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Welcome to stuff you should know, a production of iheartRadio.


Sorry, ho. And welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh. There's Chuck. Jerry's here, too. All the little elves are around us, watching us adoringly, waiting for us to begin this 2023 holiday special episode of stuff you should know.




Hooray, Chuck, indeed. It's our Christmas episode.


Yeah, our ad free Christmas episode, right?




It better be.


For sure. We'll find out after we publish.


Oh, goodness. Boy. I mean, did we even order these? Should we just freewheel it?


Oh, gosh, we're getting to it already. Okay. I wanted to kind of meander for a little bit, but sure, we can meander.


What do you want to chat about?


I don't know. How's the family?


They're doing great. I don't want to say too much, but let me just say that it was a turning point for my daughter this year at Christmas. A very big revelation.


Oh, my.


That's all I'm going to say.




I always wondered when it was going to happen, and it happened.


Yeah. Is everything okay?


I'm fine. Actually, Emily was a little more upset than I was.




And I was just like, you know, I mean, well, I'll talk to you offline, but everyone knows what I'm talking about, right?


I think so. Hopefully just everyone. Yeah. Well, let's just stop this right now.


It's still going to be a great Christmas regardless. We all agreed on that.


Good. And this is going to be a great Christmas episode, despite that beginning.


Okay, let's start with. I'm going to go ahead and call. Well, let's just take turns. How about that?


Okay. You're going to call an audible each time. Wow.


I'm going to call an audible each time on my own picks.


Okay, well, you go first. How about that? Because, yes, everybody in classic stuff you should know, fashion, Chuck and I each picked a few Christmas pieces to talk about, and then we sent them to one another and did not discuss what order we should do them. And so we're going to do that as we go along. That's what Chuck's talking about right now.


That's right. And so the first thing I found, and another fun thing about the Christmas episode is that it allows us to get our sources, our sources become a little more relaxed, our rigor, like where we get stuff. Because sometimes for Christmas stuff, you just get stuff from some of the wackiest websites, and that's fine. This one actually wasn't wacky. This was USA. Today. That's legit, right?


Yeah, it's a little wacky.


This is from 2012 from Craig Wilson. What are you doing on Christmas Day? Depends on where you are. And this is just a little survey they did because I was always curious about different traditions and different parts of the United States and how people do stuff. And this is a good little poll they did eleven years ago.


Yes. Civic science did a poll. Well, they didn't do a poll. They apparently found a bunch of other polls that totaled 90,000 responses of Americans responding to questions roughly about what they're going to do around Christmas time. And they released it. They put it all together and said, hey, get this. It turns out depending on your region, each region has a lot of different things that they do or don't do around Christmas time. Let's rap about them. And Craig Wilson said, yes, let's.


That's right. So we're going to go over some of the highlights here. If you're in the Midwest, oh, I don't know, let's say Michigan or Ohio or. What else is in the Midwest?


Chicago, Iowa, Kansas.


Is that Midwest?


Yeah. Kansas is in the middle of the country. It's Midwest for sure. All right.


We'll see what our Kansas friends have to say about that. If you live in the Midwest, though, then you are 35%. You're more likely to work between Christmas Day and New Year's Day than any other part of the country. 35% of midwesterners say they work that time between the 25th and the 31st, which is terrible.


So sad.


Very sad.


They also are the least likely to have a work Christmas party, too. Yeah. I don't know what's going on up there, but when they do go to a party, they go to the big ones. Almost half of midwesterners who responded said that they're going to go to a Christmas party that has ten or more people.


Not bad. And as far as gifts on Christmas Eve, we always waited till Christmas day. But Emily, when she was a kid, opened some on Christmas Eve. And it may be a Midwest thing because they're 25% more likely than the national average to open at least some of the gifts on Christmas Eve.


We did not. When I was a kid, that was verbose.




Yeah, for sure. That's where I grew up. That's where the Christmas gifts were open, was in Ohio. And we did not do that on Christmas Eve.


What about the northeast?


The northeast, including Wyoming and Maine, they apparently party all the time. 39% of people eat Christmas dinner at a friend or family member's house. They're 30% more likely than anyone else or any other region in the country to go to a Christmas Eve party. 40% more holiday parties than people from the south or the west. So they like to tie one on.


Yeah, they like to tie one on. And they also get their shopping done early, or at least some of them do. 34% said they have finished their gift buying, or at least most of it, ten days by the 15th, I guess, of December, which is pretty good.


Yeah. And then here in the south, people in the south are most likely to host a Christmas dinner themselves, but it's usually for fewer than ten people. And they like to take car trips if they're going more than 100 miles away for Christmas. But also, people in the south, and I can attest to this, don't work during Christmas. And new year, like, everything's basically shut down.


Yeah. 29%, I think, work, and I guess they just sort of have to, although it's probably the same for the midwesterners. I don't know if they're volunteering to work.


I don't know. Midwesterners are odd folk.


Christmas parties are big, though. 64% of southerners will go to an office party, which means something, chuck, that.


