United Feature Syndicate

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” remains the best holiday TV special for all the reasons that CBS executives didn’t like 50 years ago.

The simplicity of the story. The absence of adult voices. Its anti-commercialism message. The terrific jazz sound track by Vince Guaraldi. Linus quoting the Bible. 

Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the iconic Christmas cartoon, which airs for the 50th year tonight (9 p.m., Channel 9) following ABC’s musical salute called “It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown (8 p.m.). I’ll be talking about Christmas TV specials on “Cincinnati Edition” at 1 p.m. today on 91.7 WVXU-FM.

Michael Keating / WVXU

3CDC's annual tree lighting ceremony at Fountain Square is Friday evening.  But the organization has a number of other activities throughout the day.

Friends of Harriet Beecher Stowe House

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1850 short story, “Christmas, or the Good Fairy,” will be staged for the first time Dec. 9 at the writer’s former home in Walnut Hills.

“Christmas, or the Good Fairy” was first printed Dec. 26, 1850, in the National Era, the abolitionist newspaper which also published Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” as a serial. It is set in 1849 in The Bottoms area of Cincinnati, which stretched from the Public Landing north to Sixth Street, and east to Mount Adams.

Cincinnati playwright Trey Tatum and director Bridget Leak adapted her short story into a 30-minute play for their Queen City Flash theater group.

United Feature Syndicate

Fifty years? Good grief! “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” first broadcast reluctantly by CBS in 1965, will air twice on ABC before Christmas, along with a one-hour musical salute to the award-winning cartoon.

ABC also celebrates the 20th anniversary of “Toy Story,” with a one-hour tribute in December to Pixar Animation Studios which revolutionized computer-generated animation.

“It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown” airs 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30 (Channel 9, ABC), as the TV networks start filling their channels with holiday programming the four weeks leading up to Christmas. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” follows at 9 p.m. Nov. 30.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Gift-giving season is in full swing and many people have at least one hard to shop for person on their list. For some, that person might be an elderly relative. If so, put down the bubble bath, leave the gooey sticky candies on the shelf, and for goodness sake, No More KnickKnacks!

"A terrible gift idea, I think, is more junk," says Harold "Chappie" Chapman. "Most of us have downsized."

The 10th Annual Around Cincinnati Christmas special will air on Sunday, December 21 from 7-9pm. The program will revisit songs recorded in Cincinnati Public Radio’s Corbett Theatre over the years, as well as from wonderful CDs by talented local musicians. There will be readings and a couple of new holiday essays by Rick Pender and Dave Papin. Listeners will also hear a few new songs by the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, Zak Morgan, and one song written by Irv Rosen and recorded by Ed Moss, Lou Lausche and vocalist Pam Ross in 2004.

Santa swimming with sharks or rappelling down a skyscraper, live Nativity scenes, an authentic German Christmas market, a Victorian Christmas, all manner, types and styles of trains, lights and music -  there'’s even a Reindog parade. Greater Cincinnati knows how to enjoy the holidays. Tricia Suit, director of marketing for Downtown Cincinnati Inc.; Rebecca Calkin, manager of digital communication for ArtsWave; and Mike Deininger, co-owner of MiCA 12/v and president of the Central Vine Street Business Association, give us a sample of the many events around town that celebrate the season. For more information on holiday happenings, check out the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Cincinnati, Inc. and Artswave's Choose Your Own Holiday Arts Adventure sites.

Local artist's work graces Washington holidays

Dec 4, 2014
Michael E. Keating

An electric train chugs past whimsical landscapes and coastal lighthouses made of twigs, leaves and nuts.  The fantasy installation includes national landmarks along with a replica of the Coney Island Ohio River shoreline entrance to the Cincinnati landmark, no doubt a nod to the creator’s Tri-State roots.

In a U.S. Botanic Garden display that pays homage to historic lighthouses, Paul Busse, Northern Kentucky artist, forager and creator of Applied Imagination, continues to add his personal creative vision to the holidays in the nation’s capital.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Many people have a four day weekend, and there is no shortage of holiday-themed activities to choose from.

There are free Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday.  Give Back Cincinnati's Fall Feast is expected to serve 3,500 people at the Duke Energy Convention Center, from 11 am until 2 pm.  Another 2,500 meals will delivered off-site.  The Cincinnati Recreation Commission is hosting its 22nd annual Thanksgiving meal at the Evanston Rec Center, at 3204 Woodburn, from 11 am to 3 pm.