My rule is generally, no family on the crew. We hope you can enjoy "Rick Steves' European Christmas" this holiday season on your public television station. But it was basically a muddy, touristy mess, with underwhelming music and not a hint of the magic we had naively hoped for. The sisters had agreed to let our crew be present at their Holy Mass, but I guess they didn't understand we wanted to actually use the big camera we had lugged up the hill. After considering everywhere from Poland to Greece to Ireland, we settled on seven cultures: England is so perfectly jolly and ye olde, with a Dickensian ambience and a wonderful tradition of caroling. Bavaria and Tirol proved to be classic Christmas country. England came through royally. In the teeming metropolis of Cairo, we climb to the center of a pyramid, greet the Sphinx, and marvel at King Tut’s gold. Next on our itinerary was Rome — where the specialty is manger scenes. We had two crews to fan out across Europe visiting seven countries in two weeks leading up to the 25th. And the donkey played…himself. But I’m getting ahead of myself — that clip is on its way. We spent long hours feasting and filming with them, but ended up with nothing usable. I simply had to get snow in the Alps... and just barely did. This was the first time PBS provided me with production funds. Bavaria and Tirol are bursting with holiday traditions — home of those famous Christmas markets, "O Tannenbaum," and "Silent Night." But we did manage to go to Drøbak, the self-proclaimed Christmas capital of Norway, and take part in Santa Lucia Day, which brings everyone out to dance around the trees…with their crowns of real candles. Join Rick Steves for a colorful, musical celebration of Christmas across Europe. But we did manage to go to the self-proclaimed Christmas capital of Norway and take part in Santa Lucia Day, which brings everyone out to dance around the trees...with their crowns of real candles. As the recent commercialization of the holiday season has driven me abroad for several recent Christmasses, I was happy to take our crew to a continent where people aren't counting the shopping days left until Christmas. Nick." Since we were footing the bill, we encouraged each family to pull out all the stops and put on a blow-out Christmas to remember…and they all did. In Oslo, we had one night to get some music. Writing the script was a fascinating challenge. Up here, where villages huddle under towering peaks, Christmas fills a … In an auditorium with several hundred lovingly wonderstruck grade-schoolers, the Christkind held court. I am well-connected in the fairy-tale village of Gimmelwald. Merry Christmas! Suddenly, the old but very spry Mother Superior dashed across the altar in the direction of the out-of-sight nuns' choir. Join Rick Steves for a colorful, musical celebration of Christmas across Europe. Join Rick Steves for a colorful, musical celebration of Christmas across Europe. My key support person was Olle, the village schoolteacher. I managed to persuade the musicians to perform for us a private little concert in the church, so we at least filmed "Silent Night" as it was first performed (two guitars and two singers). In France, we found Paris celebrates Christmas with its typical urban flair: extravagant lighting, yummy window displays, skating up on the Eiffel Tower. Today we travel to London, which offers Christmas fun fit for a queen and streets twinkling with joy. Finally, our storybook "white Christmas" village would be high in the Swiss Alps. see our FAQ. 56min 2005 13+ After producing more than 100 travel shows, Rick Steves and his film crew finally celebrate Christmas in Europe. Being Norwegian, I admit that I was biased…and Norway was destined to make the cut. To celebrate the season, I’m sharing clips, extras, and behind-the-scenes notes from Rick Steves’ European Christmas. The Christmas special is the only time we’ve ever filmed with a sound technician. We joined Romans cooking up female eels, Parisians slurping oysters, Tuscans tossing fruit cakes, and Norwegian kids winning marzipan pigs. When we were making our Rick Steves' European Christmas special, we knew that filming an intimate family Christmas feast would not necessarily come out natural and fun-loving on TV, so we filmed two and picked the best. Thankfully, a strong snowfall hit the day of our arrival, giving us the white Christmas of our prayers. Olle arranged everything. Gimmelwald was a folk festival of Christmas traditions. So our sound man carefully set up the microphone stand to the side of the altar facing the choir of nuns (as I sat in the back happily humming "Climb Ev'ry Mountain"). When we got there, they said no camera, just a microphone. After we filmed her show before an awestruck crowd of German kids, we were invited to a private audience with her. A highlight for our crew was filming the Midnight Mass at the Vatican on Christmas Eve in 2004 — which happened to be Pope John Paul II’s last Christmas. From England to Norway, Burgundy to