Means you are not at work, but you go to work for the party. That's what happens in the south.


That's what we always did.


Yeah, I know. Apparently it's a southern thing.


Well, actually, that's not true, because they don't work between Christmas and New Year's. You're going to have your office party before Christmas.


Oh, yeah, that's right. I just outed us as not working long before Christmas.


Everyone knows we like to brag about our month off. It's great. But 29%, they're a little lazier with the gift buying. Only 29% had completed their shopping ten days before the holiday.


And what about westerners?


Well, out west, you're going to get people that are maybe a little more transient. They're more than twice as likely to travel more than 100 miles, and they also are more likely to twice as likely to get Christmas dinner at a restaurant or a club or something instead of at someone's house.


Yes. And I think 38% of them go to see a movie in theaters. So when you hear about people going to see movie on Christmas day, they're talking about California.


All right, where are we headed next, my friend?


Oh, geez, it's my turn again. Or already, I guess. Let's talk about Darlene. Love, Chuck.




But first, let's do a little interstitial Christmas music. I love that part. Okay. Thanks for that, Chuck, by the way. But we're talking about Darlene Love, who was part of the wall of sound, was one of Phil Spector's fines and someone Phil Spector took advantage of, too. But she's most well known for her Christmas song, christmas in parentheses, baby, please come home. You know the song, right?


It's a great, great song. She might also, if you see her face and you did not know that she sang that song. As we'll get to. I don't want to spoil on where she did this every year, but you're like, I know that woman. You might know her as Murtaugh's wife from the lethal weapon movies.


Oh, really?


Yeah. She was Danny Glover's wife.


Oh, okay.




That's a nice link. Another place you might have noticed her is on Letterman because every year from 1986 to 2014, when letterman retired, Darlene Love came out and sang her Christmas, baby, please come home Christmas song on the last show, last episode of Letterman before Christmas. Every year.


Yeah. Pretty amazing tradition. And Dave isn't one that had like three decade traditions like this. Apparently was also a little grumpy just about holiday music, period. Paul Schaefer said that he wouldn't let us play monster mash around Halloween. He just wasn't given to holiday novelty songs.




So the fact that darn Leeden loves song is something that he wanted back every year. And Paul says it was his idea to begin with, but Dave's idea to bring her back, it really means that Dave loved her and loved that song.


Yeah, we got this from our friends at far out mag, and they mentioned that the thing that kept this fresh every year, I mean, she belted out, and it's a really great song to begin with. So she gave it her best every year. But something that kind of kept it fresh over those basically 30 years, 28 years, was that the CBS orchestra saxophoneist Bruce Kapler, who was in Paul Schaefer's band, when that saxophone solo kicks off, he would come on stage in all sorts of different hilarious ways that just tore the roof off the studio.


Yeah, it was always fun. I always love kind of waiting to see how he was going to make his entrance every year. Right. I mean, it started out fairly low key, and then it kind of grew into something with that huge, I don't know if that's an actual bass saxophone or just a baritone, but it's one of those gigantic saxophones, and he would come flying in on wire or be in a snow globe and stuff like that. And it was always just a lot of fun. The whole segment is always great.


He came out of a present once. A giant present came in on a sleigh, stepped out of a fireplace. It was really great. Everybody loved it. Apparently this happened every year except for the writer strike in 2007. And then when Letterman retired in 2014, Darlene Love took this tradition over to the view, of all places. I'm not sure why. Couldn't find why. But now you can find her singing this song on the view right around Christmas time every year.


I'm sure it's because the view called her up. Probably said, we'll pay you money for sure.


Yeah, we really like this song. There's a bunch of super cuts, too on YouTube if you want to see it, that just do a really good job of editing together her letterman performances over the years. It's fun, especially to see Bruce Kapler coming in all the different ways.


Yeah, those are great. The writer strike year is a little bit of a bummer because I think it was just like three days after Christmas. That year is when Dave struck his own independent deal with the union to bring the show. It was. He was three days late, basically from being able to not have that streak interrupted, unfortunately.


Yeah. And she's like, I could do a belated version. He's like, no, not this year.


All right, cue the music. Magical elves so happy. All righty. You know what? Let's go with the worst Christmas songs.


Oh, boy. I'm pretty excited about this. I don't know if you out there in holiday podcast land can hear us shuffling our papers, but that's what we're doing right now.


Rare a paper shuffle.


So you found a bunch of different worst Christmas songs. Apparently it's a pretty fun poll for people to conduct because people love to tell people what Christmas song they hate the most at that moment.


Yeah, I mean, we could have included 100 polls because there are that many or more, but we just kind of picked through. I kind of went by year of recent years. There was one in 2021 from the Today show. I think it was ugov America who did this poll and people responded. And this shocks me that Santa baby was, I think, their least favorite or most hated Christmas song.


It shocks you? I'm in total agreement.


I don't mind it. I don't love it, but I don't hate it. I wouldn't rank that as my most hated.


