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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!
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Now displaying: 2021
Dec 25, 2021

Merry Christmas, everyone! The big day has arrived. And it's time for our sixth annual Christmas year in review. We'll recall all the sights, sounds, news, and trends that made this Christmas unique. Plus, I'll review my own Christmas season, and talk about what's to come in 2022. 

Thank you to everyone who took part in the season, by listening, sharing memories, leaving reviews, participating in the Facebook group, and reaching out to say hi.

A very Merry Christmas to all of you, and a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year! 

Thank you to The Great Dickens Christmas Fair for inviting me back to check out its drive-through event, and capturing some audio. 

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 24, 2021

It's Christmas Eve! No matter how you celebrate, or where you celebrate, or who you call family, I hope you’re feeling the Christmas spirit right about now. And I, as well as several members of the Christmas Past family, are here to deliver just a little bit more of it. 

Be sure to follow the Tree Twins on Instagram! 

Music in this episode

Keep in touch

Dec 22, 2021

It's Christmas Eve Eve Eve! The big day is almost here. Friends and loved ones are starting to gather and prepare, ready to add a new chapter to their Christmas story, and to reminisce about Christmasses past. And today, so are we…as the Christmas Past family. It’s another episode all about you. About sharing your stories and memories, your traditions and love of our favorite holiday! 

Marv from the UK shares a memory in this episode. Check out his podcast, Pods Like Us. Thanks to him and everyone else who shared a memory in this episode!

Music in this episode

  • "Away in a Manger" — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
  • "I Saw Three Ships" — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
  • "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
  • "The First Noel" — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
  • "The Little Drummer Boy" — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
  • "The Little Drummer Boy" — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
  • "O Holy Night" — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
  • "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
  • "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist

Keep in touch

Dec 21, 2021

Christmas is often abbreviate as Xmas, but why? Why does X make a suitable abbreviation, and why does Christmas need abbreviating at all? To find the answers, we'll have to go back to the earliest days of Christianity, and and explore the world of symbology and word origins. 

Thank you to Mignon Fogarty, from Grammar Girl for joining me in this episode! 

Music in this episode

  • "Golden Hour" — Podington Bear, via Free Music Archive
  • "Prelude No. 11" — Chris Zabrieski, via Free Music Archive
  • "Silent Night" — ZakharValaha, via Pixabay
  • "Wish Background" — Kevin MacLeod, via Incompetech

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 19, 2021

Welcome back for the second consecutive day of Christmas trivia! It's the conclusion of our special double header. Join us today when Rachel plays quizmaster to Brian in a game of "Sheperdy." We're in the final countdown to Christmas of 2021, but rest assured: there's much more Christmas cheer on tap between now and the big day!  

Music in this episode

"Turning" — Blue Dot Sessions, via Free Music Archive

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. 

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Dec 18, 2021

In a first here on Christmas Past, we're doing a double header of Christmas trivia. Join me today and tomorrow for back-to-back episodes where you put your Christmas spirit to the test. Today, the name of the game is "Two Truths and a Lie," where your deception detection skills are just as important as your knowledge of Christmas history. All questions in today's game are related to the 1970s. Tomorrow, come back for Sheperdy, a Jeopardy inspired Christmas trivia game. Today and tomorrow, I'll be playing with Rachel in New York!

Music in this episode

"Inspiring Cinematic Uplifting Piano" — ZakharValaha, via Pixabay

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 16, 2021

Victorian carolers wouldn't go until they got some. But many Americans wouldn't know one if they saw one. The figgy pudding (or plum pudding or Christmas pudding) has been with us for many centuries, and in many forms. How did a Medieval savory soup become a fruity, boozy and exclusively Christmassy dessert?

Glen Warren from the Seasons Eatings podcast joins Brian in this episode. 

Mentioned in this episode

Seasons Eatings: 

The Village Carolers:

Music in this episode

The clip from A Christmas Carol came from a Librivox recording, narrated by Elizabeth Klett. 

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. 

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Dec 15, 2021

When this episode arrives, there will be only 10 days remaining until Christmas of 2021. It's a good point in the season to take a breather and snuggle up with a story from the world of classic Christmas fiction. Today, I'm reading The Christmas Fairy, an 1878  story by John Strange Winter. It’s a story for the whole family, about a schoolboy whose plans for Christmas take an unexpected turn.

