Info

Christmas Past

It's the fascinating backstories to the Christmas traditions you cherish. Christmas Past brings you year-round Christmas history, forgotten Christmas fiction, roundtables, interviews, and most of all, Christmas cheer. And it's all from the uniquely warm and nostalgic world of Brian Earl — where the holiday season never ends!
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
Christmas Past
2021
March
January


2020
December
November
October
September
August
June
May
April
March
February
January


2019
December
November
October
September
June


2018
December
November
October
July


2017
December
November


2016
December
November


All Episodes
Archives
Now displaying: 2020
Dec 25, 2020

Merry Christmas! The big day is here, and that means it's time for Christmas Past's annual "Christmas in Review" episode. We'll take a look back at Christmas of 2020 to review the trends and headlines that made this Christmas uniquely its own. After all, starting tomorrow, Christmas of 2020 belongs to Christmas past.

Does anything from this year have the makings of a lasting tradition? Only time will tell.

Wishing you and your loved ones all the warmth and magic of the season. Merry Christmas, and happy new year.

Music in this episode

  • Silent Night — Kevin MacLeod, via Incompetech
  • Deck the Halls A — Kevin MacLeod via Incompetech
  • O Holy Night — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
Dec 24, 2020

It’s Christmas Eve. It’s all been building up to this: tonight and tomorrow — basically one continuous celebration with a long winter’s nap in the middle of it. It's the ideal day for reminiscing about Christmases past. 

And so, as you and I spend part of Christmas Eve together, I’m so happy to present the fourth and final memories episode for the season. I’m so grateful to everyone who’s shared a memory this year, making 2020 truly the biggest and best season yet for sharing warm Christmas memories with the rest of the Christmas Past family. 

Mentioned in this episode

Music in this episode

Dec 23, 2020

A Visit from Saint Nicholas wasn't the first published poem to describe Santa Claus arriving on a sleigh to deliver toys on Christmas Eve. But it is the best known poem to do it. In fact, it's one of the best known poems in the English language. But the story behind A Visit from Saint Nicholas, is in its own way, almost as elusive as catching a glimpse of Santa Claus himself on Christmas Eve. It’s a story of somewhat mysterious origins, disputed authorship, combining of legends, and the making of modern Christmas.

Thank you to Debra Schmidt Bach from the New-York Historical Society for appearing in this episode.

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music in this episode

Dec 21, 2020

Christmas is just days away. At this point in the season, maybe you're feeling like you wish you could slow down time and make it all last just a bit longer. It's the perfect time to really reflect on the warmth and magic of the season, and the memories of Christmas Past. So I'm proud to present another episode this season dedicated to just that!

Music in this episode

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Dec 19, 2020

Just who is Mrs Claus? A token character, destined to play second fiddle? A grandmotherly figure baking cookies? The queen of Christmas? The CEO of the North Pole? Since her off-hand introduction in 1849, the story of Mrs. Claus has been one of a legend that’s been writing itself.

Thanks to Deeana Golden from IBRBS for appearing in this episode. And special thanks to Tiffany Houghton for permission to use her song, Mrs. Claus.

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music in this episode

Dec 17, 2020

According to legend, a little girl named Pepita saw her humble nativity offering of roadside weeds miraculously transform into bright red flowers on Christmas eve. For generations, the legend was part of the Christmas celebration for many communities in Mexico. And that's where it could have stayed, if it weren't for a man named Poinset. The story of how the poinsettia came to America and how they came to be so ubiquitous at Christmas, has some strange twists and turns in it. Ones that involve a kidnapping, possibly a murder, international diplomacy, and a good old fashioned American success story.

Thanks to Mark Schmeller for appearing in this episode.

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music in this episode

  • Wish Background  — Kevin MacLeod via Incompetech
  • Drops of Earth — Aakash Gandhi via YouTube Audio Library
  • Surface Tension 1 — Podington Bear via Free Music Archive
  • Ranch Hand — Blue Dot Sessions via Free Music Archive
  • Greensleves — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
  • Dimlight — Podington Bear via Free Music Archive
Dec 15, 2020

It's a first! The 2020 season of Christmas Past includes multiple episode dedicated just to you and your Christmas memories. So let's cozy up by the fire and reminisce with the rest of the Christmas Past family with some treasured memories from our listeners.

