Christmas Past

Brian Earl

The fascinating backstories to the Christmas traditions you cherish.

  • 9 minutes 17 seconds
    Christmas 2023

    It's our eighth consecutive Christmas together. As we close out the 2023 season, we're taking a look back at the news and trends that made this Christmas what it was.

    Thank you all for another wonderful Christmas season together.

    Merry Christmas! And until we meet again, may your days be merry and bright.

    Music in this Episode

    "Deck the Halls A" โ€” Kevin MacLeod, via Incompetech

    25 December 2023, 8:01 am
  • 12 minutes 7 seconds
    Backstory โ€” Boxing Day

    Here in America, the day after Christmas is simply that: the dayย after.ย The party's over. But in England, it's an official holiday. December 26 โ€” Boxing Day โ€” is the Christmas afterparty you've been missing out on. What's the story? And what does it have to do with boxing? Paul Kerensa joins Christmas Past to...unpack the box.ย ย 

    Mentioned in this Episode

    Music in this Episode

    Section from A Christmas Carol read by Peter John Keeble, courtesy of Librivox

    22 December 2023, 8:01 am
  • 10 minutes 14 seconds
    Your Christmas Memories: 2023, vol 2

    Christmas Day is less than a week from now. In this final stretch of the 2023 season, let's have another gathering of the Christmas Past family. Yes, itโ€™s time once again for an episode dedicated just to you and your Christmas memories. Cozy up by the fire with us for a little Christmas reminiscing.ย 

    Music in this Episode

    20 December 2023, 8:01 am
  • 13 minutes 18 seconds
    Backstory โ€” A Meatless Christmas Eve Meal

    For many families, the Christmas Eve feast is a so-called "meatless meal." It's a tradition of European Christian roots that has gone on to take many forms.

    Mentioned in this episode

    Plating Grace

    Music in this Episode

    • "Italian Trip" โ€” wildsound159, via Pixabay
    • "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen," โ€” Don Maue, shared directly by the artist
    • "First Snow" โ€” Scott Buckley, via ScottBuckley.com.au
    • "Silent Night" โ€” DJ Williams, via Youtube Audio Library
    • "Mortality" โ€” Podington Bear, via Free Music Archive
    18 December 2023, 8:01 am
  • 7 minutes 27 seconds
    A Visit to Old Fezziwig's Christmas Eve Ball

    Old Fezziwig sure knew how to throw an office Christmas party. Dickens's description of Christmas Eve in Fezziwig's counting house included vigorous fiddling and elaborate dancing. That style of dance may belong to a bygone time, but it lives on in the annual Great Dickens Christmas Fair. In this special episode, Cathleen Myers joins Christmas Past to explain how Victorians danced their way to Christmas.

    Mentioned in this Episode

    Music in this Episode

    17 December 2023, 8:01 am
  • 14 minutes 52 seconds
    Backstory โ€” Christmas Postage Stamps

    In the late nineteenth century modern postal systems were still coming into their own. Around the turn of the century, many countries, including England, began issuing Christmas themed postage stamps. You might think that America would have been among them, but boy would you be wrong.ย 

    In fact, America was one of the last countries to get on board. American Christmas stamps are only a few decades old. And the story there has to do with simple economics and Americaโ€™s system of government.

    Mentioned in this Episode

    Christmas Philatelic Club

    Music in this Episode

    • "Christmas Jazz" โ€” Denys Kyshchuk, via Pixabay
    • "Running Waters" โ€” Audionautix, via Youtube Audio Library
    • "Noel" โ€” Audionautix, via Youtube Audio Library
    • "Acoustic Guitar 1" โ€” Audionautix, via Youtube Audio Library
    • "Dreamland" โ€” Aakash Gandhi, via Youtube Audio Library
    • "Wish Background" โ€” Kevin MacLeod, via Incompetech
    15 December 2023, 3:24 pm
  • 17 minutes 5 seconds
    The Brady Bunch: The Voice of Christmas (with Christopher Knight!)

    The Brady Bunch is an iconic American sitcom that ran for five seasons. But it produced only one Christmas episode during its original run. "The Voice of Christmas" from season 1 finds Carol with laryngitis days before she's scheduled to sing a solo for her church's Christmas service. The one and only Christopher Knight joins Brian to break this episode down.

    Mentioned in this Episode

    The Real Brady Bros

    Music in this Episode

    13 December 2023, 8:01 am
  • 12 minutes 27 seconds
    Backstory โ€” Shortbread

    For a bread thatโ€™s short, its history is long. Exactly how long, and the particulars of how it all came about, though, are unclear. But one this is clear: shortbread is an essential โ€” and delicious โ€” part of the festive season.ย 

    Mentioned in this Episode

    Music in this Episode

    11 December 2023, 8:01 am
  • 13 minutes 25 seconds
    Your Christmas Memories: 2023, vol 1

    One of my favorite parts of creating Christmas Past is sharing your Christmas memories. I love the warm connections Iโ€™ve had with so many of you over the years, and the glimpses you provide into your Christmases Past. So, today, Iโ€™m excited to take a break from the normal action and bring to you an episode dedicated just to you and your Christmas memories.

    Music in this Episode

    Piano Music No. 5 โ€” RelaxingTime, via Pixabay

    10 December 2023, 8:01 am
  • 12 minutes 49 seconds
    Backstory โ€” Wishbooks

    Colorful, glossy, enticing. For generations of children, the annual department store Christmas catalog was a field guide, a treasure map, and the fuel for hearts desires and letters to Santa. And then, one day, they were gone.ย ย 

    Mentioned in this Episode

    Wish Book Web

    Music in this Episode

    8 December 2023, 8:01 am
  • 11 minutes 56 seconds
    Backstory โ€” Stollen

    Stollen is a Christmas staple in German homes. This cake/bread hybrid is packed with flavor and shaped to resemble a swaddled baby. Food writer Luisa Weiss joins Christmas Past to explain stollen's special connection to German Christmas and German baking culture.

    Mentioned in this Episode

    Music in this Episode

    6 December 2023, 8:01 am
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