Program 270b: International Christmas Party

Release Date: 12-21-2013

On Air Description

It's a Christmas party with friends from near and far on the next Travel with Rick Steves. 

We'll hear about holiday traditions from Wales and Hungary, Sicily and Scotland.  We'll learn about the unique ways people light up the season in Santa Fe — where the fragrance of piñon wood fires leaves a special impression.  And we'll even hear how scientists at a research station in Antarctica make merry.  Plus listeners share some of their favorite Christmas memories from holiday travels.

You're invited to an International Christmas Party on this week's Travel with Rick Steves. 

Notes to Stations

  • The rejoin bed music at 06:00 this week is "decorated" for Christmas, in lieu of the customary theme music bed. 
  • Program 270b is a re-edit of previously-released Christmas material from prior years.

Rick Steves Christmas Greeting: Rick has recorded a 30-second Christmas greeting, with holiday wishes in many European languages from his friends. You can use it on the air as you like, particularly on Christmas Eve and Day, apart from the Travel with Rick Steves weekly promos. The Christmas greeting is available in the .wav format at  where files are listed alphabetically. Look for it as: TRS_Christmas HOLIDAY GREETING_30sec.wav.

Or you can get the Christmas Greeting promo here: mp3 | mp2  (Right-click and select "Save Target As" to download and save audio files.)


  • Martin deLewandowicz, tour guide based in Wales
  • Travel writer Zora O'Neill, author of Moon New Mexico guidebooks
  • Alfio di Mauro and Tommaso Pante, tour guides from Sicily   
  • Ken Hanley and Ann Doig, tour guides from Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Levante Nagy and Etelka Perine Barecz, tour guides to Hungary
  • Fen Montaigne, author of "Fraser's Penguins" (Henry Holt)

Related Links


  • Describes family Christmas project doing community service work at a village in Mexico.  (Melanie in Centerville, Utah)  
  • Enjoyed Christmas markets in Nuremburg, Würzburg and Rothenberg, Germany, and skiing at Stuben, Austria.  He and Rick describe special holiday foods at the markets.   (Dale in Big Rapids, Michigan) 
  • Spent Christmas Eve with aunt in Bavaria and noticed gravestones in the local cemetery were decorated with candles and photographs.  Rick notes this is also done in Scandinavia.   (Chuck in Spring Hill, Florida)  

Incidental Music

  • Patato, "Feliz Navidad," The Big Bang (collection) / Ellipsis Arts
  • Marilyn Bennett, "My Sheep were Grazing," Angels Among Us / Bennett Music
  • Skep, "Nadolig Llawen Cymru!," Sgep / Dockrad Records 
  • Our Lady of Sorrows Senior Choir (Bernalillo, New Mexico), "Los Comanchitos," Music of New Mexico:  Hispanic Traditions  (collection) / Smithsonian Folkways
  • * Brothers of the Baladi, "Deck the Halls," A Time of Peace / (self-released)
  • Les Violins du Roy, "Corelli Christmas Concerto," Simphonies des noëls / Dorian Recordings
  • Phonema,  "Madonna noi sapimo," Rick Steves European Christmas (soundtrack collection) / Back Door Productions
  • Salsa Celtica, "Santa Bloody Claus," Sangsters-Sharp and Sweet (collection) / Greentrax
  • George Winston, "The Holly and the Ivy," December / Windham Hill
  • * Sam Bush, "Sleigh Ride," Putumayo Presents 'A Family Christmas' (collection) / Putumayo
  • Handbell intro to Seattle Men's Chorus, "The Bells of Christmas," Joy / Emerald City Arts
  • NRBQ, "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen," Christmas Wish / Big Note
  • Ensemble Sonos de México, "Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, 3rd movement (J.S. Bach)," Esta Tierra Es Tuya /  Sonos de Mexico
  • Handbell intro to "Joy to the World" on Fred Waring Singers, "Jingle Bells," A Christmas Treasury (collection) / EMI
  • Seattle Men's Chorus, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," Snowbound! / Emerald City Arts
  • Denise Martin and Jim Kerr, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," Christmas In The Air / (self-released)

Dated References

  • The content of Program 270b is all Christmas-themed, and it is intended to air just prior to, on, or adjacent to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  It includes discussion of European holiday traditions that are held from Nov. 1 thru Jan. 6.
  • In their segment B Sicily interview, Alfio and Tommaso also discuss the gift giving traditions of Sicily for November 1st and 2nd (All Saints Day) and January 6th (Epiphany).  They add that Christmas decorations are put up Dec. 8 (Immaculate Conception day) and stay up until Jan. 6.
  • In the open of segment C, Fen Montaigne talks about staying at the 40-person Palmer Research facility in Antarctica in December, which he adds is the peak of the research season there.  At 41:20, he notes that the U.S. has the largest research station in Antarctica at McMurdo Sound, with significant research stations runs by British, New Zealand, Russian, and Australian concerns.  At 42:07, he says the Palmer station observes Eastern Standard Time.
  • At 57:20, after discussing Christmas Eve in a small village cemetery near the border of Germany and Austria, Rick and caller Chuck note that the world's largest church pipe organ is at a church in Passau, Germany.  There have been two larger organs built in recent years in the United States at the West Point Military Academy Cadet Chapel and at First Congregational Church in Los Angeles, but, according to Wikipedia, the Passau organ remains the largest cathedral organ in the world.