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Happy Holidays from Radiotopia!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: celebrate with our favorite holiday episodes.

Happy Holidays! We compiled our favorite Radiotopia holiday episodes to bring you some seasonal cheer. Get in the holiday spirit with stories about the Grinch, the stress of shopping for gifts, baking holiday treats and everything in between. Grab a toasty blanket, curl up by the fire and tune in.

Mortified, “The Naughty List”

You better watch out. You better not cry. Because this week we celebrate the holidays with tales of teenagers who would definitely end up on Santa’s Naughty List.

The Allusionist, “Dear Santa”

Jim Glaub and Dylan Parker didn’t think too much of it when, every year, a few letters were delivered to their New York apartment addressed to Santa. But then one year, 400 letters arrived. And they decided they had to answer them.

The Truth, “Murder at Cakery Bakery”

Be nice to workers while shopping this holiday season. In this story, after murdering an annoying customer in a moment of rage, Meg must finish her bakery shift and destroy the corpse while being haunted by the dead customer’s ghost.

The Kitchen Sisters Present, “The Keepers: Emily Dickinson’s Hidden Kitchen”

Deep in the hidden archives of Harvard’s Houghton Library are the butter stained recipes of Emily Dickinson. Who knew? Emily Dickinson was better known by most as a baker than a poet in her lifetime. In this story a beautiful line up of “Keepers” — dedicated archivists, librarians, historians, Thornton Wilder, Patti Smith, and more — lead us through the complex labyrinth of Emily Dickinson’s hidden kitchen. A world of black cake, gingerbread, slant rhyme, secret loves, family scandals, and poems composed on the backs of coconut cake recipes and chocolate wrappers.

Ear Hustle, “Ear Hustle Bonus: Songs from S1”

Since listeners responded so enthusiastically to the music in season one of Ear Hustle, the team highlighted a few of the songs, and musicians who performed them, in this bonus episode — just in time for last year’s holidays. Featuring a special holiday song by Antwan Williams, the show’s sound designer.

Mortified, “I Was a Teenage Grinch (& Other Tales of Holiday Cheer)”

Were you a Christmas Grinch or a hopeful Who? Two stories of kids at Christmas (and Hanukkah). Featuring a special appearance by Mara Wilson (of Miracle on 34th Street and Matilda).

The Allusionist, “How the Dickens Stole Christmas”

Charles Dickens wrote about the plight of the impoverished and destitute members of British society. So how come his name is a synonym for rosy-cheeked, full-stomached, fattened-goose, hearty merry “God bless us every one” Christmas? Avery Trufelman and Katie Mingle of 99% Invisible report from the streets of Victorian London at the annual Dickens Christmas Fair in Daly City, California.

The West Wing Weekly, “In Excelsis Deo”

Richard Schiff joins Josh and Hrishi to talk about “In Excelsis Deo,” the season one Christmas episode of The West Wing. His performance as Toby in this episode earned him his first Emmy win. (Also featuring hilarious stories about Schiff’s The West Wing audition.)

Criminal, “Call Your Mom”

It’s the holiday season! You should call your mother! But Criminal is here to remind us that there are plenty of things we don’t share with our mothers. Dark, sad things. Unless, of course, you’re both in the business of death.

Radio Diaries, “Busman’s Holiday”

The story of William Cimillo, a New York City bus driver who snapped one day in 1947, left his regular route in the Bronx, and drove his municipal bus down to Florida. Because everyone deserves a vacation, every now and then.

99% Invisible, “The Ice King”

In the mid-19th century, decades before home refrigeration became the norm, you could find ice clinking in glasses from India to the Caribbean, thanks to a global commodities industry that has since melted into obscurity: the frozen water trade.

The Memory Palace, “Relics”

The story of the ice trade at Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It makes an excellent companion to the 99% Invisible episode on this playlist.

Song Exploder, “Lin-Manuel Miranda — Almost Like Praying (feat. Artists for Puerto Rico)”

In the spirit of giving, hear the story behind Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Almost Like Praying,” the proceeds of which have been used to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria. He recruited an all-star cast of singers, rappers and actors to put vocals on the track — 22 artists in total. And all of it was done in just eight days.

The Truth, “Mall Santa”

A disenchanted mall Santa gets a surprise gift from SantaCon. After a drunken encounter in a bar and a train trip to Scarsdale, mall Santa remembers what he liked about his job in the first place.

The Allusionist, “Winterval”

There’s a word that has become shorthand for ‘the war on Christmas’ with a side of ‘political correctness gone mad’: Winterval. It began in November 1998. Newspapers furiously accused Birmingham City Council of renaming Christmas when it ran festive events under the name ‘Winterval’. The council’s then-head of events Mike Chubb explains the true meaning of Winterval.

Mortified, “Dear Santa, I Want a Headbanger”

In honor of the holiday season, Mortified presents the story of a sheltered middle-schooler who writes to Santa Claus and asks for a boyfriend. “Dear Santa …”

Criminal, “Just Mercy”

As a law student, Bryan Stevenson was sent to a maximum security prison to meet a man on death row. The two men talked for hours. It changed Stevenson’s life. He’s spent the last 30 years working to get people off of death row, but has also spent the final hours with men he could not save from execution. He argues that each of us is deserving of mercy.

Ear Hustle, “Looking Out”

The need to nurture and show love for another living being (or, in San Quentin parlance, “looking out”) is an essential human impulse. Away from your family and friends in prison this can be difficult, if not impossible.

The Allusionist, “Xmas Man”

The history of different names for Santa, and also how people used to send Christmas cards containing bacon or dead mice.

Mortified, “Merry Gift-mas”

Celebrate the holiday season with misadventures of adolescent gift giving. And don’t be like Ralphie, from A Christmas Story. Spend a little time appreciating the adorable pink bunny suit you’ve got, before it’s too late.

The West Wing Weekly, “Noël (with Bradley Whitford and Ellen Totleben)”

Dive into the season two Christmas special of The West Wing with Hrishi Hirway and Josh Malina. And for a truly wonderful rewrite of “Carol of the Bells,” check out the original description of this episode.

The Truth, “Mirror Lake”

A couple heads to a frozen lake in search of wintry childhood memories. They find a mis-memory and much more than they bargained for.

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