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, 2021

Christmas and charity are as natural a pairing as you might imagine. But the long history of charity at Christmas time has a few things worth exploring. For example, who has historically done the charitable giving, and why. And how the Victorians generally, and Charles Dickens specifically, laid the foundation for the modern form of Christmas charity that we know today.

Thank you to Martin Johns, professor of history at Swansea University in Wales, and author of Christmas and the British: A Modern History, for appearing on this episode. 

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 11, 2021

In 1945, when songwriter Bob Wells first penned the line "chestnuts roasting on an open fire..." chestnuts were as much a part of the Christmas season as eggnog and gingerbread. And then, just a few years after Nat King Cole recorded his iconic version of that song...they weren't. What happened? It's one of the few examples from recent history of a Christmas tradition dying out — literally — in a single generation. Is it lost forever? Or are we poised for a roasty toasty Christmas comeback story? 

Thank you to Sarah Fitzsimmons, director of restoration with the American Chestnut Foundation, for appearing in this episode.

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 9, 2021

It's our first family gathering of the season...the kind dedicated to members of the Christmas Past family and their Christmas memories. Pour the hot chocolate and snuggle up by the tree! It's time for a trip down memory lane. 

Music in this episode

  • "Just Stay" — Aakash Gandhi, via Youtube Audio Library
  • "Frozen in Love" — Aakash Gandhi, via Youtube Audio Library
  • "Waterfall" — Aakash Gandhi, via Youtube Audio Library
  • "Arms of Heaven" — Aakash Gandhi, via Youtube Audio Library
  • "Falling Snow" — Aakash Gandhi, via Youtube Audio Library

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, 2021

In 1937, radio audiences were introduced to The Cinnamon Bear, a magical twenty-six-part Christmas miniseries. Twins Judy and Jimmy search through the enchanted world of Maybeland for their lost Christmas ornament with the help of a talking bear. 

The series delighted audiences for many seasons before falling out of the mainstream. But a new audience is discovering the program in the Internet age. 

Thank you to Jack French from the Metropolitan Washington Old Time Radio Club for appearing on this episode. 

For more info about The Cinnamon Bear

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 5, 2021

Today is an episode for the whole family! A Christmas story about two elves who decide to bring their special month-long celebration to humans. I'll narrate Festive of the Elves, a 2020 book, as told by Holly Figgyworth. After the reading, I speak with Angeli Elliott about the origins of the story, and how families can bring a little elfin magic to their own Christmas! 

Visit www.festivaloftheelves.com to find out more about the book, and to register for Elf Notes. And find Festival of the Elves on Instagram and Facebook

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 4, 2021

Christmas and sweaters naturally go together. But how did the idea of a festive holiday sweater become the multimillion dollar industry of recent decades? Is the gawdy, ironic, edgy humored Christmas sweater a passing fad, or are we at the start of something enduring? Today on Christmas Past: The "ugly" Christmas sweater!

Thank you to Evan Mendelsohn from Tipsy Elves for joining me. And thanks to my mom, making her third appearance here on Christmas Past!

Music in this episode

  • "Wish Background" — Kevin MacLeod, via Incompetech
  • "Holiday 2" — Dave Depper, via Needledrop
  • "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
  • "Crinoline Dreams" — Kevin MacLeod, via Incompetech
  • "Bellow's Hull" — Blue Dot Sessions, via Free Music Archive
  • "Gentle Marimbas" — Podington Bear, via Free Music Archive

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 2, 2021

All the different landscapes and climates and cultures in America make for a seemingly endless number of settings for celebrating our favorite holiday. And one kind of setting in particular has earned a special place in American Christmas culture and lore: the small town. That homey, local Christmas spirit is the topic of Small Town Christmas, the new series on UPtv. Series creator and host Megan Alexander joins Brian to discuss. Plus, Brian shares a small town Christmas memory of his own!

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 1, 2021

A Charlie Brown Christmas became one of the most successful Christmas television specials ever. But the odds were stacked against it in 1965. Written and produced under a crazy deadline, the network executives were sure it would flop like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. But of course, things turned out differently. 

This episode includes an interview with Benjamin Clark, curator of the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, CA.

