A Holiday Playlist
photo: Tom Ryan
To help you get you into the spirit—or to help you get through it—here are some of our past holiday shows. One small note: there are a lot of different ideas here about Santa, so keep that in mind as you listen with kids.
Say Yes to Christmas
No Christmas can ever be as good as the ones you had as a kid. In this episode, we go all in and bring the joy, the spontaneity, the sense that anything can happen back to the holiday. We've got a live Christmas performance from some of the best improvisers in the country including Mike Birbiglia, Chris Gethard, and SNL's Aidy Bryant and Sasheer Zamata. Also holiday meals – on fire.
Thought That Counts
So true. Unfortunately, sometimes it's not always so clear what that thought was. And sometimes, when it is clear, we wish it wasn't. During this season of giving, we turn our spotlight on the givers and exactly whatever it was they could've possibly been thinking.
Lights, Camera, Christmas!
A show filled with stories of people going to great lengths to throw a special Christmas for their families. Including tales of Luna the guinea pig, Bambi the reindeer, and Jeko the super-powerful (and somewhat-scary) Christmas elf.
Comedians of Christmas Comedy Special
The holidays are stressful so here’s a seasonal pick-me-up: an hour of comedy. Including comedians Wyatt Cenac, Mike Birbiglia, Julian McCullough, Jenny Slate, Gabe Liedman and Edith Zimmerman. Musical guests: Dave Hill and Doug Gillard.
Scenes From a Mall
We spent several days in a mall in suburban Tennessee to document life during the run-up to Christmas. Also, a rift in a national association of professional Santas—the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas (yes, there is such a group).
The This American Life Holiday Spectacular
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!
This American Life’s Holiday Gift-Giving Guide
The vexing difficulty of finding the perfect gift, illustrated in three acts.
Stories of faith: losing it, talking about it, constructing it, and working within it.
The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Suit
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.
A Very Special Sedaris Christmas
Stories from David Sedaris's book of Christmas stories, Holidays on Ice, read onstage by David, Julia Sweeney, and actor Matt Malloy.
Christmas and Commerce
Stories about the intersection of Christmas and retail, including David Sedaris's story "Santaland Diaries," which was first broadcast on NPR's Morning Edition many years ago in a much shorter version.
In our first holiday show, a Christmas radio play by David Sedaris and the Pinetree Gang, as well as stories by Beau O’Reilly, Reginald Gibbins, and Peter Clowney.