Christmas is brilliant. It really is good, you know. Glad tidings, warm fuzzy feelings, goodwill to all, an excuse to sit down for a good couple of weeks if you want to, a whole new on-the-go sandwich landscape to explore. It’s all good.
But however brilliant your Christmas is or isn’t, at some point you’ll be overcome with the urge to lie down in a dark room and stay very still for a while. That’s where your podcast Christmas specials come in.
Gathering around the fireside (or at least a nice bed of fireside FX) for an especially cosy chat is non-negotiable for most big pods now, but there’s a wealth of great Christmas-adjacent episodes out there too.
The Allusionist – Ep 41, Getting Toasty
Out on the frozen tundra of Antarctica, scientists Amy Lowitz, Christine Moran and Allison Barden can see the South Pole marker. Or they would, if there had been any daylight for the last four months. Shake off the plasticky excesses of the season with a meditative chat about exactly what working at the South Pole does to your body and your mind. Those elves should unionise. Listen now >>
Wireless Nights – Destiny’s Child, Christmas 2018
Jarvis Cocker’s Radio 4 show has returned for a new run recently, and this Yuletide edition is a good place to start with the back catalogue. We bump into people who slot into the Nativity story – a shepherdess, a stargazer, a baby born from a miraculous birth – as well as hearing a story about a Christmas spent adrift at sea. Listen now >>
The Boring Talks – An Underwhelming Christmas, 2018
After perhaps the most intensely underwhelming Christmas of all underwhelming Christmases in 2020, this one’s going to feel pretty sweet for a lot of us. But invariably, there’ll be a point at which you wonder what all the fuss is about. Rhodri Marsden comes over all Scrooge to compare the reality of Christmas with the reality of it in the UK, from white Christmases to grotty grottoes. Listen now >>
Christmas Past – The Eggnog Riot
In the spirit of keeping Christmas with us all year round, the Christmas Past podcast runs 12 months a year and mixes interviews with Christmas filmmakers, Christmas stories, new Christmas singles and bitesize history lessons. This is the latter; the backstory to ‘Jingle Bells’ is interesting enough, but a riot which broke out at West Point military academy in 1826 is too delicious. Listen now >>
Field Recordings – Singing Gate, Dorset
It ain’t Christmas until someone’s suggested a big walk. Whether you end up moving or not is irrelevant; the feeling that you should definitely go on a big walk has to be aired. If it feels like too much of an effort, try this short from Field Recordings, recorded on the winter solstice last year. No intro, no framing; just the sounds of Bronkham Hill ridge, dotted with ancient burial mounds and barrows. Atmospheric. Listen now >>
Off Menu – Ep 42, Christmas Special with Greg Davies
Off Menu wheels out the big stand-up guns for its Christmas specials, and over the last couple of years they’ve had Sarah Millican, Russell Howard, Joe Lycett and Nish Kumar on. The best, though, is the Taskmaster himself: Greg Davies. Invariably the best Off Menu menus are those of people who give the impression that eating is a terrible inconvenience, and Davies is no exception. No starter, no side, a steak cooked medium and a finale of Sussex pond pudding makes James Acaster’s brain fold in on itself. Listen now >>