Ira introduces us to Santa Allen. A man who is NOT the real Santa Claus but who will – for the first time ever – be sitting in a chair, dressed as Santa, asking little children what they want for Christmas this year. He’s nervous.
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Producer Aviva DeKornfeld accompanies Santa Allen to his first “chair gig” to see whether all of his hopes, or all of his fears, or a little of both, will be realized. (16 minutes)
Alex Edelman grew up in an Orthodox Jewish household in Boston. But one year, unexpectedly, his family decided to celebrate Christmas – for what he says are very Jewish reasons.
Scaachi Koul is commemorating a Christmas first of her own – and ON her own – this year.
Maya Gurantz tells the story of Glenn and Laurie Mutchler, who go further than most parents to create a magical Christmas for their kids, Colin, Erica and Adam. Theirs included a family mythology of Santas that had its own logic, with many Santas and a family elf named Jeko, who were never jolly and often thrillingly scary.
Ira talks with Connie Rex about the deer she and her sisters kidnapped and ended up putting into their school’s Christmas pageant in Woodruff, Utah, in a starring role.
Jonathan Goldstein tells the story of Santa Claus, who, after losing his wife, Martha Claus, sets out to find love once again. Jonathan is the host of the podcast, Heavyweight.
Ira remembers the contentious family gatherings of holidays past - and how things have changed.
Scaachi Koul is trying to learn a language native to her parents, and heads back to Calgary to ask why they never taught it to her in the first place. (21 minutes)
A fictional story written and read by Maile Meloy about a family that encounters two peculiar strangers in the snow on Christmas Day.
Ira talks about “The Twelve Days Of Christmas,” the one Christmas song he’s always hated. (7 minutes)
Some of the best improv actors in the country join us for a special Christmas themed performance recorded live at the Bellhouse in Brooklyn. Scott Adsit, Mike Birbiglia, Aidy Bryant, Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher, and Sasheer Zamata dream up a magical world on stage that’s only possible at Christmas.
Producer Stephanie Foo fell hard for a new holiday tradition this year – Turkey Fryer PSAs created by fire departments across the country.
Andre, 6, and his 4 year old brother Luc are experiencing Christmas for the very first time. They’re adopted and have recently moved to the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A 17-year-old Ethiopian girl who is just learning English goes with her teacher to face her fears head-on: She orders tea in a local coffee shop. A woman in America talks to Ira about her husband, in Syria, who is currently negotiating with kidnappers for the release of two of his employees.
Lisa Pollak goes to the Enchanted Snowfall at La Encantada Mall, where the snow is "98 percent magic; 2 percent soap." (4 minutes)
Ira talks to John Biewen about how remarkable it is that he could grow up in a town and never learn about the most significant event in its history. This show about Native Americans and settlers was first broadcast on Thanksgiving weekend 2012, on the 150th anniversary of the war.
Jeanne Darst was 16 when her parents split up. But it turned out they just weren't too skilled at the whole divorce thing.
Host Ira Glass plays clips of interviews with several people whose dads have tried reach out to them the best way they know how, which often means...awkwardly.
Ira Glass plays Christmas jokes told by third graders, collected by producer Jonathan Menjivar. It turns out there really aren't many holiday jokes (although see our blog post for more), but kids are happy to invent them.
Wyatt Cenac tells this story about spreading Christmas cheer in Texas. Wyatt is a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Two very, very short stories by Edith Zimmerman. Edith is the editor of TheHairpin.com.
Despite our nation's attempts to make Christmas all about toys and shopping, it is still a religious holiday. Mike Birbiglia tells this story about Catholicism and his mother. Mike is author of the memoir Sleepwalk With Me.
Comedy duo Gabe Liedman and Jenny Slate disagree about the awesomeness of Hanukkah... and about the nature of their relationship. Gabe contributes to videogum.com.