Don't forget to check out the Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts!

Links

Music in this episode

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Dec 13, 2020

The mince pie is one of the least understood, most maligned, and sometimes subversive Christmas traditions we have. And yet, it’s still here. With its pastry crust and spiced — and often, boozy — fruit filling, it’s a survivor. And its story touches on hallucinogens, Prohibition, food preservation, the Puritans, and a Christmas dessert with a bad-boy reputation. A dessert that’s as American as, well...as American as mince pie. 

Thanks to Veronique Greenwood for appearing in this episode.

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music in this episode

  • Wish Background  — Kevin MacLeod via Incompetech
  • Denzel Sprak — BlueDot Sessions, via Free Music Archive
  • Burned — Podington Bear, via Free Music Archive
  • Twinkle in the Night — Aakash Gandhi, via YouTube Audio Library
  • Stille Nacht — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
Dec 12, 2020

I'm back with another surprise episode. This time, author Mark Voger and I talk about Christmas nostalgia in popular culture. It's the topic of his new book, Holly Jolly. 

Links

Music in this episode

Turning — Blue Dot Sessions, via Free Music Archive

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Dec 11, 2020

When is a Christmas movie not a Christmas movie? Well, for starters, when it’s released in August. But even more so, when it arrives before a time when the very notion of Christmas movies even existed. Christmas in Connecticut checks all of the boxes of a Christmas movie. Its events occur over Christmas, and there's plenty of Christmas imagery. But at the time of its release, Christmas movies didn't really exist. But of course they do today, and it's mostly thanks a single, revolutionary, invention that would change Christmas forever. 

Thanks you Alonso Duralde, author of Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas, for appearing in this episode.

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music in this episode

Dec 9, 2020

It's my favorite episode of the year: the one that's all about YOU and your Christmas memories. For the past four seasons straight, Christmas Past has presented an episode filled with Christmas memories from listeners all over the world. Is 2020 the first year that there will be more than one episode like this? Only you can decide that. There's still time to send Christmas memories to appear in this season.

Check out the ThreeKicksPodcast from Chris, who appears in this episode

Don't forget to check out the Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts!

Music in this episode

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Dec 7, 2020

Nowadays, wassail, like sugarplums or hot buttered rum, is a part of the Christmas season that most of us experience mainly through references in songs and stories and artwork. But this old English custom is about much more than sharing a cup of good cheer. It’s about one of the parts of Christmas that’s mostly likely destined to remain stuck in Christmas past: inverting the normal rules of social order...with a little help from alcohol.

Thanks to Conrad Bladey, author of the five-volume The Book of Wassail, for appearing in this episode.

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music in this episode

  • The Wassail Song — Chris Friesen, via Noisetrade
  • Slow Toe — Blue Dot Sessions, via Free Music Archive
  • Cases to Rest  — Blue Dot Sessions, via Free Music Archive
  • Wassail Wassail  — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
  • Wish Background  — Kevin MacLeod via Incompetech
Dec 5, 2020

Dana Nachman is the director / writer / producer of Dear Santa. This new documentary follows various people involved in the US Postal Service's century-old "Operation Santa" program, which helps get children's letters to Santa Claus answered. 

Dear Santa is available on several major streaming platforms. Check this listing to see how you can watch it at home. 

You can also watch this interview on YouTube!

Mentioned in this episode

Music in this episode

O Little Town of Bethlehem — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist.

Keep in touch

 

Dec 3, 2020

Snow globes are one of those items that seems like it could have been around forever.  But they are a relatively new invention, and it wasn’t until decades after their invention that they’d become more or less exclusively a Christmas decoration. And that’s a story involving shoemakers, World War II, Austrian souvenir shops, baby food, and a super top secret process for creating fake snow. That literally only one person on earth knows.

Thank you to Erwin Perzy III of Original Viennese Snowglobe Manufacture for appearing in this episode.

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music in this episode

Dec 1, 2020

In this bonus episode, Brian's Christmas spirit is put to the test with a fun-filled game of Christmas trivia. This…is…Sherperdy! 

