Christmastime is full of traditions: we put up the Christmas tree, play Christmas music, go to the pantomime, write ‘Happy Xmas’ on cards, and so much more. But how many of us stop and wonder where these time-honoured traditions originated from and how they became such an integral part of the Christmas we know?
Since 2016, a podcast by the name of Christmas Past has been offering an ongoing exploration of all of the conventions that make up this most wonderful time of the year. Narrated by Silicon Valley writer and podcaster Brian Earl, Christmas Past has investigated everything from the backstory of the poinsettias to mince pies, and snow globes to American Christmas music.
It’s also got Christmas-related interviews, such as the one with director and writer Dana Nachman, who released her Dear Santa documentary in 2020 on the centenary of US Postal Service’s ‘Operation Santa’ programme, as well as numerous Festive stories from different historical periods.
Although the focus is the USA, the podcast looks at the global evolution of Christmas traditions, heading to 16th-century Italy for the pantomime, Victorian England for the history of the figgy pudding, and Germany in 722 to see how monks and Norse gods played a role in the origin of the Christmas tree.
A wonderful journey through Christmases past, this podcast is equal parts educational and entertaining!
Christmas Past is available to listen to for free on both Spotify and Apple Music.