19 minutes | Nov 19, 2022
Christmas Past with Brian Earl
Christmas Past is a term that conjures up a lot of images in the mind. In those two words we are instantly reminded of things that are precious to us. The power of Christmas past is evident in nearly all that we do to celebrate the season. Our music is filled with the golden oldies of Christmas, our decorating yields to even ancient practices of yore, and our foods are traditionally festive and have been so since before we were born. We love to celebrate in ways that are old, to remember of how Christmas used to be, and to honor the things, places and people of the past. Christmas is, if anything, honored by time and cherished for what it has always been. Nobody knows that better than Brian Earl, host of the Christmas Past Podcast and author of a new book titled - what else? - Christmas Past. I've been wanting to talk with Brian for a long time. If anyone understands my interest and even slightly obsessive history with Christmas past, it's Brian Earl. As he says - he's not a historian, he is a storyteller. And there are a lot of stories to tell about Christmas of the past. In this far ranging episode of our own podcast Brian takes us on his Christmas journey. It is a journey that not only started in his childhood but also a journey that deliciously never ends. Some important links to consider: Christmas Past Podcast Book (on Amazon) - Christmas Past: The Fascinating Stories Behind Our Favorite Holiday's Traditions Book (on Barnes & Nobel) - Christmas Past: The Fascinating Stories Behind Our Favorite Holiday's Traditions Christmas Past and Brian Earl on Social Media: Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ChristmasPastPodcast Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/173778110150282 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christmaspastofficial/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/XmasPastPodcast
31 minutes | Dec 20, 2021
The Baby of Bethlehem is the topic of this very personal episode of the Merry Little Podcast. We sing of Him in song and celebrate the Nativity as a part of every Christmas - but why? Based on this sincere question from a listener we discuss the tender mercies of Christmas and the effect it has on the living and the dead. How does one without faith makes sense of it all? Our listener celebrates the season year round, enjoys great traditions of family and joy, and yet cannot connect the merriment to the manger. He wants to understand without the preachy demands of church. So we explore why The Baby is Christmas in simple, fundamental terms of truth. We find that in these hard times The Baby is more relevant and important than ever. What fascinates the most is that they knew He was coming. His birth was anticipated like no other and that theme of anticipation has carried over to our modern celebrations of Christmas thousands of years later. But how can we celebrate Him in the shadow of Santa, Christmas trees, snowmen and stockings? We find that it is okay, that each of the elements of Christmas we cherish, even those of a secular nature, can add to the light of Christmas. This episode features more new music from The Barefoot Movement with a great song titled I Just Wish It Would Snow. Please visit their YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBuoyYzXlguK3jkYjdiA7cQ for more great music. Also featured is another great Christmas song from Angie Killian and Shawna Edwards. Their work - performed by children - teaches the beauty of the story of The Baby and we're grateful for it. This episode also features recent work by Santa's Sleigh, a merry little outreach effort of the Merry Forums of MyMerryChristmas.com to give back each Christmas. This true story illustrates how the simple principle of anonymous giving elevates the many who focus on the one or the few.
