Until this past April Chris Jagger had spent the last 13 years on morning drive radio in the Dallas/Fort Worth area anchoring shows from 1998-2006 on 102.1 The Edge and then for the last 5 years on Live 105.3 and 105.3 The Fan.
During that time, from 1998-2003 he was also the television host for the nationally syndicated Warner Brothers produced TV show Change of Heart.
Since his radio contract ended in April, and for the first time in his 31 year career, Jagger has been enjoying plenty of free time as he anticipates his next career move. Another radio show is a possibility in the New Year and he has finalized plans for his restaurant/lounge concept that he hopes to find a location for in 2012.
We chatted with Jagger about a few of his holiday memories and this is what he had to say.
What is a favorite holiday memory?
I was nearly 5 years old at the time and woke up before anyone else in the house. My 3 brothers and I were very competitive and I wanted to be the first down the stairs on Christmas morning. So when I woke up and realized no one else was stirring I burst from my bed and down the stairs I went. It was probably about 5 AM as I ran to the dark living room with great excitement to see what Santa had delivered. When I entered the room and turned on the light I was shocked because there was nothing under the tree and not a present in sight.
In a panic I ran back up the stairs to my parents room to tell them that Santa had skipped us and that he didn’t leave us any presents. Before I burst into tears my mother told me that I was a day early and that it was the morning of Christmas Eve and not Christmas morning. It’s funny that I remember less about that particular Christmas morning than I do about the day before when I woke up thinking it was Christmas.
What one person does the holiday time remind you the most about?
Christmas lost a lot when I lost my mom in 1998. Growing up, my mother stayed at home and took care of me, my 3 brothers and my older sister. She was the embodiment of the holiday as she did all the shopping, all the cooking and created most of my childhood Christmas memories. My father took care of the outdoor decorations and enjoyed the holidays, but it was my mother that created our traditions and worked tirelessly to provide us with the magic of Christmas.
And beyond all of that, as I got older and became “Santa’s Helper” on Christmas Eve, I learned more about the history of my family than at any other time in my life. When the rest of the family had finally gone to bed my mother and I would finish cleaning up from the Christmas Eve festivities and then round up all the gifts and get them placed under the tree. After that we would sit at the kitchen table and talk. The conversations were always about our family and were deeply personal and revealing.
As I look back now, those late night Christmas Eve conversations are something I treasure most. I knew they were special at the time, and to this day, each Christmas Eve after everyone has gone to bed, I still wish I could sit in the kitchen with my mom and share more family memories.
Tell us about a favorite holiday dish.
I have continued the Christmas dinner tradition that I grew up with. Growing up in an Italian family, my father loved Thanksgiving but thought that having turkey then, and again at Christmas, was too much. He wanted an Italian Christmas dinner, even though we ate pasta, meatballs and sauce twice a week, every week. Our Christmas menu consisted of Italian Wedding Soup, cheese ravioli, meat balls, Italian sausage, Italian bread and lots of provolone cheese.
The ravioli were special and we seldom had them during the year. We were not poor, but feeding 4 boys on a steel workers salary was always challenging. So we had lots of pasta and spaghetti during the year, and that made the ravioli special. But it’s the Wedding Soup that really made the holiday. It was the only time of the year that my mother would make it and you knew it was Christmas when she started prepping the soup.
It’s funny how many people I have met that have never had or heard of Wedding Soup. Growing up in western Pennsylvania, everyone I knew made wedding soup for Christmas or had someone that made it for them. And if you want a great recipe for this I recommend Giada De Laurentiis’ from the Food Network. For me, it’s the closest to what my mother made, and it’s pretty simple to prepare.
The best toy you received as a child?
The battery powered robot from ‘Lost in Space’