That's the thing. I think the Christmas song you hate the most is the one you heard one too many times this year, the most recently. That's the worst Christmas song of all time to everybody. Right. But I think the problem with that song that people have, if I'm projecting, it's a sultry song about Santa. It's just OD. It goes against everything we know about Santa Claus. And I don't like it. It's not a good song.


It's not.


I don't know.


I guess I'm with you. I just don't know if that would be my most hated. We went to because we had to get a poll out of West Michigan and there's something called local spins in Grand Rapids and they did a survey in 2020. And this time this one really upsets me because I know you don't like it, but I love it.


I like it.


Paul McCartney. Oh, I thought you didn't like it. Paul McCartney's 79 wonderful Christmas time.


If I said I didn't like it before, that means that that was the one I had heard one too many times, most recently because I do like that song in general.


Okay. Not the best song, but I do think it's pretty good. But there is a b side to that called Rudolph. The Red Nose reggae.




Did you listen to that?


I did. I didn't realize it was instrumental. I was grateful for that.


I was too. And it's not even that reggae.


No. It's got like the Dexie's midnight runner violin kind of playing through it instead of the lyrics. That's kind of. What does the, what would you call it? The harmony.


This is the melody.


The melody. Okay. But, yeah, it wasn't that bad. But I could see people hating wonderful Christmas time more.


What about the UK?


Wait, one more thing about Grand Rapids, Michigan. My family used to go around Christmas time to Grand Rapids, Michigan because they had a dinner theater there and they had a buffet with frog's legs. And that's where I was introduced to frog's legs, which I wouldn't eat in a million years now but used to love them around Christmas time every year from this dinner theaters buffet.


Tastes like chicken.


It tasted a lot like chicken. Froggy chicken.


Yeah. Gross.


What's next?


We go to the UK, my friend. Far out magazine. Boy, is that the second time we've used them.


Yeah. Thanks a lot. Far out.


So they don't like Mariah Carey apparently, because her terrific, in my opinion, song all I want for Christmas is you was voted as the most annoying.


That's the UK. That's not far out's opinion, right? Yeah.


That's the UK as a whole.


Yeah. And far out points out that you still have to give Mariah Carey props because apparently that song was written very quickly. She was, like, 22 at the time. And you can make a really good case that that is the most recent genuine, bona fide Christmas song that's entered into the canon. I can't think of. Yeah, I can't think of one that's made it more recently than that. And this was like the mid ninety s. That was like 30 years ago, I think. But, yeah, I don't get that one either. I mean, it's not my favorite song, but it's not terrible. And I think the fact that it's in love actually, too, makes it even more delightful.


I still haven't seen that. I mean, I'm no huge Mariah Carey fan, but I love that song. I think it's terrific.


Okay, good.


What's next?


We're going to go over to And this is a 2022 poll. I didn't see where the poll was, but the clear winner, I mean, 53%. That's really saying something like, usually your most hated Christmas song is hitting in, like, the 30%. 53% of people polled said that they hated Justin Bieber's mistletoe song. Have you heard that one?


Well, I have now. I had to listen to it for this.


Yeah, me too.


And I think we should read a portion of the lyrics. Can we?


I mean, we kind of have to, I think.


All right, here's the selection. This is called mistletoe by Justin Bieber. Everyone's gathering around the fire chestnuts roasting like a hot July I should be chilling with my folks. I know, but I'm a bee under the mistletoe word on the street santa's coming tonight reindeers flying through the sky so high I should be making a list. I know, but I'ma be under the mistletoe with you, shody with you, with you, shoddy with you.


Is you not gonna do the rest?


I can go.


Okay. I think you know the rest, so. Yeah. And the whole thing is set to this super lame Jack Johnson acoustic guitar beat. It's a really bad song. It's a bad song. Even as far as Christmas songs go. It's just a genuinely bad song. And I think Christopher Dunford from old street solutions points out, like, yeah, people like to hate on Justin Bieber, but that this song is, like, objectively a bad song. So it definitely does deserve that 53% of votes, I think anyone who's heard it would agree with that.


And this last bit we're going to include is not a poll, but Rolling Stone magazine put out their very snotty top 20 worst Christmas songs list.




And I just wanted to read a couple of selections from this because Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone really just brought the smarm to a new level when he was dissing Jessica and Ashley Simpson's little, the little drummer boy version.


He definitely did.


Here's a couple of lines from his review. You've heard of the war on Christmas? Well, this song is the sinking of the Lusitania. Not bad.




Each Parumpa pump is another drop in their musical waterboarding. And finally, he closes the review with Christmas. You chose violence. Did you listen to this one?


I did. It's not bad, but it's also not good at all.


I mean, it's a straight ahead version of that song, which Rob Sheffield makes an argument that that song is just not good. Sure, I don't hate that song, but there is something about their Parumpa pompoms that are just grating. I don't know what it is.


It's not just that. It's also the way they go. Little baby. Yeah, it's pretty bad, too. If you're not listening to the song, it would come and go without you paying attention or noticing. But if you focus in on that song and the singing they're doing, it is not a great song at all. For sure.


