A Christmas radio play by David Sedaris and the Pinetree Gang.
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David Sedaris reads this story. A high-powered theater critic applies his critical skills to the Christmas pageants at local elementary schools.
David Sedaris reads a new story about what "they" do at Christmas. And by "they" of course, we mean the Dutch.
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.
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.
How David Sedaris became a Christmas writer — and how he started writing stories about the holiday that are so dark that sometimes it seems that he's trying to single handedly destroy Christmas. We hear from members of David's own family, and from David, all of whom insist that David loves Christmas.
A Hollywood TV producer tries to convince a church of evangelical Christians to sell out a member of their own congregation. Matt Malloy reads. He was one of the stars of the acclaimed independent film In the Company of Men.Also in this act: Dickens vs.
We play a 1959 original recording of Truman Capote reading his holiday story A Christmas Memory—and sounding eerily similar to David Sedaris.
Writer David Sedaris's true account of two Christmas seasons he spent working as an elf at Macy's department store in New York. When a shorter version of this story first aired on NPR's Morning Edition, it generated more tape requests than any story in the show's history to that point.
Julia Sweeney reads this story. She's a former Saturday Night Live cast member and star of the sad and comic memoir of life with cancer, God Said, "Ha!," which played on Broadway.
A Christmas poem from David Rakoff, about holidays in The Big City. Rakoff's the author of, most recently, Half Empty.
David Rakoff discusses the world of birthdays and other holidays, as they're celebrated on the job... and what happens when you call yourself an editorial assistant but the editor you're assisting calls you a secretary. He read this story before a live audience at Town Hall in New York City, during a This American Life live show.
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.
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.
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.
Host Ira Glass goes to one of the epicenters of modern Christmas — the world's biggest toy store — minutes before closing on Christmas Eve. (4 minutes)
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.
A Christmas tree story by Chicago playwright/musician Beau O'Reilly.
When is a chicken your friend? When is he your dinner? This American Life's former webmeister Elizabeth Meister talks with Kamiko Overs, an 11-year-old girl at the annual poultry exhibition run by the American Poultry Association in Columbus, Ohio. Elizabeth Meister is a producer with Long Haul Productions.
What happens when you go into a place—in this case a prison—where there are all sorts of codes about what you're never supposed to say...and you say every one of them. Rick Reynolds tells a story from his one-man show (and CD) All Grown Up and No Place to Go, about performing stand-up comedy at a maximum security prison just before Christmas a few years ago.
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.
Trinity Church in Texas puts on something called Hell House every Halloween. It's like a haunted house, but each scene shows teenage church members acting out scenes of things the church considers sins.