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Trout Christmas

Many of us have particular rituals that make Christmas feel complete. Justin Isherwood’s farm family marked the day with a trip to the trout stream.

Justin Isherwood is a farmer in Central Wisconsin. 

Photo: Eric Fink

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Scenes of the 2013 Capitol Christmas tree, from farm to rotunda.

Credit: Breann Schossow/WPR

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Holiday Drink Stirs Memories of Grandpa

For many of us, the holidays aren’t complete without a favorite food or drink. Writer Julie Buckles’ grandfather was famous for the holiday cocktails he served – not necessarily because they were good but because of the memories that drinking them stirred.

For Julie’s recipe for Not Your Grandpa’s Tom & Jerrys, visit her website.

Photo: Julie Buckles

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Christmas Peanuts:

Some Christmas gifts linger in the memory longer than others. Commentator Justin Isherwood recalls an old-fashioned Christmas gift.

Justin Isherwood is a fifth-generation farmer and the author of Pulse: A Farmer’s Take on the Universe. He lives in Plover.

Photo by Ayo Richardson.

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Fowl for Christmas:

Turkey is a traditional holiday meal choice. But writer Brett Laidlaw wonders if perhaps we should consider another kind of holiday fowl.

Commentator Brett Laidlaw is the author of the book and the blog Trout Caviar.

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Bad Santa:

Gift giving often inspires noble intentions if less successful results. Writer David McGlynn tells us about his family’s gift giving history and how sometimes the best gift is the one you didn’t expect.

David McGlynn is the author of A Door in the Ocean and The End of the Straight and Narrow. He teaches at Lawrence University.

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Aluminum Christmas:

Manitowoc’s Aluminum Specialty Company became famous for its sparkling aluminum Christmas trees in the 1960s. Jerry Waak sold millions of trees during its heyday when he ran the company’s sales force. He tells us what made them so popular.

Thanks to the Wisconsin Historical Society for the photo.

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Santa Believer:

Many people take their kids to see Santa in December, and eventually have to wrestle with the question of belief. Writer Lesley Kagen tells us how she dealt with her son’s doubts about Santa.

Lesley Kagen is an actress, restaurant owner, and author. Her most recent book is Mare’s Nest.

Photo by awyatt.

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Christmas Play:

Many Wisconsin churches celebrate the Christmas season with plays and skits starring children dressed as angels, stars, or bearded Wise Men. Writer Dean Bakopoulos tells us about his daughter’s performance one Christmas Eve.

Dean Bakopoulos is a novelist and creative writing professor at Grinnell College. His most recent novel is called My American Unhappiness.

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Blue Christmas:

The holidays are usually a time for family and celebration. But they can also prompt reflections on things past and not always joyous. Writer Jane Hamilton brings us a blue Christmas story.

Commentator Jane Hamilton is the author of the award-winning novels The Book of Ruth, A Map of the World, and When Madeline Was Young. She lives in a farmhouse in Rochester, Wisconsin.

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Christmas Lights:

December is here and the countdown to the holidays has begun. Festive decorations and strings of lights are going up all over. Today, writer Dean Bakopoulos tells us about the holiday decorating advice he once gave a friend.

Dean Bakopoulos is a novelist and creative writing professor at Grinnell College. His most recent novel is called My American Unhappiness.

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White Pine:

The smell of fresh-cut pine is all around at this time of year – at stands selling Christmas trees, and deep in the winter woods. Novelist David Rhodes has been thinking about the smell of white pine and the way scent and memory combine.

David Rhodes is the author of the award-winning novel, Driftless. He lives on 35 acres of land in the Driftless region.

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