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December 19, 2003

This American Life’s Holiday Gift-Giving Guide

The vexing difficulty of finding the perfect gift, illustrated in three acts.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass goes to a busy Target store one week before Christmas. Most shoppers he talks to don't think any of their gifts will be returned. (3 minutes)

Make A Joyous Noise Unto Your Mom

Ian Brown tries, after decades of failure, to give his mother the perfect Christmas gift. He and his brother attempt something they haven't done since they were kids: Rehearse and sing her a program of Christmas carols. Ian Brown is the host of Talking Books, a radio program on the CBC, and the anchor of Human Edge and The View From Here, Canada's pre-eminent television documentary series. (19 minutes)

A Christmas Memory

We play a 1959 original recording of Truman Capote reading his holiday story A Christmas Memory—and sounding eerily similar to David Sedaris. (18 minutes)

Secret Santa. Very Secret Santa.

Caitlin Shetterly reports on a true-life holiday fable from rural Maine, complete with a misunderstood recluse with a heart of gold, a deserving family in need, and a very special Christmas tree farm with secrets of its own. (16 minutes)
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