Senior Airman Tyler Woodward / U.S. Air Force

On Christmas Day, a Vermont Air National Guard F-16 fighter jet piloted by a person wearing a Santa hat flew combat missions over Iraq, a bomb fixed to its underbelly, supporting the fight against the so-called Islamic State.

Evgenyb / iStock

Short of fasting for five weeks and avoiding all human contact, the holiday season from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day is a fest of food, drink and frivolity. To say nothing of heightened levels of stress and overspending.

Why do we let ourselves get sucked into this vortex of excess?

Campo di Vino

Everyone has holiday food traditions that can be traced to individuals or to family ethnicity or nationality, and sometimes to a wider community. Every Christmas I can remember I’ve eaten pasta frolla, which is a dessert associated with Barre, and which I love in the way that Pee-wee Herman loved fruit salad, which is to say that I’d marry it if I could.

Amanda Shepard / VPR

This holiday season, make VPR and VPR Classical part of your celebrations and enjoy a variety of special programs, ranging from traditional to new.

Jane Lindholm / VPR

One of the hallmarks of the holiday season for residents of northwestern Vermont is a vision of one of the SD Ireland concrete trucks rolling through town, decked out from head to tail gate in 25,000 Christmas lights.

Locally developed solar-powered wreaths decorate Randolph's Main Street. Winter parking bans go into effect. Waterbury celebrates with its annual River of Light lantern parade.

iStock Agency / Thinkstock

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend embodies a few big themes: a festive meal with family, perhaps a long car trip to get there, and time to reflect - sometimes uncomfortably - on our founding history that gave rise to Thanksgiving. Wednesday on Vermont Edition, we're taking all of it on!  From food to travel to history to culture, we'll get your Thanksgiving weekend started right.

Anthropology of a shared meal

Library of Congress

Today, the term farm-to-table signifies the epitome of local food. But nearly 200 years ago, it meant something entirely different when Thanksgiving turkeys traveled hundreds of miles from Vermont farms to Massachusetts tables — on foot.

"Turkey drives" were an autumnal tradition from the 1800s to the early 1900s, and involved the overland strolling of flocks of turkeys from all corners of Vermont to their destination — and demise — in Boston.

Town of Mount Holly

There's a lot going on around Vermont for the Fourth of July, from an Outhouse Race in Bristol to an old-fashioned boxcar Downhill Derby in Morrisville.

Here's a sampling of some of the many activities in the works for Independence Day:

Holiday Programs

Dec 24, 2013

Make VPR and VPR Classical part of your holiday celebrations and enjoy the many traditional and new programs!

Thursday, December 19th
8 p.m. on VPR Classical: Hear A Chanticleer Christmas, the 12-voice men's choir from San Francisco.
9 p.m. on VPR Classical: Enjoy A Choral Christmas with Stile Antico, the award-winning choir from London.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

‘Tis the season for delectable treats, and one holiday favorite is the candy cane. At Laughing Moon Chocolates in Stowe, visitors can learn how to make their own candy canes.

The small retail space at Laughing Moon Chocolates is crowded with children and their adults. They’re all here to watch a batch of boiling sugar and corn syrup be transformed into candy canes. And they’ll even get a chance to roll out their own candy cane to take home – if it makes it that far.

Courtesy of U.S. Postal Service

Vermonters have a special incentive to buy this year’s Hanukah Stamp from the U.S. Postal Service. The menorah on the stamp was designed by blacksmith Steven Bronstein of Marshfield.  

The cars passing by the Blackthorne Forge on Route 2 are the last indication that you’re still in the 21st century. Walking inside Steven Bronstein’s blacksmith shop, you’re struck by the sights and sounds of the late 19th century.

Bronstein is hand-making iron clocks, garden tools and various other creations that are sold in shops and galleries around the country.

Flickr: Caitlinator 6610129725

11/14/13 at 12p and 7p: Holidays can set high expectations for spending quality time with family. But what if, just sometimes, your family gets on your nerves? That's just one of the tricky social situations we're likely to encounter as the holiday season approaches.