For those of us with loved ones in various area codes, holiday travel is an inevitable part of the holiday experience. If you have some time to relax on your journey – or are simply looking for something to keep the children entertained on the road – WPT’s online video library has you covered!
Here are five online holiday favorites that run the gamut from music to craft to Wisconsin-made programs. All of the shows below are available to stream on video.wpt.org and on the PBS channel of your Roku or other digital device.
Trust us: this list is just the tip of PBS’ holiday programming iceberg! You can explore the full collection online, anytime.
Caregivers, take note: the PBS KIDS app and pbskids.org/video/ let you stream full episodes of PBS KIDS programs, including holiday favorites from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Peg + Cat and more!
Read inside for some of our favorites – and let us know what gems you find!
Continue reading Dashing Through the Snow? Five Holiday Favorites to Watch on the Go!
Ever been to Yellowstone National Park in the winter months? I assume no. Yellowstone, along with most western national parks, seems to be closed for business during these chilly times. It’s as if Midwesterners think of Yellowstone as a place that’s only active during summer vacation season. But truth is, there’s a whole natural world hard at work, struggling to make it through the harsh Yellowstone winter. And it’s all stunningly beautiful to see.
Nature “Christmas in Yellowstone” has become a perennial favorite of mine. The scenes of wolves, otters, coyotes and bison would be impressive in any season, but against a winter backdrop they seem more majestic, almost dreamlike. The reality of the landscape sets back in when the narrative shifts to Tom Murphy. (Yes, a few brave people do visit Yellowstone during winter!) Murphy, a photographer who for 26 years has spent part of each winter camping in the back country, offers a glimpse at the hardened mental state that’s required to survive in the wintery wilderness. While carrying an 80-pound pack, you’ll join him on a steamy photo shoot near Mammoth Hot Springs, and spend a blustery night camping through one of Yellowstone’s classic blizzards.
It’s not as harsh as it sounds. Not for the viewer anyway, because the scene shifts back to Upper Yellowstone Falls where otters play and you casually look on, warm in your easy chair. I suggest you prepare a cup of warm cocoa before watching… to help get you through the blustery scenes.
My close friends and co-workers think I’m not a big fan of Christmas music. I’ll admit that around this time of year I come across as a bit of a Scrooge, but mostly because what songs get played and how early and often they get played is what pains me. Truth is, I actually really like Christmas songs. I just hate the schlock played in most department stores and shopping malls, and the fact that Christmas music is ubiquitous from Halloween until New Years. I’ll even say that I hate such favorites as “Santa Baby” and any tune by any of the Beatles. And by the 9th play of Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” on the oldies channel, I’m simply NOT having a wonderful Christmas time. (no kidding, I kept count one Christmas on the way to Grandma’s and back).
But enough already…I feel like I’m channeling Andy Rooney. After all, I did state above that I do like Christmas music. I’m a fan of the type of Christmas music that you would expect to hear in an old-time movie scene, one with carolers performing somewhere in the distance. And I like my Christmas music in December, preferably beginning 12 or so days before Christmas. (but I also hate “The Twelve Days of Christmas”).
I enjoy classics like “O Holy Night” and “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” I love the chill I get from hearing a big composition that sounds like it’s echoing off enormous cathedral walls. My mom thinks I go to Chrismas Eve service to appease the family, really it’s because church is one of the best places to hear classic Christmas songs.
Turns out the Internet also is a pretty good place to hear the classics. To my delight this morning I opened Spotify (a free online music streaming service) and right there on the homepage was the album Christmas With Nathan Pacheco. For over a month I’ve ignored the holiday music featured on Spotify, but I clicked on this one because I know Pacheco is classically trained and known for his big voice and arrangements. And because it’s not every day you see a PBS artist featured in the mainstream. Have a listen below…all you need is to create a free Spotify account or log in via Facebook. And if you’re like me and actually like what you hear, enjoy more holiday classics during Christmas With Nathan Pacheco 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 on Wisconsin Public Television.
Watch Happy Holidays: The Best of the Andy Williams Christmas Specials at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11 on Wisconsin Public Television.
Each season brings its own icons to the television screen. The Fourth of July has bright fireworks displays, often in front of backdrops of grand American monuments. Springtime has usually featured an annual network broadcast of The Ten Commandments.
And, Christmas is remembered by many as the time of year that Andy Williams appears on TV. This special highlights all of the shows grand traditions — from family singalongs to the great, if not cheesy seasonal backdrops, and those fabulously memorable sweaters. To help coax you into the holiday spirit, I’ve posted one of those fun moments below.