WAUSAU – For many people, the holiday season is all about embracing tradition. But tradition doesn’t look the same from state to state, or even from region to region. The way we celebrate the holidays depends largely on our religious beliefs, but many of our traditions are passed down from generation to generation, varying in ways that depend on our ancestral heritage. 

At 10 a.m. today, Dec. 4, Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Route 51” welcomes James Leary, emeritus professor of folklore and Scandinavian studies from the University of Wisconsin, and Ben Clark from the Marathon County Historical Society for a discussion on the history and surprising origins of the traditions most familiar to us in north central Wisconsin. 

“Route 51” airs Fridays at 10 a.m. on The Ideas Network stations 101.3 & 91.9/Wausau, AM 930/Auburndale-Stevens Point, 99.1/Stevens Point, 100.9/Marshfield, 90.3/Park Falls, 89.1/Adams-Wisconsin Rapids, and 89.9/Rhinelander-Eagle River. It is re-broadcast Fridays at 7 p.m. on 90.9/Wausau. Program archives are available at wpr.org/route51