Yeah, there's some enunciation problems, I think.


Yeah, I think it's surprising that he chose that as the number one out of all the songs. I mean, again, we're talking Justin Bieber put mistletoe out there and this is not worse than mistletoe. But, yeah, it's not good. What's your favorite? Going the other direction? What's your favorite of all time? Or right now, I should say.


I haven't got a ton. I mean, we talked about this over the years here and there. And I think I mentioned Tom Petty's song. I love. I really love Elton John's step into Christmas. I love the wham song.


Oh, it's a great one.


I like, a lot of the waitresses love that song. There's a bunch of them. I like Christmas music a lot. Emily loves it and tries to start playing it the day after Thanksgiving, but I try and make her wait till December 1 at least. And then I have a hard house rule that it stops at midnight on December 25.


I'm sure I've asked you this before, but do you guys listen to instrumental Christmas music at all?


Yeah, I like it all. I mean, piano classics. I found a good r B soul playlist. That's great. I like it all. What about you?


Okay, well, I found something recently. I think I found it on Metafilter. Somebody posted 8 hours of vintage department store Christmas music by Musax competitor custom music tapes. And it is exactly what you. It's really, really good background Christmas music. It's good stuff.


Yeah, I'll check that out. Sinatra. I love that one. I like all that stuff.


I think my favorite vocal Christmas music would be Johnny Mathis, probably far and away. And then my favorite instrumental Christmas music. I'm sure I've said this on every single Christmas episode we've ever done is Feronte and Tiger. And they're dueling pianos. Although it's not really dueling, I would say. What's the opposite of dueling? Holding hands. Yeah, they're holding hands. Pianos.


Yeah. I think you should say that every year because people drop in and listen and they should always get their shout out.


Yeah. Ferrante and Tiger definitely deserve their shout out every year. Thanks for that, Chuck.


All right, let's hop in that sled and get going.


Okay, Chuck, I am up and I'm going to go with. Gosh, is it only my second pick so far?


I think so.


Let's have a nice little interlude in case everybody wants to start getting buzed at this point.




Because we like to do a cocktail of some sort of Christmas drink every year. And we blew through all of the famous ones pretty quickly. So we've had to really kind of start looking around. And this year we found what I think is a pretty good one that I'd never heard before. And I think it's worth sharing. It's from our friends at Olive magazine and they call it a Christmas Negroni.


And it sounds pretty boss, I'm all in on this. This sounds really good.


Well, tell them about the spiced gin.


Well, I mean, that's the key to this thing, I think, because otherwise you have a fairly traditional Negroni, but you have to spice that gin. My good friend Eddie, he hasn't done it with gin yet, but every year he makes his own little infused holiday boozes. And it's a really nice treat. And he brings them around and gives bottles out to people. But I'm going to request gin from Eddie this year because this sounds great.


Yeah. So for the Christmas Degroni from Olive magazine, their spice gin is 500 gin. That's right. Between a half pint and a pint. So I guess three quarters of a. No, it's half of a liter, now that I think about it.


Well, it depends on how many of these drinks you want. You can get any kind of bottle of gin you want, for sure.


So let's just say you take half a liter of gin and you put two cinnamon sticks, two star anis, four cloves, four cardamom pods, crushed. That's very important. Two bay leaves, fresh if you got them, and two strips of orange peel. And if you've got some cheesecloth, you might want to put everything in there. It'll probably make the whole thing a lot easier. But if not, don't sweat it. You can put it all in that gin in a big old mason jar, half liter mason jar, and leave it for about two days, maybe less than two days, one to two. And then you strain it out. And what you have there is your spiced gin. And like you said, that's kind of like the main ingredient of this Christmas Negroni.


Yeah. I mean, from there you go, fairly traditional Negroni with the Campari and the sweet vermouth. But instead of, you can do your little orange twist, which I believe is a traditional Negroni garnish.




But since you've spiced it up, you can also add another cinnamon stick or another little. Is it star anis or anise? I never know how to say that.


I think both are fine.


All right, put both in there, and that'll just add even a little more pop there at the end, for sure.


I mean, nothing says it's the holidays better than handing somebody a cocktail with a cinnamon stick sticking out of it. That really drives the point home. Right?


Yeah, I love it.


And also, Negronis are super easy to make. You just pour equal parts of the gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, usually about three quarters of an ounce or 25. Just pour that over ice in the glass, stir it up a little bit, and you've got a Negroni. And if you've ever had a Negroni and you've been like, this is a bit boozy for me, I found also an alternative Negroni, I think, also from Olive magazine, that they suggest just take out the gin and put in Prosecco instead, and you've got yourself a much lighter Negroni that also would do really well with a nice cinnamon stick sticking out of it.


Yeah, I've had quite a few cocktails over the past year that have prosecco or a white wine as the boozy ingredient to what would ordinarily be just a cocktail. And it's interesting. I like it.


