On Christmas Eve of 1914, German soldiers in the Flanders trenches lit candles on small Christmas trees. British, French, Belgian and German troops serenaded each other with songs. Soon enemy soldiers broke bread with each other and exchanged letters. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, historian Stanley Weintraub shares the story of the World War One Christmas Truce. And we'll explore the cultural history of the festive season.
Mark Connelly is the author of "Christmas at the Movies: Images of Christmas in American, British and European Cinema." He tells Steve Paulson that Christmas gives people the same kind of emotional satisfaction they seek from the movies, so it's a perfect match. And we hear examples! Also, Doug Gordon reports on the ultimate Christmas TV special: "It's A Blunder-filled Life, Charlie Brown!"SEGMENT 2:
Stanley Weintraub is the author of "Silent Night: The Story of the World War One Christmas Truce." He tells Jim Fleming that in 1914, the opposing troops sang carols to each other, played ball and exchanged gifts, in spite of their generals' wishes. But the Christmas Truce was a one-time-only event. Also, Brian Smith tells Jim about his family's "Recycled Christmas." None of the gifts could be new, and the only gift wrap allowed was old newspaper. He says that Christmas was one of his best ever.SEGMENT 3:
Karal Ann Marling looks into the cultural history of Christmas in her book "Merry Christmas: Celebrating America's Greatest Holiday." Marling tells Anne Strainchamps that American Christmas traditions led to an improvement in the status of women and helped nurture manufacturing industries from candy to cardboard. And she tells a hilarious story about baking Christmas cookies with her brothers. Also, we give the last word to Stan Freberg with a portion of his "Green Christmas."Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 01-12-16-A.
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