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Top Podcasts for the Holiday Season

There are always a lot of celebrations taking place at this time of the year. There’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Years, or perhaps your holiday celebrations are in honor of Chrismukkah or even Friendsmas! But no matter what you do or don’t celebrate during December, with all the snow, the twinkling lights, and the delicious holiday smells permeating the air, there is certainly a kind of magic to the holiday season. And we’ve got some perfect podcasts to add to that magical mix! Check out our list of some of our favorite podcasts perfect for the holidays. So if you’re looking for something else to listen to besides Michael Bublé, (he is great, don’t get us wrong!) these podcasts are just what you’re looking for!

1. Imagined Life

Imagined Life by Wondery is a gem of a podcast and absolutely perfect for holiday listening! In each episode, you hear the life story of one famous person or another, past or present, but you never know who it really is until the very end. Through some immersive writing and lovely narration, you’re whisked away to another time, where you experience what this person’s life was like. There are clues along the way as to who the subject is, but you’re often hearing a part of their story which you’ve never heard before, making the guessing all the more fun! It’s a clever concept for a podcast, and it is expertly executed. The writing is excellent, the narration is superb, and the storytelling is just so good! Hosts Virginia Madsen and Robbie Daymond do such outstanding jobs of drawing you into the story, and that, coupled with the clever writing, really makes this podcast an excellent example of the power of audio storytelling. Look out for episodes headed with Imagined Life Family, as these episodes are intended for family listening, which is perfect for the holidays!  

2. Little Stories Everywhere

We can’t feature Imagined Life without also including Little Stories Everywhere, another podcast from Wondery which is also hosted by the vocal dream team of Virginia Madsen and Robbie Daymond. This podcast is a testament to the fact that a good story can take kids anywhere! And so each week, they share some of the most magical, adventurous, fantastical tales that have stood the test of time. It’s a very new podcast, but it’s timing is perfect for the holiday season! And to prove it, the first two episodes feature A Merry Christmas,  as well as other treasured  tales by Louisa May Alcott. And there’s so much to look forward to well into the new year, with future books set to include Peter Pan, The Velveteen Rabbit, and Winnie-the-Pooh. This podcast is perfect for family night time listening, when you’re curled up in front of a fire with a warm cup of cocoa in your hands, as these children’s classics are beloved favorites of adults and children alike. Have this one ready for whenever you just need a little break from all the chaos of the Silly Season!

3. David Tennant Does a Podcast With…

David Tennant Does a Podcast With...brought us another stellar season in 2020! This podcast just keeps getting better and better! If you haven’t dived into this show yet, the holidays are the perfect time to do just that! David Tennant is a wonderful host. He’s affable, funny, and he really allows his guests the space to speak, never dominating the conversation, but guides it expertly from one topic to another, all the features of an excellent conversationalist! The conversation is casual and calm, but also interesting and entertaining, which lends itself so well to easy holiday listening. And the great lineup of guests on Season 2 is certainly impressive! I’m talking the legend, Dame Judi Dench, the hilarious Jim Parsons, Neil Gaiman, and even a long-awaited reunion with Billie Piper. There’s certainly something for everyone, but you’ll find yourself listening to every episode just to see what you’ll discover about the guest. 

4. The Sporkful

It wouldn’t be a blog post celebrating the Holidays if it didn’t include a podcast dedicated to delicious food in all shapes and forms! Which is exactly why The Sporkful is featured on this list! The Sporkful brands itself as a podcast for all eaters, and not necessarily just for foodies. It features discussions on all things food ‒ dishing up new ways to eat, debating the new fads, and exploring food and how it is influenced by and, in itself, influences culture, race, and even relationships and language. This is a delicious podcast and covers some fascinating topics, and you’ll always be inspired to don your favorite apron, get in the kitchen, and cook up a storm! What makes this a lovely podcast for the holidays, besides all the deliciousness, of course, is the insightful avenues the conversations take. The by-line of the podcast is, “We obsess about food to learn more about people” which is an excellent way to describe this show! Check out their holiday-themed episode, “The Fruitcake that Wouldn’t Die,” as well as their annual New Year’s Food Resolutions episodes. 

5. Phoebe Reads a Mystery

What could be more perfect for the holidays than curling up with a cozy blanket, some holiday-spiced beverage or another, and a good ol’ mystery? Having the mystery read to you by Phoebe Judge that’s what! Phoebe Judge’s voice is well-renowned throughout the podcasting world. Phoebe first became known to us through her work on Criminal, the staple for many true-crime fans, and since then her voice has gathered a devoted following of its own! It’s calming, intriguing, and has a cadence to it that keeps you hanging on every word. In Phoebe Reads a Mystery you get just what the name suggests. The soothing voice of Phoebe Judge simply reads a mystery. Be it from Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or from many other beloved mystery writers. Old-time mysteries are always entertaining, and mixed with Phoebe’s voice, this podcast keeps you engaged with the story, desperate to find out “whodunit!”, but you’re also super relaxed. Whether it becomes part of your nighttime routine, or you have it playing will you’re catching up on some holiday baking, Phoebe Reads a Mystery will be a firm favorite!

