Ira remembers the contentious family gatherings of holidays past - and how things have changed.
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Scaachi Koul is trying to learn a language native to her parents, and heads back to Calgary to ask why they never taught it to her in the first place. (21 minutes)
A fictional story written and read by Maile Meloy about a family that encounters two peculiar strangers in the snow on Christmas Day.
Ira talks about “The Twelve Days Of Christmas,” the one Christmas song he’s always hated. (7 minutes)
Some of the best improv actors in the country join us for a special Christmas themed performance recorded live at the Bellhouse in Brooklyn. Scott Adsit, Mike Birbiglia, Aidy Bryant, Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher, and Sasheer Zamata dream up a magical world on stage that’s only possible at Christmas.
Producer Stephanie Foo fell hard for a new holiday tradition this year – Turkey Fryer PSAs created by fire departments across the country.
Andre, 6, and his 4 year old brother Luc are experiencing Christmas for the very first time. They’re adopted and have recently moved to the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A 17-year-old Ethiopian girl who is just learning English goes with her teacher to face her fears head-on: She orders tea in a local coffee shop. A woman in America talks to Ira about her husband, in Syria, who is currently negotiating with kidnappers for the release of two of his employees.
Lisa Pollak goes to the Enchanted Snowfall at La Encantada Mall, where the snow is "98 percent magic; 2 percent soap." (4 minutes)
Ira talks to John Biewen about how remarkable it is that he could grow up in a town and never learn about the most significant event in its history. This show about Native Americans and settlers was first broadcast on Thanksgiving weekend 2012, on the 150th anniversary of the war.
Jeanne Darst was 16 when her parents split up. But it turned out they just weren't too skilled at the whole divorce thing.
Host Ira Glass plays clips of interviews with several people whose dads have tried reach out to them the best way they know how, which often means...awkwardly.
Ira Glass plays Christmas jokes told by third graders, collected by producer Jonathan Menjivar. It turns out there really aren't many holiday jokes (although see our blog post for more), but kids are happy to invent them.
Wyatt Cenac tells this story about spreading Christmas cheer in Texas. Wyatt is a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Two very, very short stories by Edith Zimmerman. Edith is the editor of TheHairpin.com.
Despite our nation's attempts to make Christmas all about toys and shopping, it is still a religious holiday. Mike Birbiglia tells this story about Catholicism and his mother. Mike is author of the memoir Sleepwalk With Me.
Comedy duo Gabe Liedman and Jenny Slate disagree about the awesomeness of Hanukkah... and about the nature of their relationship. Gabe contributes to videogum.com.
Stand-up comedian Julian McCullough tells this story about heading to someone else's home for the holidays. You can watch Julian's Comedy Central Presents special at his website, julianmccullough.com.
We end our program with an original song by comedian Dave Hill. Dave is backed up on guitar by Doug Gillard of the bands Guided by Voices and Nada Surf.
Thanksgiving 2002, the Ohm family's dinner conversation turned to the recent terrorist attacks. Alexis Ohm, the youngest daughter, made a comment that in retrospect she admits was probably the wrong thing to say with her conservative, military-veteran dad at the table...that Osama bin Laden was hot.
Yvonne has lived by herself for 12 years, ever since her last child moved out. She eats dinner by herself, takes care of the house on her own, and usually spends most holidays alone.
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.
A Christmas poem from David Rakoff, about holidays in The Big City. Rakoff's the author of, most recently, Half Empty.
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.