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Ideastream Public Media Holiday Programming: December 2023

Tune in for these and many other holiday-themed shows.

Holiday Music Streams

Swingin’ Sounds of the Season

Looking for a soundtrack to your holidays, but tired of the same old holiday tunes? Check out Swingin’ Sounds of the Season for a uniquely swingin' approach to holiday music.

Click the play button below to start the stream. Or, click “All Streams” in the top right corner, then select “Swingin’ Sounds of the Season.”

You can also stream from our free Ideastream Public Media App – available for download in the App store.

Classical Christmas

Have yourself a classical little Christmas! Enjoy the timeless holiday music you love by clicking the play button below, or clicking on "All Streams" in the top right corner, then selecting "Classical Christmas."

You can also stream from our free Ideastream Public Media App – available for download in the App store.


Tuesday, December 12 at 8 p.m.
Hanukkah Lights 2023
This NPR favorite returns with the best of the best Hanukkah Lights stories plus a special musical performance by The LeeVees. Hosted by Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz.

Tuesday, December 19 at 8 p.m.
A Paul Winter Solstice
This year, Solstice Live! warms up the longest night of the year with a taste of the tropics. This Winter Solstice special brings a starry array of Brazilian guests, including Ivan Lins, Renato Braz, and Luciana Souza, with the Paul Winter Consort at the annual solstice concerts in New York’s Cathedral of St John the Divine. John Schaefer hosts.

Sunday, December 24

  • 6 p.m.: All Songs Considered for the Holiday - Bob & Robin in Space
  • 7 p.m.: Joy To The World – A Holiday in Pink
  • 8 p.m.: Festivo AltLatino with Cantigas
  • 9 p.m.: Tinsel Tales 4: NPR Christmas Stories Told Through Song
  • 10 p.m.: Jazz Night In America: A Holiday Celebration 
  • 11 p.m.: Jazz Piano Christmas 39

Monday, December 25

  • 9 a.m. & 9 p.m.: Jonathan Winters’ A Christmas Carol
  • 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Tinsel Tales (1-3)
  • 1 p.m.: The Big Tiny Desk Holiday Special

Tuesday, December 26 at 8 p.m.
A Season’s Griot
Hosted by acclaimed storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson, A Season's Griot is an annual one-hour special that captures the tales and traditions of African American and African peoples.

Sunday, December 31 from 10 p.m. - midnight
Toast of the Nation
An NPR tradition every New Year's Eve since the 1970s, Toast of the Nation is the perfect audio complement for the occasion. It's festive jazz you can party to, all night long. Hosted by Christian McBride.

Monday, January 1 at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Selected Shorts: Unwrapping the Holidays
Host Meg Wolitzer presents three unexpected stories that let us see the holidays’ associations—family, friends, food, gifts, and goodwill—in different ways. Selections from Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Sherrie Flick, and John Cheever will be read by Jayne Atkinson, James Naughton, Adina Verson and Teagle F. Bougere.

Monday, January 1 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
New Year’s Day Concert from Vienna 2024
The ever popular annual New Year’s Day Concert will be performed by the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Christian Thielemann. With this concert it is not only the desire of the Vienna Philharmonic to provide musically definitive interpretations of the masterworks of this genre, but also, as musical ambassadors of Austria, to send people all over the world a New Year's greeting in the spirit of hope, friendship and peace. Hosted by WBUR's Lisa Mullins.

Tuesday, January 2 at 8 p.m.
Get Your Money Life in Order
From Marketplace, listen as host Reema Khrais helps listeners get their financial life together in time for the new year. She’ll unpack some practical tips, share a personal money story that is sure to captivate, and interview a financial therapist to get some useful tips for understanding our relationships with money.


Thursday, December 7 at 8 p.m.
Hanukkah Memories and Melodies with Elliott Forrest
An hour featuring interviews with artists and public personalities about their Hanukkah memories, grounded in the music tied to their holiday memories. Guests include cellist Alisa Weilerstein, Broadway actress Tovah Feldshuh, Sephardic music expert and flutist Daphna Mor, musician and Yiddish musicologist Henry Sapoznik, poet, musician and author Aaron Dworkin, and Eric Jacobsen, artistic director of The Knights.

Sunday, December 10 at 8 p.m.
Candles Burning Brightly with Mindy Ratner
A delightful hour for everyone to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights! Lots of music from Jewish communities around the world, plus a hilarious lesson on how to prepare a classic Hanukkah dish, and a timeless and touching holiday story that brings light into every home.

Sunday, December 17 at 8 p.m.
Anticipation and Celebration: Advent with the Montserrat Boy Choir with Steve Staruch
Perched atop the mountains near Barcelona, the choir of the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat is one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious boy choirs. For the first time in their 800-year history, the choir had its Midwest U.S. premiere this year. Bringing a message of peace, the choristers use music to transcend borders and speak directly to your heart. The ensemble sings a wide range of works from Gregorian Chant to pieces by contemporary Spanish composer Bernat Vivancos.

Thursday, December 21 at 8 p.m.
In Winter's Glow with Steve Seel
A winter solstice program, with modern classical sounds for the longest night of the year, chosen especially to compliment the chilly, starry nights of the season.

Friday, December 22 at 8 p.m. (repeats Monday, December 25 at 9 a.m.)
Welcome Christmas with John Birge
There’s no better way to greet the holiday season than with Welcome Christmas! VocalEssence is a non-profit choral music organization founded in 1969 as the Plymouth Music Series based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Each year the 130-voice VocalEssence chorus presents a series of concerts, and their holiday concert is an hour of joyful, classic holiday music, traditional carols, and new discoveries.

