Host Ira Glass hauls out Ye Olde Book of Christmas Stories, only to realize that everyone's favorite stories are—gasp—missing. Sounding the alarm, he sets off to save Christmas, the only way he knows how.
This American Life receives an emergency transmission from a rooftop somewhere in New York City, where John Hodgman reports on the true-life origins of Christmas traditions. John Hodgman is the author of More Information Than You Require.
The great Christmas classics are all like fables. David Sedaris contributes his own, about barnyard animals who decide to play "Secret Santa." David is the author of many books, including a collection of Christmas stories, Holidays on Ice.
Jonathan Goldstein retells the classic Christmas story, trying to understand what exactly goes through the mind of a man about to become surrogate father to The Lord. Jonathan's the author of Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible!.
Ian Brown tries, after decades of failure, to give his mother the perfect Christmas gift. He and his brother attempt something they haven't done since they were kids: Rehearse and sing her a program of Christmas carols.
Caitlin Shetterly reports on a true-life holiday fable from rural Maine, complete with a misunderstood recluse with a heart of gold, a deserving family in need, and a very special Christmas tree farm with secrets of its own.
Trinity Church in Texas puts on something called Hell House every Halloween. It's like a haunted house, but each scene shows teenage church members acting out scenes of things the church considers sins.
David Rakoff discusses the world of birthdays and other holidays, as they're celebrated on the job... and what happens when you call yourself an editorial assistant but the editor you're assisting calls you a secretary. He read this story before a live audience at Town Hall in New York City, during a This American Life live show.
The story of several huge companies that accidentally got put into the babysitting business in a big, big way because of snow on December 26, 1988. Every year on the day after Christmas, divorced kids all over America fly from one parent to the other.
Host Ira Glass talks with Stephen Nissenbaum, author of a history called The Battle for Christmas, which explains when people started believing in a Santa who arrives Christmas Eve carrying presents. It was in 1822, and incredibly, the poem that created our modern idea of Santa is still around, known by heart by tens of millions.