6. Welcome to Tinsel Town

This Holiday podcast is from 2018, but it’s still a favorite amongst many young listeners for this time of year. Welcome to Tinsel Town is a magical tale that tells the tale of Holly’s Christmas. After making a wish on the Christmas Star, Holly finds herself popping in and out of Tinsel Town, a magical place where it’s Christmas everyday. But as exciting as that sounds, things start to go downhill rather quickly when Holly gets stuck in Tinsel Town, and the curmudgeonly Conductor accuses Holly of ruining Christmas, and does everything in his power to try to ban her from celebrating ever again. Yikes! So with the help of some very Christmassy, yet unconventional friends (one is a giant candy cane, after all!) Holly must try to get back home in time for Christmas. This podcast is perfect for young listeners, and will make for a great bedtime story during the holidays. The audio production is excellent, the music fits the theme perfectly, and it captures the magic of those Holiday movies you loved as a child. We’re sure this will become a new family favorite for the holidays. 

7. But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids

Another show aimed at children but perfect for family listening this holiday season is But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids. This is a wonderful show for kids (and the young at heart!) led by kids. They ask the questions and the hosts seek to find the answers, which they deliver in an easy-to-understand way, but never condescending or watered down. It’s a big interesting world out there, and on But Why, they tackle all sorts of topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world, to satisfy, if only partly, the insatiable curiosity of curious minds. It’s a really fun, interactive way for kids to keep their minds active during the holiday season, and the topics could be the springboard for some hilarious and engaging conversations around the dinner table. Your kids can even send in their own questions which could then be featured on a future episode! 

8. The Allusionist

As a self-professed word nerd, The Allusionist was a wonderful find! Each episode features a wonderful adventure into the mysterious, dynamic, and often, downright confusing, world of language. This is a lovely podcast for the holidays. Whether it’s some holiday cleaning, baking, or you’re just looking for some stimulating entertainment on a wintery afternoon, host Helen Zaltzman has you covered! If you love learning about the history and use of words, how language evolves, and the power words really do have, you’ll really love The Allusionist. You’ll always learn something new, and your mind will be blown by just how much our language has changed and the incredible history bound up in a simple word. And there are even some special holiday episodes which dish up a whole merry collection of holiday-focused word deep dives. 

9. All Things Cozy

One of the best adjectives for this time of year is “cozy”. The twinkling lights, the fresh snowfall, fluffy pyjamas, and soft blankets, are all staples of the holiday season, and we’re here for it all! And so when we found a podcast titled All Things Cozy, we knew it had to be included on this list! Light a scented candle, curl up with mug of coffee, and get ready for a trip down Cozy Lane! The topics are fascinating, and always uplifting and comforting in some way. It’s a must-listen whenever you need to take some time out amidst the holiday happenings for a little “me time.” Hosts Matt and Gillian share cozy things in all shapes and forms, from books and movies, to songs, recipes, and, the opitamy of cozy, candles. There’s stacks of light, insightful conversation, and coupled with some top-notch banter, your spirits will be lifted, and you’ll feel merry and bright after each and every listen. 

10. Christmas Past

Our last podcast especially for the holiday season is the wonderful Christmas Past. This podcast delves into the fascinating backstories to the Christmas traditions we bring out once a year. Even if you don’t celebrate this particular holiday, it’s still fascinating to learn just how some of these age-old traditions came to be. Christmas Past brings you year-round Christmas history, forgotten Christmas fiction, roundtables, interviews, and most of all, bucket loads of Christmas cheer. If you’ve ever wondered about how candy canes came to be, what’s the deal with snow globes, or you’re curious about the origins of Saint Nicholas, this is the show to turn to. It’s full of nostalgia and fun, and will give you all the Christmassy warm, fuzzy feelings and some joy for good measure, which we can all do with a little more of, especially at the end of 2020. Host Brian Earl is warm and entertaining, and a fountain of knowledge when it comes to all things Christmas. Christmas Past is the podcast you need to give you a little peace in the present.

Closing Thoughts

The holidays are a wonderful time to spend time (safely!) with loved ones, catch up on all the things you didn’t get to throughout the year, get some much-needed rest and relaxation, and just focus on getting your ducks in a row for the start of a new year. And no matter which holidays, if any, you celebrate, these podcasts are just the thing to keep you company, help you relax, or will make for the perfect activity for family time for this time of year. And while this holiday season is certainly different than all those before, with the help of these podcasts, it can still be the most wonderful time of the year!

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