148: The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Suit

148: The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Suit

Dec 24, 1999
A special Christmas edition of our show, with stories about Santa Claus—the many many different versions of Santa Claus. It was in America, in New York, that people started believing in the modern idea of Santa—a guy who comes down the chimney with a sack of goodies. But America has invented a few other Santas as well.
  • Host Ira Glass talks with Stephen Nissenbaum, author of a history called The Battle for Christmas, which explains when people started believing in a Santa who arrives Christmas Eve carrying presents. It was in 1822, and incredibly, the poem that created our modern idea of Santa is still around, known by heart by tens of millions. (8 minutes) CityHistoryHolidaysReligionWriting

    Embed

    Copy and paste the HTML below to embed this story into your web page or blog.

    pixels
  • We begin our show with the most idealistic notion of Santa. Mike Paterniti heads on a quest across the country, looking for something we've lost, when it comes to Santa. (18 minutes)ChildhoodHolidaysTravel
    Song:
    • "Will Santa Come to Shanty Town?", Eddy Arnold

    Embed

    Copy and paste the HTML below to embed this story into your web page or blog.

    pixels
  • Sarah Vowell explains why so many popular songs portray Santa as a ladies man. (8 minutes)HolidaysMusicRomanceSexuality

    Embed

    Copy and paste the HTML below to embed this story into your web page or blog.

    pixels
  • Riz Rollins tells a story about himself, his brother, his grandmother and a guy in a Chicago department store they hope has some pull with Santa. (8 minutes) CityFamilyHolidays

    Embed

    Copy and paste the HTML below to embed this story into your web page or blog.

    pixels
  • What if do-gooders patrolled department stores, keeping tabs on the Santas? We hear this story, of The Most Fantastic Crimefighter The World Has Ever Known: Chickenman. Recorded for This American Life by Dick Orkin, Christine Coyle and Rod Roddy at the Radio Ranch in Los Angeles. All the various voices are played by Orkin and Coyle—with Roddy announcing. (4 minutes)Holidays

    Embed

    Copy and paste the HTML below to embed this story into your web page or blog.

    pixels
  • Students in a French language class in Paris try to explain holiday customs to a woman from Morocco, and somehow everything they describe sounds utterly improbable. A true story from writer David Sedaris, recorded before a live audience at a reading for City Arts and Lectures in San Francisco. (10 minutes) EducationFunnyHolidaysLive PerformanceTravel

    Embed

    Copy and paste the HTML below to embed this story into your web page or blog.

    pixels

Photo

Embed

Copy and paste the HTML below to embed this episode into your web page or blog.

pixels