Bavaria, Rome to the top of the Swiss Alps, locals brimming with holiday cheer celebrate Christmas in seven European countries, including a very memorable Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter's in Rome. Our script was designed to playfully let the Christmas season build — but never quite reach a holiday climax — in each place we filmed. Being Norwegian, I admit that I was biased…and Norway was destined to make the cut. (Go ahead, sing it.). Thankfully, the next morning — Christmas morning — we were given a royal perch from which to shoot in the Salzburg Cathedral as a huge orchestra and choir filled the place with a glorious Diabelli Mass. Directors Today we travel to Austria, where the festive swirl of heartwarming sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas abound. They rang the bell, and the kids tumbled into the room so filled with wonder. The lights went out and an angelic choir of beautiful, blond, candle-carrying girls processed in, filling the cold stone interior with a glowing light. 60 S00E02: Viva la France March 4, 2006. When we were making our Rick Steves' European Christmas special, we knew that filming an intimate family Christmas feast would not necessarily come out natural and fun-loving on TV, so we filmed two and picked the best. They took me dashing through the fields in a two-horse open sleigh. To celebrate the season, I'm sharing clips, extras and behind-the-scenes notes from Rick Steves' European Christmas. It premiered on September 3, 2000; since then a total of 10 seasons and 129 episodes have been produced and broadcast in syndication. Several days before that, we had been in the Swiss Alps, our one last hope for snow. It was a Bethlehem home show, as all over town creative crèches were on display. But December had been unseasonably warm, and on the days leading up to our arrival the town was bare and wet. High in Switzerland, the mighty Alps seem to shout the glory of God. Rick Steves' European Christmas gives viewers a look at sacred, intimate family Christmas traditions. Certain events — such as a choir singing “Silent Night” in the church where it was first performed near Salzburg, Santa Lucia Day in Norway on December 13, and Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican — were fixed, so we had to work our schedule around those. I've worked with producer Simon Griffith for six years and his brilliance was what I've come to expect. Joyeux Noël! With the crew double-parked in the dark, I ran in, found the director, pleaded my case…and he said, “Ya, sure.” We finished setting up just minutes before show time. The rise and fall of fascism in Germany; tracing the roots of Nazism after World War 1, from Munich to Nuremberg to Berlin; exploring the totalitarian society built by Adolf Hitler. We wanted to feature diverse cultures whose colorful Christmas celebrations would be appreciated by American families whose ancestors emigrated from those places. This required calling on European friends (mostly tour guides and people who run B&Bs that I recommend in my guidebooks who had small children) to let us come into their home as they celebrated "Christmas Eve"…several days before the actual holiday. The result: a picturesque snapshot of the European holiday spirit in a … But the evening just felt stiff. Created by Rick Steves' Europe Staff Featured Playlist. I knew Val socially but had never slogged through a TV production with her. Rick Steves' European Christmas. 30 ... Rick Steves' Lectures: Iran PBS. Once upon a time, for the 12 days of Christmas, we had two busy television crews a-filming: 12 carol concerts, 11 mugs of Glühwein, 10 living mangers, 9 happy families, 8 Christmas feasts, 7 Euro-cultures, 6 mistletoe kisses, 5 alternative Santas, 4 pounds of weight gain, 3 midnight Masses, 2 exhausted cameramen, and a festive hour of great new public television. Monday, December 21 at 9 pm on KRCB TV in the North Bay. Published by: Gabe (Rick Steves' Europe) To learn more about European Christmas celebrations and how many contemporary Christmas traditions came to be, please join Rick in an exploration of Christmas in Europe by following along with this playlist. Up here, where villages huddle under towering peaks, Christmas fills a … When a concert we planned to film fell through at the last moment, I searched the entertainment listings and found the Norwegian Girls Choir performing in the oldest church in Oslo — the tiny, heavy-stone, Viking Age Akers Kirch. Our crew took up the rear, was unable to find a taxi, and had to walk through Rome for an hour laden with all their gear to get back to their hotel. While we could only actually be in two places on Christmas Eve and Day (Salzburg and Rome), we managed to fake Christmas Eve in the other places. This year he was Samichlaus — that's Swiss-German for "St. I was excited to experience the ritual reenactment of the first performance of "Silent Night" in Oberndorf, the town where it originated. 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