Christmas Past

The fascinating stories behind your favorite Christmas traditions

6 podcast episodes about Christmas history

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Here at Christmas Past, we love Christmas history and podcasts. That’s kind of our thing. So it shouldn’t be surprising that we love listening to podcast episodes about Christmas history. Whether it has to do with the origins of Christmassy words, a peak at the Christmases of yesteryear, or the stories behind Christmas customs, there are plenty of quality shows to make your podcast listening queue merry and bright, while satisfying your inner history buff. Like these:

The Endless Knot: 12 Days

Hosts Mark Sundaram and Aven McMaster discuss etymology, history, literature, and cocktails in. In this episode, they discuss the origins of words and phrases that appear in “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Did you know, for instance, that “partidge” translates roughly to “fart bird,” so named because of the sound its wings make? Discover that and more in this fun, fact-filled episode:

The Merry Little Podcast: Stuff We Don’t Do With Christmas Trees Anymore

Host Jeff Westover of gives an interesting history of the Christmas tree. Namely, traditions we used to practice, but no longer do. Maybe you’ve heard that people used to put lit candles on the tree. But did you know that it was once common to cut down a tree with firearms? You can check out the episode right here.

Backstory: Naughty & Nice

Ah, the warm, cozy glow of a homey family Christmas celebration. We’ve been doing it this way for hundreds of years. Right? Um…no. The celebrations of Christmas past bore more resemblance to Mardi Gras than what we have today. Backstory is a great podcast in general. But the American History Guys are in especially fine form whenever they discuss Christmas. Here’s a segment from their episode, “Naughty and Nice.”

The British History Podcast: The Twelve Days of Christmas

Ever wondered what Christmas was like in the Middle Ages in England? Of course you have! But you probably wouldn’t have liked it. People would restrict their diets during Advent. And the celebration was guided by a book called the Use of Sarum. Get all the details in this informative episode.

The Christmas Stocking: Toys for Christmas 1900–1950

Host Lee Cameron, the O.G. of Christmas podcasts, takes us back to the turn of the 20th century to learn about the popular toys of the day. Teddy bears and toy trains and Crayola crayons are just a few. Hear all of that and some great original Christmas music right here.

Christmas Past: Sugarplums

Hey, come on. You didn’t think I’d finish this article without mentioning the humble little podcast produced by yours truly, Brian Earl, did you? Sugarplums are inseparable from Christmas…except that they’re kinda not. We hear about them every year in “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and The Nutcracker, but few people have ever seen one, much less tasted one.

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