Ira remembers the contentious family gatherings of holidays past - and how things have changed.
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Ira talks about “The Twelve Days Of Christmas,” the one Christmas song he’s always hated. (7 minutes)
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.
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.
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.
It seems apples for the teacher is a bygone tradition. Host Ira Glass talks to Mindy, a first-grade teacher, about the rather racy gifts her students give these days at Christmas.
Host Ira Glass goes to a busy Target store one week before Christmas. Most shoppers he talks to don't think any of their gifts will be returned.
We hear the story of a disastrous birthday party and how it's hard not to see these kinds of moments as symbolic of something bad.
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.
When is a chicken your friend? When is he your dinner? This American Life's former webmeister Elizabeth Meister talks with Kamiko Overs, an 11-year-old girl at the annual poultry exhibition run by the American Poultry Association in Columbus, Ohio. Elizabeth Meister is a producer with Long Haul Productions.
Last year, a woman named Karen Davis started a national letter writing campaign to try to get This American Life to stop the very program we are broadcasting today—the annual Poultry Slam. In this portion of our show, she explains what it is that we just don't understand about poultry, and why the whole idea of this poultry show was wrong-headed from the start.
We ask 18-year-old Chana Wiliford and her father in Texas if they'd be willing to have a conversation on tape in which each of them gets to ask the other the questions they've never asked before. In the conversation, Chana is half his child, half his peer.
How David Sedaris became a Christmas writer — and how he started writing stories about the holiday that are so dark that sometimes it seems that he's trying to single handedly destroy Christmas. We hear from members of David's own family, and from David, all of whom insist that David loves Christmas.
A Hollywood TV producer tries to convince a church of evangelical Christians to sell out a member of their own congregation. Matt Malloy reads. He was one of the stars of the acclaimed independent film In the Company of Men.Also in this act: Dickens vs.
Julie throws up.
Host Ira Glass goes to one of the epicenters of modern Christmas — the world's biggest toy store — minutes before closing on Christmas Eve. (4 minutes)
Host Ira Glass explores a self-help cassette tape that promises to bring the listener peace about being single. The only problem is that it achieves this by having you envision your perfect romantic partner.
A Christmas radio play by David Sedaris and the Pinetree Gang.
A story about Christmas at Juvenile Court by Chicago novelist/editor Reginald Gibbons.