Yeah, same here. Also, I think I said on our Amaro episode that I was going to try capaletti, which was supposedly like a better version of Campari. Well, I did. And I'm here to tell you, just use Campari. It's so much better. So much better.


I went into, there's a amazing spirit store here in Atlanta, and I went in and asked for which one it is the elemental spirits company. And it is right across from buddies and videodrome there at North Avenue. You know where that is?


Yeah, sure.


Next to Emmanuel's tavern.




And it's great. They're very highly curated. Really good stuff like that you don't find in regular liquor stores. But I went in and asked for an amaro. I said, give me a couple. I said, give me one really accessible one, and give me the bitterest thing that you have. And I can't remember the name of it. I'll have to post about it later. But this stuff is almost like malort. It's so medicinal and bitter, like you say.


Why? After each sip?


I mean, I like it, but I've leapt into the bitter zone and this one's testing my limits.


Okay, well, if we're shouting out incredibly well curated liquor stores in Atlanta, I definitely want to shout out, h f bottle shop over by Peachtree battle. It's so good.


Know I'll have to check that one out, too.


That's also the kind of place you could just walk into and say, I want to try something like this, and they'll give it to you.


Yeah, I love stores like that, where you just sort of trust in their expertise. Yeah, it's the best. I also want to shout out if you are big on cocktail syrups and stuff like that to spice up a drink.




I bought one the other day that I'd never heard of. It was a sweet potato syrup, and it is so good with whiskey.


That sounds good. Just to drink on its own.


It's great. It doesn't taste like, oh, like I'm drinking a sweet potato. It makes it know, because there's other just. It's like a nice holiday whiskey cocktail, basically. It's just really yummy.


Where'd you find that?


This was at Decatur package on Claremont.


So, like, you can find it probably.


Mean, you know, people are local. I think it's a local one. So I wish I had the bottle in front of, you know, locally, there's probably all kinds of people in your urban center that are making their own shrubs and bitters and syrups.


Well, I got to find that one because it sounds pretty delicious.


Maybe I'll send you some.


I'd love that, Chuck. I love free presents from you, especially around Christmas time.


All right, great drink.


Great drink. Agreed. Thanks to our friends at Olive magazine. And here we go, hopping along, back in the sleigh, out in the snow, putting on our white faux fur fringed frocks, and going on to the next section.


I guess what go with how to make your Christmas tree last longer.


That was a good one.


This is a personal one because I have had bad luck the past couple of years with our trees dying way too early.


Oh, no.


And I think it's because I was sort of stuck on using the Christmas tree stand I grew up with, which, compared to today's stands, had not much room for the tree trunk itself and certainly didn't hold that much water. So my mom got me one of those gigantic things that holds gallons of water. And I think it was the right choice because it's doing much, much better this year.


Well, that's definitely one of the keys that better homes and gardens recommends is getting a stand that fits.


Yeah. Those old school ones that hold like three cups of water. No good.


No, because your tree is still alive even though you've cut it down. So it drinks up the water. And in addition to having a tree that holds a bunch of water and that fits the trunk, you want to keep that water level basically high every day. You want to check it basically every day because the trunk needs to be pretty much submerged in water to keep that tree going for the month of December.


Yeah. And I always heard pour some sprite or some sugar in there, and I never was sure if that was true. But there are tree people who say if you put, like a half a cup of granulated sugar to about five gallons of water and a half a cup of vinegar, then that's going to nourish that tree. It's going to preserve the SAP, and that vinegar is going to be a ph stabilizer that's going to ward off bacteria and rot.


Yeah, because that's the thing. You got a reservoir of water in your living room and your living room has its heater on. That can be a bad combination. I've also seen you can throw some pennies in there, too, to help adjust the ph as well and keep bacteria from growing. But you want some pennies. You want to mix this all up. Five gallons of water just so happens that those orange Home depot buckets are five gallons. You go out in your garage, put five gallons of water in there, half a cup of vinegar, half a cup of sugar, mix it all up and you use that to top off your Christmas tree stand water every day.


I love it. If you got a kid, assign them that task because they are much more apt to be able to crawl under that tree. And it's special and fun and they think they are helping. They think they're helping and they are helping.


They definitely are helping. What else, man? A lot of people also have ill fitting Christmas tree stands that are too small and they carve off some of the trunk. They shave off some of the sides to make it fit. Jam it in there. Right.


No good.




Apparently you need the sides of the trunk. That helps it stay alive. You do want to cut, there is something to trimming some just off the bottom of the trunk. They'll usually do that for you where you buy your Christmas tree. If they say, I love this article from better homes and garden says shave off 2 cm, that's like barely the width of a chainsaw blade.


It's three quarters of an inch. I looked it up.


Okay, well, I guess that's bigger than I thought.


Yeah, no, I know we're not super metric here, everybody in the United States.


