Christmas

Courtesy / Sonya Aplough

About a decade ago, Kansas City musician Billy Smith was combing thrift stores for records when he stumbled upon quite a find for an experimental sound guy: an old-school Magnavox, reel-to-reel tape recorder with a pile of tapes for less than $5. 

He brought it home, dusted it off, cleaned the tape heads and popped in some new batteries. He was about to hit record to start messing around with his new toy when curiosity took hold.

Before hitting record, he decided to check out what was on the tape inside the machine.

Wikimedia Commons

Besides food and presents, Christmas music might be one of the most important parts of the holidays.

From Bing Crosby to Brenda Lee, dozens of music artists have produced timeless classics that never lose their seasonal appeal.

That said, one can only tolerate "White Christmas" so many times before suffering a holiday breakdown. To keep that from happening, here's a list of more obscure Christmas tunes that are sure to brighten your spirits.

courtesy: Topeka Public Library

As a novelist, Thomas Fox Averill has explored country music, southwestern cuisine, Scotch whisky and the poetry of Robert Burns. 

Averill's fourth novel, A Carol Dickens Christmas, is a Christmas story, set in his hometown of Topeka, Kan. It's filled with recipes, puns, and modern characters inspired by Charles Dickens.  

thegrislyhand.com

The incessant upbeat of canned Christmas music can leave even those who love the holidays with a feeling of cheer fatigue.

Kansas City-area singer Lauren Krum of The Grisly Hand, whose DJ alter-ego Lorna Kay spins classic country tunes all year long, shares some grittier winter songs to fill out the emotional spectrum this December.

Lauren's Picks:

The Better Business Bureau of St. Louis is reminding shoppers to be just as cautious after Christmas as before.

The organization's vice president of communications, Chris Thetford, says if you’re shopping in person, make sure you always know the location of your credit or debit card. Online, he says, make sure to use a secure site.

If you celebrate Christmas, chances are you know all the classic names that go along with it. Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, and Elvis are synonymous with Yuletide cheer, but what about new compositions?

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we dive into some Christmas deep-cuts with two disc jockeys, who spin up the holiday spirit year after year. From new to obscure songs, we hit the worlds of country, rockabilly and R&B.

Guests:

Maria Carter / KCUR

 

Tonight millions of children will lay down in bed thinking about one thing -- Santa Claus. And as old St. Nick puts on his red suit and harnesses his reindeer, he’ll be bringing a special blanket given to him at a family gathering in Overland Park to keep his lap warm this Christmas. Next year, Santa plans to pass that blanket on as a special gift.

Miles of Christmas lights could be headed out the door as more consumers look at switching from traditional holiday lights to their LED counterparts. Kansas City-based Southeast Enterprises is looking to keep the discarded strands out of landfills.

Southeast Enterprises Business Director Megan Gurera says they accept any unused or broken strands of lights.

“You know the ones you pullout, get ready to put up, and half of it works,” says Gurera.

Southeast Enterprises is a sheltered workshop, employing 160 people with development or intellectual disabilities.

Mangrove Mike / Flickr--CC

  The Thanksgiving weekend marks the start of Christmas tree sales in many places. And here in Kansas, a lot of the trees sold are grown in the state. But Christmas tree farmers have faced challenges in recent years because of drought conditions.

Eldon Clawson, president of the Kansas Christmas Tree Growers Association, says some growers have had to take steps like adding drip irrigation to keep trees healthy.

“It’s an investment, a major investment, but it’s paid off for their trees,” says Clawson.

DeMonfort Music

Christmas 2012 has come and gone, and for a lot of people, it’s been another round of traditions and family reunions. But for a convent of nuns outside of St. Joseph, this year was a little different.

Big Tuba Turnout At This Year’s Tuba Christmas

Dec 16, 2012
Zack Lewandowski / KCUR

Tuba Christmas was founded by Harvey Phillips, a Missouri native, more than 30 years ago.  It brings tuba and euphonium players together once a year to play a concert of traditional holiday songs for the season. 

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

The official state Christmas tree ornament for Kansas this year recognizes the 150th anniversary of the founding of Washburn University, which is coming up in 2015.

A Light Goes On

Dec 22, 2011

What do your childhood memories of holiday’s past look like? Sound like? Today on Central Standard, a look at an ambitious homemade gift – from Lawrence musician Sam Billen.

Poverty on the Rise in Johnson County

Dec 8, 2010

The Johnson County Christmas Bureau, has opened its doors to their annual Holiday Shop at the Great Mall of the Great Plains in Olathe, KS. This is their 50th year creating a shopping experience for low income families around the holidays.

Director Barb McNeil says that “Poverty” and “Johnson County” aren’t words often heard in the same sentence, they should be. Though the population in Johnson County grew by 2% last year, the number of families below the poverty line grew by 64%.