Ahhh, Christmas. It’s that time of year when you’re forced to endure your family for several consecutive days. Some of you may have effectively “lifehacked” your way out of these annual family gatherings, but I bet that most of you are probably getting on an airplane any day now to go listen to your grandmother’s drunken ramblings for the next few days.
Don’t fret. I’ve got a solution: It’s Christmas radio. You’d be surprised at how effective it is at shutting your family up and restoring peace—you might even find that you like some of your family members. There are plenty of resources online where can you find both vintage and modern Christmas radio programs, and best of all, most Christmas apps and podcasts are free.
TuneIn: If you don’t already have it installed, download TuneIn, the online radio portal, and start a search for "Christmas radio" to find tons of pre-recorded and upcoming Christmas radio shows from around the globe. My personal favorite is the Christmas Old Time Radio station, which streams vintage holiday radio shows throughout the day. A majority of the programs were recorded between the 1940s and 1950s.
Christmas FM: Did you know that Ireland has a Christmas radio station it revives every year for just 30 days? Christmas FM streams Christmas music all day and all night and it’s all available online. You’ll hear Christmas jingles from the likes of U2 and Beach Boys (both of which popped up while I was writing this), and if you’re hunkering for something else, there’s a programming schedule you can refer to. If you happen to like a song, Christmas FM also offers a handy link for you to buy the song from the Google Play Store or share it externally with your friends.
Christmas Radio: There’s an aptly titled Christmas Radio app, which offers a variety of holiday music you wouldn’t normally come across on your own. Case in point: there’s a New Age Christmas Radio station that sounds like the kind of holiday music you’d hear in an episode of Game of Thrones.
The app features over 29 Christmas stations from a variety of genres. Just heed this warning: There are both pop-up advertisements and commercials to contend with.
BBC’s A Christmas Carol: Looking for a holiday experience for your little tykes? The BBC offers a 9-part podcast dedicated to Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol. It’s narrated by Alan Smith and features music and sound effects.
If you’re sick of A Christmas Carol, BBC offers other Christmas- and holiday-themed podcasts, like Driving Home for Christmas, a Welsh dramedy about a holiday family crisis.
Merry Podcast: It is literally a podcast dedicated to Christmas. For instance, the latest episode explores the 1992 film, A Muppet Christmas Carol and segues into a discussion about some of the major news events that have happened on Christmas Eve. It's good background noise while you're preparing Christmas dinner.
Your favorite podcast app: If neither of the above two options strike your fancy, you can always do a search for Christmas radio shows through your own podcast app, like Podkicker Pro or Pocket Casts.
Next time singing carolers come knock on your door, hoping to spread some Christmas cheer, invite them inside instead. They'll be warm, your family will be distracted by these strange singing people, and you'll be able to show off your cool phone or tablet that's streaming one of these enjoyable Christmas programs.