But you do want to cut a little bit off the trunk. Not too much, but that SAP starts forming. It's like a scab almost, right. Within hours of cutting the tree down, it tries to form a scab and that's going to seal it up on the bottom. So that's why they trim it up for you at the Christmas tree place, because it's going to be much easier to suck water up.


Yes. Also, this is a great excuse for you to buy a bow saw too, and take that home. And then you can cut the little 2 cm off the bottom of the trunk yourself so it'll be as fresh as possible. So the key is to trim some off the bottom, but not off the sides of the bottom of the trunk because that bark is really good at sucking up water. And you want to make sure this thing can take as much water as possible so that it stays fresh as long as possible.


Yeah. And also be discerning when you go to pick out that tree to begin with. Don't just fall for what looks the prettiest. You got to feel those branches a little bit. If it's getting crispy at all in the lot, then you're in big trouble already. So run your hand along it, give a little hug, give a little feel, give a little tug, and make sure everything smells really fresh, make sure that bark is very smooth, and make sure that the branches themselves feel not breakable but pliable at that point.


Exactly. So also, when you get at home, drying out the tree is not good. You don't want to accelerate drying it out. It's already getting dried enough being indoors out of any humidity that might be around and then near heat sources. So you want to not only just keep it topped up with water, you want to keep it away from heat as much as possible. And apparently even going with led lights will have a substantial effect on keeping the tree from drying out because they put out so much less heat than traditional incandescent lights do.


Yeah, good idea. And most of them these days are led, I think.


And then, yeah, they're definitely easy to come by, at least. And then chuck afterward, after the holidays have gone, after the last ornaments put up and the last piece of tinsel that you're going to bother taking off has been taken off, even though there's a few strands left. What are you going to do with that tree to help your local wildlife?


Well, your township or your county probably has a recycling situation going on. That is certainly a great way to dispose of your tree. But if you live in a wooded area, you can just lean that thing up against another tree in the woods, and that can become a little shelter or a home for wildlife for sure.


You don't even have to live in a wooded area. You can throw it in your backyard on its side.




And rabbits will be like, thank you very much. I appreciate it.


Or you can strip it, you can trim off the branches and lay those down as mulch at the base of garden plants and stuff like that. Or do what I do, I already gave myself away, is that my friends throw them all in the back of my pickup truck and we let them dry to a crispy brown, then throw them on campfires for quite a fireworks show.


Very nice indeed.


But do it safely.


Oh, for sure. And make sure you haven't already invited the rabbits in to live there. You want to stomp the tree a few times on the ground to shake out any rabbits that might have taken up residence before you throw it on the campfire.


That's right.


Okay. Well, I say it's time to move on. We got a couple left. Both of them are mine, it turns out, so I'm going to share one with you. So you pick the last one. Okay.




Well, I guess I'd be picking the last one for you by picking the second to last.


I was waiting for you to catch on there.


But, Chuck, let's get back in our sleigh and go on to the next segment where we'll talk about an alternative Christmas movie. Okay, Chuck. So there are plenty of Christmas movies out there that are straight ahead. Christmas movies. The point is about Christmas, about maybe learning the spirit of Christmas, about getting a toy, about running into Santa. Who knows? But there's also alternative Christmas movies that take place around Christmas and just by proxy are technically Christmas movies. And at least one of them is a classic horror movie which arguably gave us the slasher horror genre. 1974, black Christmas.


Yeah. From Bob Clark, who has made three classic films. Black Christmas, a Christmas story and porkies.


Yeah, he made two Christmas films. One of them was a Christmas story. The other was a slasher film called black Christmas. Isn't that nuts?


And porkies?


Yeah, I never saw porkies. My mom would have died before she let me see porkies and I still have never seen it.


Yeah, I saw it years later because I just felt I had to to make up for my restricted childhood. And it's not great. But what is pretty great is black Christmas.


It is. It's subtle in a lot of ways. As far as a slasher movie can go, it's about as subtle as it can get. Bob Clark has said a lot of people have written film crit on this. People consider black Christmas a masterpiece, an a plus. Some people think it's their favorite movie of all time. And the reason why is because rather than going with straight ahead gore and traditional horror that would come years later in the slasher genre, Bob Clark went with more suggested stuff and eeriness and he went with terror over horror and building up dread and fear in legitimate ways. And what's more, one of the things he did that really differentiated black Christmas from the slasher films to come is you never actually see the killer, the entire movie. You see his eye in one scene and that's the most you see of him. And then even more than that, he never gets caught. He's still around at the end.


Yeah, I really liked it. I covered this on movie crush. It was either like a horror movie roundtable with some of our colleagues or it may have been a Christmas episode I could see. But that's when I watched it. I hadn't seen it before that, and it is really good. It was also sort of a landmark movie in that it established a couple of things. I mean, first of all, like, you said some people, you can make an argument that it is one of, if not the first slasher movie. Some people say, like Psycho and stuff like that, or Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which was released weeks before this. But you can make an argument that the kind of prototypical slasher movie and that one person dies after another very slowly working his way through a group of friends. Black Christmas was 1974 and that was four years before Halloween came out.


