Christmas of 2019 has come and gone, but the Christmas season never truly ends here at Christmas Past. And next year, that's truer than ever. Yup...we're going year round! Join Christmas Past twice monthly (at least) throughout the year for lots of new content, including the new spinoff series, Christmas Around the World with Chantelle Joy from All Things Christmas.
Another Christmas in the books! By the time you see this, Christmas of 2019 belongs to Christmas Past. We close out the "official" Christmas season as we've done for four years in a row. It's our annual look back at the news and trends that made Christmas of 2019 what it was. We also do a little year-in-review for the podcast, and take a look ahead to what 202 has in store.
Thank you all for making the 2019 season the biggest and best yet for Christmas Past! From the bottom of my heart, I'm wishing each of you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
"Deck the Halls A" — Kevin MacLeod, via Incompetech
It's my favorite episode of the year: the one that's all about YOU! For the third year in a row, I've received more memories from you than I had episodes to put them in. So that means I once again have the special privilege of brining you an episodes filled with your Christmas memories.
Thanks to everyone who shared a Christmas memory in this episode and throughout the season. These little glimpses into your Christmas past are what makes the show special...and makes Christmas itself special too.
All of the tracks in this episode are from Don Maue's album, Smokey Mountain Christmas. The artist shared all of the tracks directly with Christmas Past. If you're interested in getting a copy, check it out here on CD Baby.
No Christmas story starts out as a classic. And the road to classic status is often a long one filled with unexpected turns. It's a Wonderful Life wasn't a big success when it debuted in 1947. It wasn't until a quirk of American copyright law gave it a second life on television in the 1970s that it earned its place as a cornerstone of Christmas cinema. Movie critic and author Alonso Duralde joins in this episode.
Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas, by Alonso Duralde
Yes, it's the most famous newspaper editorial of all. It's also the untold story of two skeptics addressing disillusionment, and the iconic statement on the magic of childhood, and belief, and Christmas that resulted.
We've treated mistletoe specially for thousands of years. But how did it go from being an ancient medicine and superstitious talisman to a festive—and smoochy—Christmas custom?
We're back for the fourth and final part of this special four part miniseries. Rikki Meece from the Sleigh Bells & Mistletoe Christmas Podcast narrates the classic story, When the Yule Log Burns, by Leona Dalrymple. Episodes arrive on four consecutive days starting December 12.
We're back for part three of this special four part miniseries. Rikki Meece from the Sleigh Bells & Mistletoe Christmas Podcast narrates the classic story, When the Yule Log Burns, by Leona Dalrymple. Episodes arrive on four consecutive days starting December 12.
We're back for part two of this special four part miniseries. Rikki Meece from the Sleigh Bells & Mistletoe Christmas Podcast narrates the classic story, When the Yule Log Burns, by Leona Dalrymple. Episodes arrive on four consecutive days starting December 12.
In this special bonus miniseries, Rikki Meece from the Sleigh Bells & Mistletoe Christmas Podcast narrates the classic story, When the Yule Log Burns, by Leona Dalrymple. This is a four-part miniseries, with episodes arriving on four consecutive days starting December 12.
It's the best known Christmas song in the world, but the story behind it less well known. Maybe that's because so many myths, legends, and half truths have been added to the origin story over the years. With the help of Wayne Bronner of Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, we'll go back to 1818 for the birth of an accidental Christmas hymn and its unlikely ascent to history's most recorded song in any genre.
We’re taking a trip back to the 80s. It was a time when it was not only possible, but likely, that any popular toy would have its own line of spinoff merchandise, a breakfast cereal, and a Saturday morning cartoon. And if it was popular enough…it got a Christmas special. 1985 gave us The Glo Friends Save Christmas. A half-hour special in which the Glo Friends must save Santa Claus from the clutches of an evil witch who’s determined to stop Christmas. I recently caught up with some of my Christmas podcasting colleagues to discuss the good, the bad, and the head-scratchingly absurd about this largely forgotten cartoon special.
"Turning" — Blue Dot Sessions via Free Music Archive
The traditional Christmas dinner of a turkey, potatoes, green beans, and fruit pie has been around for nearly two hundred years. But why? The story of how we got here is one of ancient winter feasting, agricultural societies, socio-economics, religion, a pig that’s technically a fish, and turkeys on stagecoaches. In this episode, Brian and historian Judith Flanders explore why the standard Christmas dinner is stuck in a nineteenth century time warp.