Today, we take a little break from the typical action. Normally this time of year, the episodes feature the backstories to Christmas traditions and Christmas memories. 

But a very special member of the Christmas Past family invited yours truly to play a game of Christmas trivia. So, play along at home and see how you do!

Thanks again to Rachel in New York for inviting me to play.  

You can also watch this game on YouTube

Music in this episode

Home for the Holidays — Chris Haugen, via YouTube Audio Library

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Nov 28, 2020

For something so closely tied to Christmas — whose very image and flavor is practically synonymous with the season —  it may be surprising to realize that origins of candy canes are something of a sweet mystery.

Thanks to Kirk Vashaw, CEO of Spangler Candy Company, for appearing in this episode.

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music in this episode

Nov 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Well here we are at the beginning of another Christmas season together. This is Christmas season number five for Christmas Past. Today we're ringing in the 2020 Christmas season with a reading of the 1922 story, The Velveteen Rabbit. 

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music in this episode

  • "The Little Drummer Boy"  — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
  • "Wish Background"  — Kevin MacLeod via Incompetech
Nov 23, 2020

The countdown to the new season of Christmas Past is almost over! Come back on Thanksgiving Day for the season kickoff and for me to wish you a Merry Christmas. Ever wonder why we say "Merry Christmas"? Let's revisit a classic episode of Christmas Past to find out. 

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music from this episode

  • “Gaena” — Blue Dot Sessions, via Free Music Archive
  • “March” — Kai Engel, via Free Music Archive
  • “Delicant” — Podington Bear, via Free Music Archive
  • “Suppose it Is” — Podington Bear, via Free Music Archive
  • “Wish Background” — Kevin MacLeod, via Incompetech
Nov 20, 2020

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving! And that means the start of an all new season of Christmas Past. By now you've probably seen Christmas ads and merchandise on the shelves and the airwaves. So let's check out a classic episode from the archive, where Brian tells the story of how Christmas advertising came to be.

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music from this episode

Nov 17, 2020

Thanksgiving is a week from Thursday, and that's when official 2020 season of Christmas Past begins. As we count down, we're taking a look back at the classic episodes that started it all. Today, it's the 2017 episode about the surprising history behind The Nutcracker. 

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music from this episode

Nov 14, 2020

We're less than two weeks away from the start of the new season of Christmas Past. Till then, we're revisiting some classics from Christmas Past...past. Today's episode is the last in the original three-part series about the origins of Santa Claus.

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music in this episode

Nov 11, 2020

Thanksgiving is just two weeks away, and that means the start of the new "official" season of Christmas Past. Till then, we're revisiting some of the classics from the vault. This time, it's part two of the three part series that started it all. 

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music from this episode

Nov 8, 2020

It's the countdown to the 2020 Christmas season episodes of Christmas Past! From now till Thanksgiving, we're revisiting some of the classic Christmas Past episodes. Today's is the very first episode of Christmas Past, published on Thanksgiving Day in 2016. It's the first in a three-part series about the origins of Santa Claus.

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music in this episode

Nov 5, 2020

Leading up to Thanksgiving Day (when we kick off the 2020 season episodes), we're revisiting some of the classic episodes from the Christmas Past back catalog. This one is the first episode I ever created for Christmas Past: Sugarplums!

Even though you hear about sugar plums every Christmas, do you actually know what they are? In this episode we learn the mostly forgotten history of this Christmassy treat.

Be sure to check out the "Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts"

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

Music from this episode

Nov 2, 2020
We're kicking off November of 2020 with a visit from an old friend. Alex Palmer, author of The Santa Claus Man, appeared in Christmas Past's miniseries, My Dear Santa,: A True Crime Christmas Caper. Now he's back with a new book, The Atlas of Christmas.
 
Join Alex and me for a discussion some of the fun, quirky Christmas traditions around the world that we miss out on here in America.

Don't forget to check out the Definitive Directory of Christmas Podcasts!

Music in this episode

Share a Christmas memory on the podcast! Just record a voice memo into your phone and send it to christmaspastpodcast@gmail.com. Keep it reasonably short, clean and family friendly, and be sure to say your name and where you're from. 

Keep in touch

1 2 3 Next »