Yeah. So the premise of the movie is set in a sorority house over Christmas break. So there's a limited number of people not only at the sorority house but on campus in general. And that's definitely part of the eeriness that Bob Clark uses. Just that feeling for anybody who's ever been on campus, like during the summer or during a holiday break, it's just strange how quiet it is. And that's part of the whole thing. But they're stalked by an unknown phone caller who's calling them with deeply obscene phone calls that they typically, like in typical 70s fashion, just kind of laugh off or dismiss or they say lewd things back to the guy. But slowly but surely, they all start to be murdered one by one in this house.


Yeah. And it was also, speaking of those calls, it's one of the other big landmark things is, and I hope I'm not wrong, but I think this was the first movie where they said the call is coming from inside the house.


Yeah, I think the urban legend existed already. But this is the first movie to do that.


Yeah, the movies didn't invent that trope, but the movies made use of the urban legend trope.


Yeah, as far as I know it was the first one.


I think so. Because when a stranger calls was after this. And that was the other sort of big one where they said that line, man, that movie.


Few movies have meandered more than when a stranger calls. Have you seen when a stranger calls back?




It's even more meandering than the first one.


Oh, yeah.


But it's a good movie. Black Christmas is if you're interested in a horror movie. And again, I don't want to call them prank calls. The obscene phone calls are very obscene. So don't watch this movie with your kids. But if you're interested in something that is definitely set around Christmas and Christmas is kind of an extra character in the movie, that's not your typical Christmas movie and you're into horror, this might be right up your alley.


Yeah, the 74 version, there have been two remakes. The 2006 one was very gory and terrible. I didn't see it, but I did see the 2019 and I thought it was pretty good.


Oh, really? Okay. Yeah, I haven't seen either. I've just seen the original. And I said, some people say it's their favorite movie. At least two pretty big celebrities counted it as their favorite movie, didn't they?


That's right, man.


Yeah. Elvis was one.


You know, I, like, sit around Graceland, man. Watch that movie about those sorority girls. It's pretty good.


Wow, that was a really good Elvis. Can you do a really good Steve Martin?


No, I can't.


I can't either.


Steve Martin loves it, though. That's pretty wild and crazy.


Yeah. Olivia Hussey's in it. Apparently, he met her years later. He's like, oh, my God, you're in one of my favorite movies of all time. And she thought he was going to tell her Romeo and Juliet, like the 1960s version. He said, you're in black Christmas. And she was like, what? One of your favorite movies? Yeah.


That's amazing.


So that's it, everybody. Black Christmas. And we're going to get in that sleigh one last time, this episode for this Christmas spectacular, and go on to the last segment, which Chuck is going to pick for.


Hey, thanks for driving, by the way. We've had a couple of too many negronis. That infused gin is hitting me hard. So thanks for taking the reins.


That's all right. I don't mind being the DD sometimes next year. It's you, though.


Yeah. You found this great thing about Christmas card etiquette from the Marilyn McKee etiquette school. And we may have talked about this. Never. We have never sent out a Christmas card as a family.


I don't remember you saying never.


We never did it. I don't know why. Probably because we're lazy. Emily was always her very busy during the holiday season with her business, for sure, busiest time of the year. And so that would have fallen to me. And I never have really had much of an interest in doing it myself, but I love getting them and I'm one of those people that likes to display them.


Okay. So if you ever decided to start sending Christmas cards after you hear this Marilyn McKee's etiquette school's list of Christmas card etiquette, you will be well prepared for how to navigate the travails of Christmas card sending Chuck.


All right, get us going. When should we be sending these things?


So you want to send a Christmas card, technically, for it to arrive by January 5, because you have until the end of the twelve days of Christmas for your Christmas card to arrive. And the twelve days of Christmas start on Christmas and go till January 5, which is three Kings Day. That's the traditional way. Like, if you were sending a card in 1903, that was your time limit. Now it's like much more abbreviated because people like you like to display Christmas cards. So you want to get them to people by, I think, December 15, right?


Yeah. If you're purposefully sending your Christmas card. So they go out by January 4, everyone that gets that Christmas card will say a little late, kind of January 5.


I mean, it's like literally the next year. Yeah.


So that's sort of, like you said, the old school, by January 5. They also say sort of back in the day that you didn't typically send them to your close friends and neighbors or colleagues that you will see over Christmas. It was sort of a way to say, like, hi, I don't live near you, and we aren't in regular touch, so here's our family. But that certainly has gone away too, because you can send Christmas cards to anybody at any, not at any time, but if you send them in July, that would be really weird. But send them to anybody, you can send them to your next door neighbor. And it's not like they'll think like, well, that's weird. I see them every day.


Yeah. Marilyn McKee says these days it's not rude to give anyone who celebrates Christmas a Christmas card, even if you see that person regularly. And I would argue the people you see regularly are the ones you would most want to send a Christmas card to these days because everybody's so neurotic and insecure.


