This is the season for tradition. Whether it is unwrapping our favorite ornaments or having the same screaming fight with the relatives we had last year, there is comfort in the many little rituals that make up the holiday. We think the best traditions are the ones you create. A thrifted 1960s felt reindeer named Twiglana, singing along with Yak Shaving Day from Ren & Stimpy’s Crock O’ Christmas, or that cookie recipe Mom culled from The Pocket Cook Book paperback; it wouldn’t be Christmas at our house without them. Likewise, spending time with our friends is at least as important at this time of year as catching up with family.
Our Christmas Eve is spent in Manhattan and includes a Japanese meal, a stroll through the avenues strikingly hushed of traffic and din yet buoyant with tourists and die-hard New Yorkers in festive spirits, and topped with a nightcap at a ritzy hotel bar that is decked out in eye-popping holiday tinsel.
But our favourite celebration of all is the annual radio Christmas party hosted by the one and only Rex Doane on his Fool’s Paradise program. That means schlepping out to Jersey City, NJ to the mighty WFMU studios. WFMU is listener-sponsored freeform radio at its finest. From the deejays to the support staff, the station is a labour of love for all involved. In Rex’s case, his devotion is focused on presenting the kookiest bop, slop and schlock, the oddest examples of rock'n’roll he can find, as long as it has been pressed on vinyl and spins at 45rpm. We like to say he’s the Keeper of the American Novelty Songbook, and that means we will be treated to a very extraordinary brand of Christmas music.
Besides the crazy tunes, there are gifts to give and holiday treats to eat. (Both are fascinating for the listener at home). Another highlight is something we like to call Radio Bartender, in which your editors of Grade “A” Fancy mix up a new original cocktail, live on air, to honor the season. A Fool’s Paradise cocktail, as a matter of policy, requires no special-order syrups, no eye of newt-infused spirits, no eyedroppers or custom gadgets; all of this stuff is available at your grocer’s, and from the local spirits emporium. This year’s concoction is called O Tavern Bound. It’s a comforting seasonal potion, a little spicy, a little fruity, and deeply boozy. Here's to us all! Drink up every one.
WFMU is available on your radio dial at 91.1 fm in New York, at 90.1 fm in the Hudson Valley. If you are not in the tri-state area you can listen in real time via the World Wide Web, or sample an archived show any time, any season.
Season's ho-ho, Jon & Karen