up by Sirius XM shock jocks Opie and Anthony. We’ll let Sean pick it up from there. And a reminder that these are the kind of radio personalities that love to inflame…

Logan Shannon/Sara Plourde / NHPR

It’s the season for giving back and there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer at soup kitchens, at clinics and hospitals, or swinging a Christmas bell for the Salvation Army … but what about those volunteer opportunities that fly under the radar?  In New Hampshire, a number of brave and selfless volunteers tackle a task most people dread…filing taxes.

The eight day Jewish festival of lights, known by the general public for its candles and dreidels is an ancient celebration of religious freedom and a miracle. Now, the author of a new book offers a uniquely American take on the holiday and how in this country, it was transformed from a minor festival to a major occasion.


puzzler4879 via flickr Creative Commons

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and every year around this time, our thoughts and stomachs go out to food. Long before deep fried turkeys, gelatinized cranberry sauce, and boxed stuffing there was the inaugural Thanksgiving feast at the Plymouth plantation. So what was on the table that day? Abigail Carroll might have an idea. She’s a food historian and author who has studied the Colonial and Native American diet extensively. We spoke with her earlier this month about her new book,Three Squares: The Invention of The American Meal.

Michael Samuels

The Day of the Dead is celebrated from October 31st through November 2nd, from Latin America – and especially Mexico – to New Hampshire.

sheeshoo via Flickr Creative Commons

Whether it's a blinking laser gun, a noisy video game, or a robot doll that cries real tears, chances are this year's biggest selling holiday toys will be high-tech, battery operated, and chock full of bells and whistles.

Fighting back against the trend toward bright, noisy toys is Thierry Bourret of the toy company Asobi and founder of Slow Toy Movement, a website dedicated to promoting toys that educate and engage without plastic or power sources. Later this month, he will be announcing the winners of the 2nd annual Slow Toy Awards, and joins us for a preview. 

This week marks the start of the Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year. This fifteen-day celebration is the longest and most important holiday in China, featuring family reunions, fireworks, traditional meals, red lanterns, and the traditional gift of the Hong Bao, or Red Packet.

The Case of the Missing Santa Claus

Dec 19, 2012

It’s a sad sign of holiday desperation that in many towns, burglaries and thefts spike around the holidays. Two years ago a landmark seasonal statue was stolen from a small New Hampshire town…now a gallery in Massachusetts is trying to find it through the power of art.

kevinthoule via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s not terribly surprising that for the second year running, the national retail federation claims the hottest holiday present is a gift card. But are we losing something when we focus on the material aspects of gift-giving? With us to rundown some alternative ideas for experiential gifts you can’t fit under the tree is Rick Broussard, editor of New Hampshire Magazine.

Song/ Artist/ Album/ Label

Bread And Roses/ George Mann/ Patience In These Times/ Running Scared Productions/

Wild Mountain Thyme/ Judy Collins/ Maids & Golden Apples/ Wildflower/

Canaan's Land/ Mary McCaslin & Jim Ringer/ The Bramble & the Rose/ Philo/

The Bramble And The Rose/ Mary McCaslin  Things We Said Today/ Philo/

Temporary Road/ John Gorka/ Temporary Road/ Highstreet/

Dreams Of Life/ Darryl Purpose/ Next Time Around/ Blue Rock Artists/

Anti Blues Matters/ Doc Rogers/ Aint Dead Yet/ Doc Rogers/