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Selected Shorts Gift Set: Ho, Ho, Huh?

Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents four Christmas-themed works to bring you comfort, joy, and a little sass. Ron Carlson’s “The H Street Sledding Record,” is a charming and funny tale about a family preparing for an annual ritual—and a big change. It’s read by Keith Szarabajka.

Next, Frank O’Connor’s “Christmas Morning” gives us a richly detailed picture of a family in turn-of-the-century Ireland, but this family’s Christmas is overshadowed by poverty. Reader Malachy McCourt knows this landscape well.

Next, a whimsical comedy from a different era, George Shepherd’s “Occurrence on the Six Seventeen,” from 1939: sober, self-absorbed commuters, “with necks that know exactly how long they must be pressed against the seat back”, briefly unite in Christmas joie de vivre. The reader is Tony Roberts. And finally, humorist Calvin Trillin is dreaming of the perfect Christmas—anywhere but here. His witty ditty “Christmas in Qatar” bemoans meaningless gifts, underdone feasts, and appalling relations.

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