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

Nov 29, 2021

What happens when a Christmas tree from a secret admirer comes between a young woman and her fiance in New York in 1902? That's the subject of the new Christmas audio drama from Sagacity Productions: "Christmas on Henry Street." This one-hour program, based on real events, will air on several NPR affiliate stations in December. Christmas Past is pleased to share it with you in this special full-length presentation. 

For more information about "Christmas on Henry Street"

https://www.sagacitytv.com/

Thank you to Bonnie Silva and everyone at Sagacity Productions for creating this program, and for sharing it with the Christmas Past family. 

Music in this Episode

"It Came Upon The Midnight Clear" — Don Maue, shared directly by the artist

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, 2021

The song now known as "Jingle Bells" is synonymous with Christmas, even though it never mentions Christmas by name. There's much more to the story of this beloved song than you ever could have imagined. Tracing its history will take us through Boston minstrel halls, "sleigh ride culture," and a feud between two American towns that each claim to be the song's birthplace. 

This episode features Kyna Hamill from Boston University and the Medford Historical Society. 

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

Nov 26, 2021

There's nothing like curling up with an old fashioned ghost story on a chilly evening during the Christmas season. This one's more ghostly than Christmassy, but it first appeared in a Christmas supplement to the Illustrated London Times. It's The Doll's Ghost, by F. Marion Crawford. And today, I'm reading it to you from the 2021 collection of Seth's Christmas Ghost Stories from from Biblioasis. 

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

Nov 25, 2021

Get ready for small town Christmases and hometown hunks! Today, we're looking at made-for-TV Christmas romances, and exploring how and why they've become the dominant form of Christmas entertainment in recent decades. Brandon Gray and Alonso Duralde, co-authors of I'll Be Home for Christmas Movies, help us make sense of it all.

Mentioned in this episode

I'll be Home for Christmas Movies: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

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

Nov 18, 2021

It's our last "preseason" get-together before Thanksgiving. And I'm ready to share a WICKED BIG Announcement with the Christmas Past family. Plus, I share some new Christmas podcast recommendations, and one of my own Christmas memories. 

Stay subscribed all season long for lots of Christmassy fun and surprises! 

Mentioned in this episode

Music in this episode

  • "Away in a Manger" — Don Maue
  • "Stille Nacht" — Don Maue

Both songs shared directly by the artist

More Christmas fun

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 4, 2021

Now that Halloween is behind us, it's officially Christmastime! Time for a mug of cocoa, some foofy jammies, and the Hallmark Channel. Today, Brandon Gray, co-host of Deck the Hallmark, recalls some of the best, worst, and most romantic ones reviewed in his new book, I'll Be Home For Christmas Movies. 

Get the book on Amazon

Music in this episode: "This is Christmas" — Scott Holmes, 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

Oct 31, 2021

Happy Halloween, everybody! Christmas and Halloween go together perfectly because they have something very special in common: a tradition of telling ghost stories. Today, I'm pleased to introduce you to an all new Christmas ghost story audio drama series, The Midnight Carols. Follow along as a group of Oxford students tell ghost stories on Christmas Eve to gain entry into the mysterious secret society, the Venerable Order of Saint Nicholas of Myra. 

The Midnight Carols is available on all major podcast platforms starting today. You can find more information on their Facebook page, and also on creator Vincent Robert-Nicoud's Website.

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

"A Little Powder" — Blue Dot Sessions, via Free Music Archive

Oct 25, 2021

Just in time for Halloween, it's another Christmas ghost story — sorta. This story does involve Christmas, and it does involve a ghost, but it's unlike anything you've ever heard before here on Christmas Past. 

This is a 2017 episode from my other — now-defunct — podcast, Illusion. I thought you might like it. 

Stay subscribed all season long, and stay connected! 

Send your Christmas memories to appear in an episode this season. Record yourself into your phone's voice memo app, and sent it to the email address above. 

Music in this episode

 

Oct 19, 2021

It's almost Halloween, so how about a ghost story? Well, this one won't exactly send a shiver down your spine, but maybe it'll get you into the spirit...or at least pass the time on a cool autumn evening. It's the 1893 story, the Wicked Editor's Christmas Dream. 

Music in this episode

"Angel's Dream" — Aakash Ghandi, via YouTube Audio Library

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