32 minutes | Dec 9, 2021
Tabernacle Choir and Temple Square Christmas
The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square are featured in this merry episode about Christmas in our own backyard. We are local to Salt Lake City and enjoy a wide variety of Christmas culture. This includes the magnificent downtown venue of Temple Square, home to the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Temple Square is famously decorated for Christmas and features one of the largest Christmas light displays in the world. It also has stunning Nativity displays and art. The several buildings house crowds of all sizes to accommodate performances from local artists and groups. The most famous of these groups is the Tabernacle Choir, who has called Temple Square home since the 1860s. They first performed in the still-standing Tabernacle, for which the Choir is named. In their history of touring and regular concerts no other activity by the Choir is as well known as their annual Christmas concert, which is featured on PBS in a nationally aired broadcast every holiday season. The Christmas concerts by the Tabernacle Choir feature the Orchestra at Temple Square, a hand bell choir, dancers and actors from local companies. Nearly all local performers are volunteers. It is a Choir custom to invite renown guest artists to perform each year. Past performers include Broadway stars Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Angela Lansbury, Kelli O’Hara, Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes; R&B singer Gladys Knight; the late jazz singer Natalie Cole; pop singer David Archuleta; legendary newscasters Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw; historian David McCullough; the Muppets from “Sesame Street”; actors Jane Seymour, Hugh Bonneville, Richard Thomas, the late Ed Herrmann, John Rhys-Davies, Roma Downey, the late Peter Graves, Claire Bloom, Michael York and Martin Jarvis; opera stars Renée Fleming, Deborah Voigt, Frederica von Stade, Bryn Terfel, Nathan Gunn, Alfie Boe, Sissel, Rolando Villazón and four Metropolitan Opera soloists and the London-based a cappella group, The King’s Singers. Collectively, the featured guests have garnered 34 Grammy Awards, 19 Tony Awards, 14 Emmy Awards, 10 Golden Globe Awards, three BAFTA Awards, one Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Olivier Award. These concerts are a massive effort. In this merry episode we speak with Scott Barrick of the Tabernacle Choir about everything that goes into getting these concerts produced. This episode features a healthy dose of Tabernacle Choir music and information about a new two-hour holiday special airing on PBS before Christmas. But that's not all. In this episode we also hear from two other artists performing on Temple Square - Allie Gardner, who with Wade Farr performs a haunting version of O Come O Come Emmanuel. That song is the oldest Christmas carol on record and we tell its fascinating backstory. We also share the incredible version of The First Noel performed last Christmas by Bryson and Tierra Jones, a must-hear tear-jerking arrangement of the classic Christmas song by Jared Pierce. We invite you to see more images and videos of the Tabernacle Choir and Christmas on Temple Square on our website at MyMerryChristmas.com Notes: Tabernacle Choir DVD - 20 Years with the Tabernacle Choir CD - Christmas Best - #1 on Billboard Book - Keepsake Christmas Stories: Holiday Stories as Performed with the Tabernacle Choir
42 minutes | Nov 12, 2021
Christmas is Love: New Christmas Music of 2021
We are pleased to present our annual and traditional episode of new Christmas music. This is far and away our most popular episode every year and it has nothing to do with the host. These featured artists graciously offer up their music for review and allow us to include them in this special episode. Evidently you love it too. Last year’s episode has not only been listened to more than a quarter of a million times it is still going strong, drawing downloads in the thousands weekly. This episode is even better that one. With us approaching our 2nd pandemic Christmas these great Christmas creators are all conveying through their music exactly what it is that we feel, what we value in Christmas and how we want this Christmas to be. It is, at the end of the day, all about love. We did not plan for this theme (or any theme at all) for this episode it has just spontaneously happened. Please listen and enjoy, especially for those artists who took the time to talk with us to share some of the backstories of these great songs. We encourage you to visit these links below, to buy their songs and albums and to let them know through your own reviews how you feel about their music: How Christmas Was Meant to Be – Track Dogs featuring The Barefoot Movement Track Dogs Website: https://www.trackdogsmusic.com/ The Barefoot Movement Website: http://www.thebarefootmovementofficial.com/ Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/trackdogs/how-christmas-was-meant-to-be-the-barefoot-movement-track-dogs Bandcamp: https://trackdogs.bandcamp.com/track/how-christmas-was-meant-to-be Wonderful One – Monica Scott and Angie Killian Angie’s Website: http://angiekillian.com Monica’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/youtube.com/c/MonicaScottMusic Angie’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/youtube.com/angiekillianmusic Love is Christmas – Jesse Terry Website: https://www.jesseterrymusic.com That Old Red Sleigh – Rehya Stevens Website: https://rehyastevens.com Lonely Christmas – Wallis Wallis’ Website: https://iamwallis.com More Links: https://linktr.ee/I_am_Wallis Quarantine Christmas – Mike Mentz Website: https://mikementz.com Featured at: https://songwhip.com/various-artists/a-rock-by-the-sea-christmas-vol-12 Christmas Time – The Farleys Website: http://www.thefarleyssing.com/ Featured at: https://songwhip.com/various-artists/a-rock-by-the-sea-christmas-vol-12 The After Christmas Song – Bob Malone Website: https://www.bobmalone.com Featured at: https://songwhip.com/various-artists/a-rock-by-the-sea-christmas-vol-12 Official Bob Malone Store: https://bob-malone.myshopify.com/collections/releases/products/the-christmas-collection iTunes: https://music.apple.com/us/album/the-christmas-collection/1441853252 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5Q47lvDWlJBEcvInkj68kn?si=Osp9qC4DTfugVblvvcpAqQ Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Collection-Bob-Malone/dp/B07JZRC96X
25 minutes | Nov 9, 2021
Great Christmas Podcasts, Part 2 – Finding the Christmas in Christmas Podcasts
Great Christmas podcasts are made of one very simple ingredient: love. That is the conclusion of two very different podcasts we feature in this episode. One is two years old and has published dozens of episodes. The other is brand new, only weeks old. Yet the commonality in their creation and the motivation for bringing it all online is surprisingly the same. In fact, we have found this in nearly every other podcast we have featured and we claim the very same for our own. In this merry episode we talk with Rikki Meece of the Sleigh Bells and Mistletoe Christmas Podcast, a general Christmas podcast that dives deep into just about any Christmas subject. In a world of specialized Christmas podcasts Sleigh Bells and Mistletoe dares to cover it all. We discuss with Rikki how her background in radio influences the creation and production of SBMX and how she manages to cover even more of the broad topics of Christmas by expanding the podcast's presence on social media. We also talk with Mark and Doug of the brand new Eggnogs and Yulelogs podcast, which has only been online just the past few weeks. These creative guys have decided to cover the already-covered topic of Hallmark movies. But they do it with their own creative take - and, well, you just have to hear them explain it. They are fun, they are entertaining and they bring a lot of Christmas cheer.
29 minutes | Nov 1, 2021
Great Christmas Podcasts – Part 1
Christmas podcasts have exploded in number over the past couple of years. A decade ago there were just a handful of us podcasting Christmas. Now there are several hundred. How do you sort all that out? What are the truly great podcasts of Christmas? Sure, that is a subjective thing. But if you want a balanced look at the Best of Christmas Podcasts, we point you to a two-month project that surveyed listeners, Christmas publications, Christmas radio stations, Christmas communities, Christmas podcasters and podcast experts. But that effort selected just 10 podcasts out of the hundreds online to identify. This merry little episode focuses on some other vote getters. We spotlight just a few more podcasts we think you need to know about. First up is Totally Rad Christmas, a podcast that burst onto the scene last year with complete energy for the 1980s Christmas. While that's a podcast exploring the culture of Christmas from the 80s we dig deeper into a specific area of Christmas culture through the celebration of Christmas TV specials with Advent Calendar House podcast. And finally we wrap it up with a comfortable old friend, Sounds of Christmas, who launched a new podcast - the Sounds of Christmas Podcast - this past year. Listen to these great Christmas creators talk about their contributions to Christmas online and why you need to give them all a listen.
42 minutes | Oct 12, 2021
Christmas of the 20th Century – Part 3
Christmas of the 20th Century takes a very progressive turn in Part 3 of this series, this one covering the 1920s. It was a time of technological explosion and it touched nearly every part of Christmas. American homes were increasingly converted to electric service, making the use of washing machines, dishwashers, lights, and every imaginable appliance now a fact of modern living. There were many devices that affected Christmas: the radio, the phonograph and the light bulb. All of these had a huge impact on Christmas. In this episode we explore how Christmas changed with these innovations - and how Christmas played a part in bringing each to market. Music was the biggest benefactor in bringing the industry of sound recording together with radio broadcasting. For the first time, diverse types of Christmas music were heard all over the country. And the country rose up to embrace it. This episode features a wide variety of recorded music from this era known as the Roaring 20s. There were other innovations that impacted thing - even non-electric stuff such as cameras and telephones. These items and how they were marketed, especially at Christmas, would go on to influence Christmas for generations. Underlying all this innovation was a progressive time especially for women. This is another topic of exploration that, again, would influence Christmas more in the decades ahead. This is a fun and expansive episode. In fact, we could - and probably will - get another couple of episodes out of this glorious time in Christmas history.
