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Updated: 1 hour 4 min ago

After The Presents, A Buttery Tea Cake Tradition

5 hours 49 min ago

For one family in Overland Park, Kan., it's not Christmas without Mrs. Lawrence. The tea cake, rich with butter and spices, is named for the neighbor who would hand deliver it every holiday season.

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In Britain, A Christmas Tradition Of Slapstick And Silliness

5 hours 49 min ago

For centuries, British families have celebrated the Christmas season by attending "pantomimes," silly musical comedies of stories such as Aladdin and Cinderella. The tradition is alive and well today.

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What Would Jesus Drink? A Class Exploring Ancient Wines Asks

5 hours 49 min ago

The details of wine and winemaking practices in biblical times are debated among experts. But we do know that vino in Christ's day was very different from what we imbibe today.

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Why Bury Fig Trees? A Curious Tradition Preserves A Taste Of Italy

5 hours 49 min ago

For generations, Italian-American fig growers in the Northeast have buried their trees in trenches for the winter. It's a tradition that preserves both flavor and ancestral ties to southern Italy.

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A Punch Line In The U.S., Christmas Fruitcake Is Big In Calcutta

18 hours 41 min ago

Seen as indestructible in the West, fruitcakes are indispensable in the bustling Hindu city. Bakers of all faiths have the ovens running round the clock to feed Calcutta's appetite for the cakes.

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'Selma' Manages To Be Both Passion-Inspiring And Measured

December 24, 2014 - 4:25pm

Critic Bob Mondello reviews Selma, Ava DuVernay's film chronicling Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic voting-rights march in 1965. Mondello notes that recent protests make the film resonate today.

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The Perfect Family Book List

December 24, 2014 - 4:25pm

For the holidays, critic Alan Cheuse is making up a list of books to give to each of his family members. Only the best of 2014 for them. Here's his picks.

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Independent Theater Owner In D.C. Gets Ready To Screen 'The Interview'

December 24, 2014 - 4:25pm

West End Cinema's Josh Levin, preparing to show The Interview, speaks with Audie Cornish about what sparked a decision to host the controversial film (Sony Pictures had canceled the release).

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'Crabs For Christmas': A Tuneful Baltimore Tradition (Really!)

December 24, 2014 - 4:25pm

More than 30 years ago, David DeBoy wrote a hit holiday song about a local delicacy. Its success led to other Baltimore-themed Christmas songs, then to albums and finally to a live show.

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50 Wonderful Things From 2014

December 24, 2014 - 4:02pm

Books, movies, television, things to read — we look back at 50 of the great things that entered our field of vision in 2014.

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Bianculli's Top 10: 2014 Was A 'Good Year For Programming'

December 24, 2014 - 12:28pm

TV critic David Bianculli says that he's encouraged by how far TV has come. He picks The Good Wife as the best show of 2014, having "the deepest roster of really strong regulars and guest stars."

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In A 'Depressing' Year For Films, Edelstein Finds Some Greats

December 24, 2014 - 11:11am

Film critic David Edelstein says in 2014 none of the great material came from Hollywood studios. But, he says, it was a "wonderful year" for indie films. He names Boyhood as the best of the year.

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Book News: It's Snowing Poet Laureates

December 24, 2014 - 10:43am

North Carolina named Shelby Stephenson its new poet laureate, just days after Ohio established a post for its own state poet. Massachusetts may not be too far behind.

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Guyanese Christmas Gives A Whole New Meaning To Slow Food

December 24, 2014 - 6:33am

Two classic Christmas dishes beloved by the people of Guyana are pepperpot and garlic pork. To get the flavors just right, you have to cook them and let them sit out for weeks.

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Mother, Empress, Virgin, Faith: 'Picturing Mary' And Her Many Meanings

December 24, 2014 - 3:17am

This Christmas, images of Mary created over five centuries glow on the walls of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Curator Kathryn Wat says that, to her, Mary represents bravery and strength.

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In Seattle, Maurice Sendak's 'Wild' 'Nutcracker' Reaches Its Final Act

December 23, 2014 - 6:58pm

For more than 30 years, the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker has used sets and costumes designed by the author of Where the Wild Things Are. This year, the ballet is retiring the production.

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How To Compose Music For A Movie About Music

December 23, 2014 - 4:21pm

NPR's Robert Siegel talks to film composer Justin Hurwitz, 29, about his first major movie score, for the movie Whiplash. Hurwitz talks about using music to heighten tension.

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Serial Host Sarah Koenig Says She Set Out To Report, Not Exonerate

December 23, 2014 - 1:06pm

The podcast is a reinvestigation of the 1999 murder of Maryland high school student Hae Min Lee. Her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed is serving a life sentence but has always maintained his innocence.

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For Australian Christmas, Everything's Overturned But The Pudding

December 23, 2014 - 11:42am

Cooking in 100-degree weather is no fun, which is why many Australians ditched roasts and other holiday mainstays long ago. Except for Christmas pudding, a tradition steeped in history — and alcohol.

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Book News: For A Deeper Sleep, Forgo The E-Reader Before Bed

December 23, 2014 - 10:37am

A new study finds that people who read print books at bedtime fall asleep easier — and sleep better — than those who use an e-reader. Also: JRR Tolkien may have survived war due to a timely illness.

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