Here on Christmas Past, I dig in to the backstories behind Christmas traditions. But what happens when you can’t even verify that the thing you’re researching even is a tradition? That’s what happened when I started looking into the Christmas Pickle. You’ve probably seen pickle tree ornaments, or maybe seen posts about them in your social media feeds. The story goes that it’s an old German tradition. But…the more you dig in, the more you have to wonder.
Well, luckily someone else has done the heavy lifting. A trained journalist, no less. Richard Parks III is the host of Richard’s famous food podcast. And last year he dedicated an episode to his investigation of the topic. So join me, Tim Babb from Can't Wait for Christmas and Craig Kringle from Weird Christmas as we explore, theorize, and generally goof around discussing the strange and mysterious phenomenon of the Christmas Pickle.
"Red City Theme" — Blue Dot Sessions, via Free Music Archive
Nowadays our Christmas stories are mainly warm and cozy. They’re about reunions and homecomings. Romances and magical journeys and visits from St. Nicholas. But not so very long ago, and especially for the Victorians, Christmas stories could also send chills down your spine and make you think twice about things that go bump in the night.
In this episode, professor Tara Moore tells Brian about this creepy part of Christmas history. Plus, Brian reads the ghost story, The Strange Christmas Game.
Barbara Hinske is an attorney turned full-time novelist. Her 2016 novella, The Christmas Club is the basis for the 2019 Hallmark Channel movie of the same name. In this Ber Months Bonus episode, Brian and Barbara discuss writing, Christmas stories, Hallmark movies, and much more.
"Deck the Halls A" — Kevin MacLeod, via Incompetech
It's Christmas Past's first live show! Join Tim Babb from Can't Wait for Christmas and Brian Earl for an hour of games, music, and conversation, recorded outside the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco. This is the first time the Dickens Fair has hosted a live podcast recording.
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is a one-of-a-kind holiday adventure into Victorian London - an elaborate party with hundreds of costumed players performing and interacting with patrons in over 120,000 square feet of theatrically-lit music halls, pubs, dance floors, and Christmas shops. It's a twilight evening in Charles Dickens' London Town - a city of winding lanes filled with colorful characters from both literature and history. Enticing aromas of roasted chestnuts and hearty foods fill the air. Cries of street vendors hawking their wares ring out above the bustling crowd. Dozens of lamplit shops are filled to overflowing with Christmas gifts. The Dickens Christmas Fair is a treasured Bay Area tradition since 1970 and a splendid way to celebrate the holidays.
This live show wouldn't have been possible without the hard work and boundless Christmas spirit of Denise Lamott of Denise Lamott public relations, and Kevin Patterson, the director of the fair (who appears in this episode). Thanks also to the wonderful musicians who appear in this episode: The Coventry Carolers, The Brothers Luper, and The Paddy West School of Seamanship.
At the turn of the 20th century, the idea of kids writing letters to Santa Claus was still new. Post offices, newspapers, and charities publicly disputed how to handle the letters. It was a logistical and public relations problem, which would take a clever plan to address.
John Gluck was a workaday customs broker who dreamed of bigger things. So when he heard that the Postal Service needed help with letters to Santa, he came forward with a plan to get the letters into the hands of donors. With a little help from a troop of boy scouts, John Gluck and his Santa Claus Association did the (seemingly) impossible.
What happens when a charitable endeavor starts looking more and more like an elaborate con? As Gluck sought to expand operations, he started playing fast and loose with the facts in order to raise money and hobnob with the rich and powerful.
During the Great War, fraudulent wartime charities abounded in New York City. When the district attorney started a sweeping investigation, John Gluck found himself in his crosshairs. But that was just the beginning of his troubles.
You'd think that Gluck couldn't make things worse for himself...but you'd be wrong. He finds himself the subject of more investigations, and gets himself into hot water with the state Attorney General. But this isn't the end of the Santa Claus Association. But...that is coming.
In the early 20s, John Gluck wanted to reinvigorate the Santa Claus Association to its original glory, with the help of some high profile endorsements.But along the way, he crossed the one man who figures out the stunningly simple way to shut down Gluck once and for all.
I'm back with another Ber Months Bonus episode. Your favorite Christmas radio station may have you thinking that there are only about two dozen Christmas songs (mostly from the 1940s and 50s) worth listening to. Nonsense! In this episode, I share some new music worthy of your next Christmas playlist.
I'm back with another Ber Months Bonus episode. This week, I read the classic short story by Hans Christian Andersen: The Little Match Girl.