I know I am. Well, I mean, would this make you insecure? What if you get a Christmas card every year from us? Let's say we were sending them to you and Momo and Yumi, and all of a sudden we didn't.


Okay, I'm just playing a part here because I actually wouldn't do this. I would come to you and say, hey, we didn't get a card this year. Is everything okay between us? And what would you say in return, as far as Marilyn McKee's etiquette school suggests?


Well, I would say I could say a number of things, but one thing I could say is, well, you know what, my friend? Money's a little tighter this year. We had to cut down and send about half as many Christmas cards as usual.


And I say, oh, okay. I was part of a huge calling of people. I can live with that.


Exactly. That's supposedly the nice way, if you want to drop someone from your list is to not just drop one person, but you're probably dropping a lot at once.


Well, I think if you read between the lines Marilyn McKee's saying, even if you're just dropping one person, tell them they were, like, half the list that you cut. So if somebody tells you you were part of half the list, now that you hear that, you'll know that there's no telling whether you are half of the list or not.


Yeah, kids, that's called a lie to spare someone's feelings. And that can be okay.


That's right. So if you want to cut somebody from your Christmas card list, how do you go about cutting them, Chuck? What decisions do you need to?


I mean, I guess you wouldn't put their name on an envelope.


Okay. How would you decide? I think is what I'm trying to say more specifically.


Well, I wouldn't do that to any senior member of your extended network because oftentimes our older friends may be a little lonelier and this card might really be a big deal for them.


Yeah, merrily McKee makes a really great point that some of your older adult friends or family members probably aren't on social media or there's a good chance they're not getting a Christmas card in the mail is a big deal to don't have. They probably don't have email, so they're not going to get an e card. So not only do you want to keep the older people on your list, you also want to add in their Christmas card, like an extra special note, maybe a Christmas drawing from your kid, because it is going to mean a lot more to them than your 40 year old go, go single, childless executive brother, it's going to mean to him.


Maybe if someone doesn't send you a Christmas card, and not as like a revenge, but if you're just looking to cut back on the number, maybe you don't want to do it to the people who, like, every single year they send you one, but you could do.


It as revenge, too. I mean, that works.


I guess there are no rules.


Yeah. If you sent somebody a card also, and they don't send you a card in return for two years in a row, they're off, they're done.


Dead to you for sure.


You don't even talk to them when you see them during the rest of the year. Yeah, because that's the thing that people don't realize is when you take someone off your Christmas card list, you're not allowed to talk to them any longer. So really, you need to decide. You really need to give it some thought, I guess, is what I'm saying. Do you want this person out of your life forever?


Yeah, absolutely. And you said earlier something very key that you can send a Christmas card to anybody these days who celebrates Christmas. And that is very key because unless you know that your jewish or muslim friends really enjoy the Christmas card thing, then probably don't send them a Christmas card. Maybe a, hi, how you doing? It's winter card.


Sure. Or you could send your jewish friends a Hanukkah card or your muslim friends an idol fatir card, which is the last day of Ramadan. I'm probably not pronouncing that correctly.


Yeah. Would they appreciate that? Or would they be like, oh, please.


I think they would appreciate it. I think most people would. Maybe your cynical jewish friends or your cynical muslim friends might be like, oh, please. But I think for the most part, people be like, wow, that was really thoughtful. Yeah.


Or maybe they think you're like, just, oh, I see what Chuck's doing here.


He's buttering me up to hit me up for money in June.


Something's going on.


Yeah, something's coming. So that's it for Christmas cards and, geez, Chuck. I mean, that's it for the whole holiday episode, isn't it? I'm starting to talk slowly because I don't want it to end.


I know. And you know what? I am a little worried about next year because the Christmas reservoir is genuinely getting thin.


Well, we'll have to send an alert out to our Christmas idea helper elves, Robert Paulson and Alex stock, who usually send us ideas. They need to step it up for this year.


Robert sent us one this year. Which one did he send? Did we use it?


I didn't see one from him. No.


Oh, I may have used. Oh, let me look while you wind things down with glad.


Oh, okay. Well, everybody, while Chuck does that, I want to say from all of us, it's stuff you should know from Chuck and me. From Jerry, from Dave, from Ben, from everybody who's ever been involved with stuff you should know. We wish you the happiest of holidays. The merriest of Christmases, the happiest of Hanukkahs, the happiest of everything. We hope this is a wonderful season of glad tidings, joy, super boozy eggnog, and just goodness in general, even just for a few days around the Christmas time. So thank you very much for joining us and sitting with us. Hopefully this sets you off on the greatest Christmas ever.


Boy, you did a great job killing time.


Thanks, man.


That seemed genuine. We actually did not use Robert's suggestion this year, so we have one in the hip pocket for next year. I'm not even going to say what it is because it's a pretty good one.


Good. Well, I have a list, too. I'll send you. If you're really low, check it twice. I will. And I know that you're nice, so you will get that list.


Happy holidays, everybody. We love you.


Yeah, we love you guys. Thank you so much for listening, and we'll see you next year.


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