About this podcast

Behind every Christmas tradition is a story, often a forgotten one. Every year as we put up a tree and pour the eggnog, we’re continuing generations-old narratives, while being mostly unaware of their starting chapters.

Join Brian Earl to explore the fascinating stories behind the most wonderful time of the year. It’s equal parts nerdy deep dive and warmhearted celebration. Think: NPR meets Clement Clarke Moore!
Visit the Christmas Past website

  • Christmas 2023
    by e_xander on December 25, 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 […]

  • Backstory — Boxing Day
    by e_xander on December 22, 2023

    Here in America, the day after Christmas is simply that: the day after. The party’s over. But in England, it’s an official holiday. December 26 — […]

  • Your Christmas Memories: 2023, vol 2
    by e_xander on December 20, 2023

    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, it’s […]

  • Backstory — A Meatless Christmas Eve Meal
    by e_xander on December 18, 2023

    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 […]

  • A Visit to Old Fezziwig’s Christmas Eve Ball
    by e_xander on December 17, 2023

    Old Fezziwig sure knew how to throw an office Christmas party. Dickens’s description of Christmas Eve in Fezziwig’s counting house included vigorous […]

  • Backstory — Christmas Postage Stamps
    by e_xander on December 15, 2023

    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 […]

  • The Brady Bunch: The Voice of Christmas (with Christopher Knight!)
    by e_xander on December 13, 2023

    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 […]

  • Backstory — Shortbread
    by e_xander on December 11, 2023

    For a bread that’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: […]

  • Your Christmas Memories: 2023, vol 1
    by e_xander on December 10, 2023

    One of my favorite parts of creating Christmas Past is sharing your Christmas memories. I love the warm connections I’ve had with so many of you over the […]

  • Backstory — Wishbooks
    by e_xander on December 8, 2023

    Colorful, glossy, enticing. For generations of children, the annual department store Christmas catalog was a field guide, a treasure map, and the fuel for […]

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