This American Life: #482: Lights, Camera, Christmas!
December 22, 2014 7:05 AM - Subscribe

This holiday season we bring you a show filled with stories of people going to great lengths to throw a special Christmas for their families. Including tales of Luna the guinea pig (pictured), Bambi the reindeer, and Jeko the super-powerful (and somewhat-scary) Christmas elf.

Originally aired December 21, 2012.
posted by ocherdraco (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I feel so hard for the guy having trouble trusting people after his parents put on such an elaborate Christmas ruse for so long. That was physically painfully for me to listen to. I get that they thought it would be fun, and I can totally see what was going through their heads. But as soon as the dad started talking about how he was basically living through his kids I just got the creepy crawlies. And all the weirdness about not even admitting it now, when they're adults. Like YES this would give someone trouble discerning when to trust that people are serious and when they're joking. Because this was all done with so so much seriousness.

Overall, I both liked and hated this episode. Because seriously, what we need to make the holiday season better is a whole bunch of super depressing stories. On the other hand, it's nice not to have the forced cheerfulness of so many Christmas related things.
posted by stoneweaver at 7:21 AM on December 22, 2014


With all due respect to Ron Carlson, I prefer the Selected Shorts version of "The H Street Sledding Record" read by Keith Szarabajka. I downloaded it from a Tinsel Tales broadcast a few years ago so I'd have it when I felt like hearing it around the holidays.
posted by gladly at 7:45 AM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've never forgotten that nutty family Christmas deception since the first time I heard it.
posted by Miko at 6:22 PM on December 22, 2014


Just listened to this on the post-holiday seven hour car ride home (was supposed to be 3 hours but hey). The Mutchler's story was dark and good, but agreed: very tough to listen to. Especially as it dawns on you how much this is really about the dad, and getting the family to buy into his fantasy and never letting up at all costs.

The Bambi story was amazing on so many levels. Loved it when Ira gave her the opportunity to explain the happy ending version, and then pointed out that it'd mean she'd won, and then she countered with the Christmas spirit rationale. It was all so thorny and captivating.

The last bit was just beautiful and had me in tears. I wished it was true, but then realized that it'd mean that they'd been trying to sled through the streets and not get hit by cars for cheap thrills and omfg TERRIFYING. But yeah, still lovely.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:17 PM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


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