305: The This American Life Holiday Spectacular

305: The This American Life Holiday Spectacular

Dec 23, 2005
A full-throttle, show-stopping, no-holds-barred Christmas Spectacular! Shedding the crusty old Christmas stories of yore, we bring you new holiday classics. With special musical guest Marah!
  • Host Ira Glass hauls out Ye Olde Book of Christmas Stories, only to realize that everyone's favorite stories are—gasp—missing. Sounding the alarm, he sets off to save Christmas, the only way he knows how. (2 minutes) HolidaysWriting

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  • A Christmas poem from David Rakoff, about holidays in The Big City. Rakoff's the author of, most recently, Half Empty. (12 minutes) AlcoholFunnyHolidaysLiteraturePoetrySexuality

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  • This American Life receives an emergency transmission from a rooftop somewhere in New York City, where John Hodgman reports on the true-life origins of Christmas traditions. John Hodgman is the author of More Information Than You Require. He also has a new podcast called Judge John Hodgman. (7 minutes) FictionFunnyHolidays

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  • Yeah, Mary Magdalene knew Jesus. She knew him before anybody else had ever even heard of him. Way before he got famous, at McDonald Elementary School, where he gave weird reports in class, hung out at the loser lunch table and—wouldn't you know it—wound up suspended. Written and read by Heather O'Neill. Heather's the author of Lullabies for Little Criminals. (13 minutes)FictionFunnyReligion

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  • The great Christmas classics are all like fables. David Sedaris contributes his own, about barnyard animals who decide to play "Secret Santa." David is the author of many books, including a collection of Christmas stories, Holidays on Ice. (7 minutes) AnimalsFictionFunnyHolidays

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  • A brand new Christmas carol gets its world premiere: A song about both Christmas and American history. With lyrics by Sarah Vowell. Music written and performed by Marah. Sarah's next book, Unfamiliar Fishes, will be released this March. (3 minutes) FunnyHistoryHolidaysMusic

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  • Jonathan Goldstein retells the classic Christmas story, trying to understand what exactly goes through the mind of a man about to become surrogate father to The Lord. Jonathan's the author of Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible!. (8 minutes) BirthFictionHolidaysParentingParents

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