Sunday, December 24 at 4 p.m. (repeats Monday, December 25 at noon)
The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus at Christmas with Robert Conrad
Two hours of highlights from Cleveland Orchestra Holiday Concerts across the decades. The program features TCO choral directors like Robert Shaw, Gareth Morrell, Robert Page, and Robert Porco and is hosted by long-time Cleveland Orchestra radio host and producer, Robert Conrad.

Sunday, December 24 at 8 p.m.
2023 St. Olaf Christmas Festival with Valerie Kahler
The St. Olaf Christmas Festival has become one of the nation's most cherished holiday celebrations. Started in 1912 by F. Melius Christiansen, founder of the St. Olaf College Music Department, the festival includes hymns, carols, choral works, and orchestral selections celebrating the Nativity. It features the St. Olaf Choir, the St. Olaf Orchestra, the St. Olaf Cantorei, the St. Olaf Chapel Choir, the Manitou Singers, and the Viking Chorus, performing as individual groups and as a massed ensemble. (repeats Monday 12/25 at 2 p.m.)

Sunday, December 24 at 11 p.m.
All is Bright: Contemplative Music for Christmas with Lynne Warfel
All Is Bright, with host Lynne Warfel, offers an hour of gorgeous, contemplative choral music that tells the traditional Christmas story with songs about angels, the star, and the manger scene.

Monday, December 25 at 4 p.m.
Apollo’s Fire Presents Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain: An Irish-Appalachian Celebration
Recorded live in concert in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gartner Auditorium, Apollo’s Fire explores the history of Appalachia’s Irish and Scottish roots through music. It’s a lively celebration complete with fiddlers, medieval harp, hammered dulcimer, bagpipes, singers, and children’s voices, all led by artistic director Jeannette Sorrell. (A two-hour version of this program airs Sunday 12/31 at 2 p.m.)

Wednesday, December 27 at 10 p.m.
Carols as Home with the Imani Winds
An hour of modern takes on classic Christmas carols, hosted by Imani Winds founding oboist, Toyin Spellman-Diaz. Toyin coaxes intimate stories of Christmas memories from the members of the ensemble, and why these classic carols are still essential today. You’ll hear many of your favorite carols updated in the ensembles’ own imaginative style.

Sunday, December 31 at 8 p.m.
New Year’s Gala: The Cleveland Orchestra & Franz Welser-Möst with Robert Conrad
Three hours of famous waltzes and polkas from Old Vienna, including Tales from the Vienna Woods and the Emperor Waltz, symphonies by Austrians Mozart and Schubert, Brahms‘ Haydn Variations & Academic Festival Overture...recorded not in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein but Mandel Concert Hall in the Severance Music Center!

Monday, January 1 at 2 p.m.
Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker’ with Sam Petrey
The holiday ballet par excellence with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra led by Antal Dorati. There’s much more to The Nutcracker than its famous Suite!

Monday, January 1 at 4 p.m.
MN Orchestra New Year's Celebration with Melissa Ousley
Ring in the new year with the Minnesota Orchestra! The program opens with Bernstein’s Overture to Candide. Awadagin Pratt performs the Minnesota premiere of Jessie Montgomery’s Rounds for Piano and Orchestra, a work written for him. A New Year’s celebration wouldn’t be complete without adventure and passion, and the Orchestra brings that in multitudes in Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s virtuoso suite for orchestra, Scheherazade.

Monday, January 1 at 7 p.m.
New Year's Day from Vienna 2024 with Lisa Mullins – Vienna Philharmonic, Christian Thielemann, conductor
A same-day broadcast of the program aired in over 90 countries and followed by millions of television viewers around the world. Christian Thielemann enjoys a close and productive artistic partnership with the Vienna Philharmonic, and New Year’s Day 2024 will be his second time conducting the orchestra in this prestigious concert event from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna.


Wednesday, December 13 at 4 p.m.
Jewish Journey: America

Monday, December 18 at 9 p.m. (and Thursday, December 21 at 8 p.m.)
Mary Berry’s Highland Christmas

Wednesday, December 20 at 5 p.m.
Rick Steves European Christmas

Wednesday, December 20 at 8 p.m.
Nature: Santa’s Wild Home

Thursday, December 21 at 9 p.m.
Lucy Worsley’s 12 Days of Tudor Christmas

Friday, December 22 at 9 p.m.
A St. Thomas Christmas: Reflections of Gratitude

Friday, December 22 at 10 p.m.
The Thrill of Hope: A Concordia Christmas

Sunday, December 24 at 10 p.m.
Christmas at Westminster

Sunday, December 24 at 11 p.m.
Crane Candlelight Concert

Monday, December 25 at 8 p.m. (and 9 p.m.)
Call the Midwife Holiday Special 2023

Tuesday, December 26 at 7:30 p.m. (and Thursday, December 28 at 7:30 p.m.)
Karamu: Feast for the 7th Day

Sunday, December 31 at 9:30 p.m.
Next at the Kennedy Center: A New Year’s Eve Celebration

Sunday, December 31 at 10:30 p.m.
Great Performances: Josh Groban’s Great Big Radio City Show

Monday, January 1 at 8 p.m. (and 9:30 p.m.)
Great Performances: From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2024