38 minutes | Sep 24, 2021
Christmas of the 20th Century – Part 2
Christmas of the 20th Century continues with this new episode exploring the years from 1910 to 1919. It was an epic era of change fueled by World War I and a global pandemic. But what was it really like? Everything in the world was changing. During these years we went from horse-and-buggy to speedy automobiles. News was soon to be heard over the radio before it could be printed in newspapers. Houses were starting to become wired for electricity and life in the home was forever changed as technology made new appliances do the work that previously was nothing short of manual labor. Christmas changed too -- especially in movies and in music. The Victrola - a talking machine that recorded sound and played it back - became the must-have device of this decade. We tell the story of how recording and playback was done. It was advanced science for the times but primitive to us today. The fascinating story of the Columbia Record Company is told as it worked to bring recordings of large choral and orchestra groups to the mass market. This episode features lots of music from era and showcases just how far sound has come. Movers and shakers, especially as it related to Christmas, include Norman Rockwell, who is featured prominently in this episode. We also explore the history of World War I and how that global event was affected by Christmas during each year of the war. The decade closes with two major events: a global pandemic and the onset of Prohibition. These two changed everything about Christmas, with headlines that eerily mirror what we are experiencing today.
30 minutes | Aug 26, 2021
Christmas decorating could be a problem this year. Have you noticed how your local grocery store has no selection of bottled water? Believe it or not, the same thing causing a shortage of bottled water could affect Christmas decoration supply this year. It just another reality heading into our 2nd pandemic Christmas. This episode of the Merry Little Podcast talks about how Christmas decorating will be different this year because of all the weird going on in the world. We reached out to experts at Bronners.com, the world's largest Christmas store, to tell us what is going on and how everything to do with Christmas decorating will be affected. While decking the halls will be different they will be decked. It is a tradition of antiquity. To that end we explore the history of "Deck the Halls" and explain why it wasn't only just a holiday tradition back in the day but also why it is as much a party song as it is a carol. Of course, we find joy in sharing the decorating of Christmas as well with our 16th Annual Ornament Exchange at the Merry Forums of MyMerryChristmas.com. Pandemic or no, we're celebrating. To that end, we invite you as well to explore more about Bronners with this great episode from our friends at the Sleigh Bells and Mistletoe Christmas Podcast, who talk with CEO Wayne Bronner about the story of the world's biggest Christmas store.
24 minutes | Aug 4, 2021
Christmas of the 20th Century – Part 1
Christmas of the 20th Century is a new series of the Merry Little Podcast that focuses on a full century of change. How we celebrate Christmas evolved with the changes in technology and media as the 20th century progressed. In this episode we explore the emerging technologies of Christmas of the 20th century in Christmas decor through electrifying the Christmas tree. Christmas tree safety was long a top of debate but adding the safer and more festive elements of electric lights was no cheap feat. Recorded music likewise was in its infancy and few could afford what little music was offered. Movies were only beginning between 1900 and 1910 but Christmas was at the forefront of this new technology. The very first movies put on film were about Christmas, including a now-famous 1898 production that featured Santa Claus landing on the roof of a home and delivering presents to sleeping children. A hold-over from the previous century was the Christmas card. It only became more popular in the new century and it burdened post offices everywhere. Coast-to-coast media, even if it was only in print, went far to influence the fads of Christmas and few fads were as crazy as the toy teddy bears of the early 1900s, a tradition that has endured well into the 21st century. Marketed by importers of pin cushions, the teddy bear craze was driven by President Teddy Roosevelt, who famously refused to kill a bear that had been set up by the media.