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Christmas Party Decorating with John Waters

Waters poses with <i>Weekend Edition</i>'s Scott Simon.
Waters poses with Weekend Edition's Scott Simon.
John Waters' cheery yuletide electric chair.
John Waters' cheery yuletide electric chair.

Every December since 1966, filmmaker John Waters has hosted a huge Christmas party at his Baltimore home. Christmas is an obsession for Waters, and this year he released a holiday compilation -- featuring such titles as "Here Comes Fatty Claus" -- on a new CD, A John Waters Christmas.

NPR's Scott Simon visited Waters as he and a team of friends prepared to decorate every room of his four-story 1928 home. Everything gets the holiday treatment, from the fireplace mantel to the electric chair (from his movie Female Trouble) that sits in his foyer.

But don't call Waters sentimental: To him, the word usually means badly written. He's not a fan of It's a Wonderful Life, and you might want to cover the ears of any children in the vicinity before listening to his idea of what a good seasonal film would be.

The holidays are a time of giving and receiving. And in Waters' world, there is much exchanging of fakes: fake excrement, a fake humping dog, fake pie, fake butter. Enjoy a Christmas house tour with Waters and some of his most prized possessions.

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Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.