Julia Botero / WRVO News

There’s a small white church in the hamlet of West Martinsburg, just outside Lowville. The United Methodist Church was first built in 1840. It closed a century later, but one tradition lives on.  A lamplight service every December marks the beginning of the Christmas season.  Inside, kerosene lamps hung from the ceiling are lit by hand. Candles set by stained-glass windows give the church a warm golden glow.  

Julia Botero attended the service with people from all over the Tug Hill and brought back this postcard.

Lights are sparkling on houses across the region this holiday season. But a family in one central New York neighborhood  has taken Christmas decorating to a whole new level.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!

Dec 15, 2015

WRVO presents this archive edition of "Readers Corner," with WRVO founder and former General Manager Bill Shigley reading Barbara Robinson's "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!" Perhaps this will stir some happy memories for long-time listeners. Happy holidays from WRVO!

Personal Creations / Flickr|

Get ready for some laughs the weekend before Christmas! Tune in for "Right Between the Ears," a Christmas special on Sunday, December 20 at 7 p.m.

This hour-long live sketch comedy show includes a spoof of the classic "It's a Wonderful Life," updated for our economically-challenging times; commercials for Jiffy Pants, the popcorn you make in your pants; and a special episode of Pimp My Turkey, where the turkey goes home with a 500-horsepower police interceptor engine.

Garret Ziegler / Flickr

This production of "A Christmas Carol" returns to the heart of the 1843 story, mining the dark veins of what Charles Dickens called "a ghost story of Christmas."

Join us on Thursday, December 24, Christmas Eve, at 8 p.m. for a new, but old, rendition of "A Christmas Carol" with a cast of seasoned New York actors.


Tonight every child who believes in Christmas is going to be wondering where Santa is. In the 1950s the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, started tracking Santa.

These days, there are multiple ways kids can track Santa. There's Google Earth and even a tracking app. NORAD's Facebook and Twitter feeds update Santa's location constantly Christmas Eve day.

Steve Rhodes / Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Lewis County's Homeless Christmas Tree Initiative is collecting donated household goods like paper towels and silverware for people who have recently become homeless and are starting over. A sprawling heap of plates, linens, pillows, and cleaning products sit under a Christmas tree in the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce.

Nick Harris / Flickr

Bad weather and a shorter fundraising season are taking their toll on the Salvation Army's Red kettle Campaign this year. Maj. Don Hostetler, commander of the Salvation Army's Empire State Division, says at first the season was actually tracking ahead of last year. But heavy snowfalls and a stretch of bitter cold temperatures dampened a strong start, resulting in the charity's late season push to reach their $4 million goal.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

While out shopping for gifts for family and friends this holiday season, some charitable shoppers also reached for dolls, notepads and toiletries to pack into a shoebox for a child overseas. The shoeboxes not only give impoverished kids some necessities, but something less tangible -- hope.

Recently, hundreds of festive shoeboxes line the walls of Oswego Alliance Church. Volunteers take a couple minutes to stack each box, straightening out the red and green columns into one uniform wall. None of the boxes have shoes in them.

Matt Martin / WSKG

Every year Christmas tree farmers lose a portion of their crop to a fungus that attacks the root of the tree.  One tree farm in the Southern Tier has started planting a species that seems to be more resistant to the disease.

Closing church auctions not only items, but memories

Dec 3, 2013
David Chanatry / NYRP-UC

As ringing bells herald this Christmas season, another city church has gone silent. The West Genesee  United Methodist Church in Syracuse has closed its doors, and last week it auctioned off its contents.

Soldiers pitch in to help needy celebrate Christmas

Dec 1, 2013
Joanna Richards

The Watertown Urban Mission is busy around the holidays. Along with running its regular programs like the food pantry and thrift store, it also distributes warm winter coats and Thanksgiving turkeys, puts on a craft fair, and holds a sale of Christmas items. Fortunately, it's gotten some help from a small army of volunteers – literally.

Last year's Christmas tree is this spring's mulch

Jan 2, 2013
lizard10979 / via Flickr

If you're putting away Christmas decorations and taking ornaments off the tree, Onondaga County's recycling agency wants to make sure that old tree gets re-purposed.

Moose - a Deer Designed by a Committe

Dec 25, 2012

John Weeks tells you everything there is to know about the moose.

Tuned to Yesterday

Dec 21, 2012

Xmas #11, Christmas, Lux Radio Theater "It’s a Wonderful Life" 3/10/47 CBS

Tuned To Yesterday features programs from radio's golden era. Drama, Comedy, Western, Sci-Fi and more. Produced by Mark Lavonier.

John Weeks discusses the types of scenes he sees on the Christmas cards he gives and receives. He notes a lack of ecological accuracy and an emphasis on cuteness.

Tuned to Yesterday

Dec 19, 2012

Xmas #9, Christmas, The Marriage 12/20/53 NBC, Phil Harris / Alice Faye Show "Christmas Decorations" 12/18/49 NBC

Tuned To Yesterday features programs from radio's golden era. Drama, Comedy, Western, Sci-Fi and more. Produced by Mark Lavonier.

At the end of this week, the biggest Christmas giveaway in central New York takes place and the high numbers of families who signed up for the annual Christmas Bureau shows an economy that's still hurting.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Almost three-thousand Central New York families found some Christmas help at the Annual Salvation Army Christmas Bureau in Syracuse Thursday.  That's 400 more families than needed help last year, a nearly 15% increase. 

Jim Greene is not an academic Dickens scholar, but he plays Dickens and runs the Dickens Christmas Festival in Skaneateles.  In this holiday version of the Campbell Conversations, he talks - often in the character of Dickens - about the meaning and the writing of "A Christmas Carol," the Christmas holidays, and his experiences in the town.  Given the stark portrayals of poverty in his writing, what would Dickens have made of the Occupy Wall Street Movement?  Here’s one person’s take.  All in all, the conversation contains holiday wisdom worthy of Dickens’s tale.