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christmas

Here is more proof that the world of movies can be a surreal experience: when we catch up with Karolyn Grimes, who memorably played the 6-year-old Zuzu Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” she’s passing through Texas as a passenger in a car driven by Paris Themmen; he played Mike Teavee, the television-obsessed kid in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.”

Even the slightest brush with cinema history can be everlasting fame.

We look at several ways we might be doing Christmas wrong -- but we might not! We start with Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski, music artists who just released a new version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

This version includes the lyrics "I really can't stay / Baby I'm fine with that" and "I ought to say no / You reserve the right to say no." Liza said the classic version bothers her, given the woman's questioning of what's in her drink, and her inability to leave when she says she wants to. So, is the original version too ambiguous about sexual assault? Or is that misreading it?

And say, what about "Santa Claus is Coming to Town?" "He sees you when you're sleeping?" Do we want our kids growing up in fear of the ever-present NSA?

Finally, we discuss the psychology of Santa Claus. Specifically, we engage in a serious exploration of whether it's damaging to tell kids that Santa Claus will give gifts to all kids -- even kids in poverty. Does that untruth lead kids to think kids in poverty are magically taken care of? Does the lie of Santa Claus allow for magic, or can it lead to long-term harm? Our guests:

  • Lydia Liza, singer/songwriter
  • Josiah Lemanski, singer/songwriter
  • Eric Caine, chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of Rochester

St. Joseph's Church

Christmas masses are traditionally full, but there might be more room in the pews since you won't need your bulky winter coat this year.

"The fact that parishioners can easily come to church without battling the elements, is a welcome sign for us."

That’s Fr. Jim Schwartz, pastor of St. Joseph’s and Holy Spirit Catholic churches in Penfield.

His message is simple.

"To wish everyone a Merry, Merry Christmas and experience the joy and the peace of this beautiful, beautiful season."

What are the best holiday films of all time? What are the worst? Why is Love Actually so polarizing?

We talk about holiday entertainment and what brings so many of us out to see the shows during Christmas week. Our guests:

  • Lester D. Friedman, professor in the media and society program, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Jack Garner, longtime Gannett film critic

Our modern secular Christmas traditions have a surprisingly close link to an ancient Roman holiday. Most of us have never heard of Saturnalia, but it turns out that for hundreds of years, the Romans’ favorite holiday was in December, celebrated with decorations, candles, gift giving, and big holiday parties. There was seasonal music. Some Roman writers complained that Saturnalia season was bleeding into November. It all sounds so familiar! Even Santa Claus has parallels to classic mythology. Here to give us insight on this are:

  • Amy Vail, St. John Fisher professor
  • David White, Baylor University professor