10:19am

Tue December 25, 2012
Arts & Life

No Sugar Plums Here: The Dark, Romantic Roots Of 'The Nutcracker'

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 4:20 pm

E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story, "Nutcracker and Mouse King," is darker and spookier than the ballet version most people know.
iStockphoto.com

This is the time of year when one man's work is widely — if indirectly — celebrated. His name used to be hugely famous, but nowadays, it draws blank stares, even from people who know that work. We're speaking about E.T.A. Hoffmann, original author of The Nutcracker.

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10:18am

Tue December 25, 2012
Books

Literary Iceland Revels In Its Annual 'Christmas Book Flood'

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 2:46 am

A shopper browses in a branch of the Icelandic book chain Penninn-Eymundsson.
Courtesy of Bryndís Loftsdottir

In the United States, popular holiday gifts come and go from year to year. But in Iceland, the best Christmas gift is a book — and it has been that way for decades.

Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, with five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders. But what's really unusual is the timing: Historically, a majority of books in Iceland are sold from late September to early November. It's a national tradition, and it has a name: Jolabokaflod, or the "Christmas Book Flood."

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9:33am

Tue December 25, 2012
The Salt

'Canadian Peanut Butter' Connects Mainers To Their Acadian Roots

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 2:08 pm

Robert Bisson of Bisson and Sons Meat Market in Topsham, Maine, with his granddaughter. The butcher shop sells traditional cretons during the holidays.
Lauren McCandlish NPR

Last Christmas, we told you about tourtières, the savory meat pies Canadians serve around the holidays. Now, we bring you cretons, a Québécois delicacy found throughout Canada and parts of New England this time of year.

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8:03am

Tue December 25, 2012
Favorite Sessions

The New Standards: A Supergroup Celebrates 'Snow Days'

The New Standards recently performed "Snow Days" for The Current in Minneapolis.
Steven Cohen The Current

A jazz trio and Minnesota music supergroup, The New Standards features singer and pianist Chan Poling of The Suburbs, singer and bassist John Munson of Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare, and vibraphonist Steve Roehm of Electropolis and Billy Goat. With a repertoire composed largely of holiday classics and unexpected covers of contemporary pop and rock favorites, the band has long been a must-see live, but it's also hit the studio a handful of times, releasing albums in 2005 and 2008.

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7:48am

Tue December 25, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Instant Christmas? A Snowless Snowstorm Turns Downtown Snowy White

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 8:33 am

Kut/Vimeo

This isn't snow.

It looks like snow.

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7:41am

Tue December 25, 2012
Asia

In India, All Religions Join In 'The Big Day'

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 5:43 pm

Carolers from St. Columba's School in New Delhi stage their annual Christmas program, where the student body is Catholic, Sikh and Hindu.
Julie McCarthy NPR

India, the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, marks the birth of Jesus with a national holiday.

Indians call Christmas bara din, or the Big Day.

Chef Bhakshish Dean, a Punjabi Christian, traces the roots of Christianity in India through food.

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6:16am

Tue December 25, 2012
Around the Nation

'Morning Edition' Salutes Those Working On Christmas

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 9:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We hope that you're spending this holiday around the people who matter most in your lives. But not everyone has the day off. And we wanted to hear from people who are working today. So, we called out on NPR's Facebook page and we heard back from hundreds of people - from soldiers to snow plow drivers. We called a few of them up and put together this audio portrait of people working today. We're calling it Christmas on the Clock.

LAURA PARKS: Really busy.

BUTCH TRAYLOR: And very hectic.

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5:59am

Tue December 25, 2012
Business

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 9:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And today's last word in business: Dueling Santa Trackers.

We've heard for a while how NORAD tracks Santa's progress on Christmas Eve. Turns out Google is following Santa's path as well. But when NORAD, powered by Microsoft, placed him over Japan, Google cited him over Australia. When Google had him in Iceland, NORAD said no, it was Argentina. Both say he's made all of his drop-offs though, which means he's not using Apple Maps.

That's the business news from MORNING EDITION on NPR News. I'm David Greene.

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5:59am

Tue December 25, 2012
Business

Business News

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 9:42 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with possible port shutdowns.

A federal mediator says port operators and workers will start talking to each other again. The clock is ticking because a contract extension expires Saturday for longshoremen from Maine to Texas. Talks broke down last week. Retailers are pushing hard for mediation. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

5:59am

Tue December 25, 2012
Business

Online Sales Increase 16 Percent This Holiday Season

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 9:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, so the final numbers are not in yet, but it looks like the Christmas shopping season was just OK. There were some bright spots, particularly in online sales.

NPR's Ina Jaffe reports.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: The frenzy of Black Friday calmed down considerably over the course of the Christmas shopping season. Major chains began offering big discounts as the holiday approached and that'll cut into profits.

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