The Best Podcasts for Holiday Road Trips

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Holiday road trips have come a long way from Christmas carol sing-a-longs. Whether it’s the history of the holiday season to family food favorites to magnificent movie misadventures to that perfect gift, there’s a podcast to keep everyone entertained on long road trips to see family this holiday season. 
With your playlist queued up, your bags packed, and the presents wrapped, you’ve thought about every detail for your road trip. The one thing you don’t want to forget is protection for you or your car as you hit the road. 
But who has time to spend searching for the best car insurance policy when there’s decorating to do? That’s where Jerry comes in. Jerry will send you quotes from 50+ top providers in a matter of minutes. They’ll even take care of all the paperwork for you! 
Even better—Jerry offers roadside assistance to keep you protected from disaster on your holiday road trip. It may not be a ride in Santa’s sleigh, but Jerry’s roadside assistance program offers lockout services, towing, and more for only $4.16 a month! 
Once that’s taken care of, the only thing you have to decide is what to listen to first. 

Podcasts to tap into the spirit of the season

If at 12:01 AM on November 1st you start putting away fall decor and putting up tinsel, these podcasts may be right up your alley. Some are full series and some are single episodes devoted to the holiday season, but either way, you’ll learn something and get in the mood for hot cocoa and carolers. 

Christmas Past

Christmas past podcast cover
Christmas Past
Christmas Past is the podcast for people who love Christmas. Billed as the “fascinating stories behind your favorite Christmas traditions”, host Brian Earl explores the origins of Christmas stories all year. 
Earl presents short stories, roundtable discussions, and interviews all diving deep into traditions that are now commonplace or stories we have forgotten. The podcast is a terrific mix of fiction, history, and trivia—bringing the Christmas cheer that yuletide fanatics are sure to love. 
Episodes to check out: Backstory—Mrs. Claus, History Lesson—The Eggnogg Riot, Interview—Julia Georgallis, author of How to Eat Your Christmas Tree

All Things Cozy

All things cozy podcast cover.
All Things Cozy
As the name suggests, All Things Cozy is a podcast about things that are cozy—which is what the holiday season is all about. 
Matt Piwowarczyk and Gillian Walters create an inviting atmosphere while talking about their favorite candles, home decorating tips, the Great British Bake Off, and everything in between. They have episodes that are season-specific—not just winter, but fall, spring, and summer, as well—and the real highlights are their yearly Holiday episodes. 
Matt and Gillian and their guests cover cozy holiday favorites including Christmas traditions around the world, Hallmark holiday movies, Hanukkah lights and latkes, and cozy holiday gifts. Light up the fire, grab your warmest blanket, and revel in the coziness.
Episodes to check out: 62—The Gift of Cozy, 64—Worldwide Holiday Traditions, 65—Eight Cozy Nights, 86—Christmas House and Happiest Season

Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know podcast cover.
Stuff You Should Know
A long-running podcast not specifically dedicated to the holidays, Stuff You Should Know covers, well...stuff you should know. Along with its sister podcast, Stuff You Missed in History Class, the podcast educates listeners on tidbits, pop culture, historical events, and more that we may have missed in our education. 
The show has been around since 2008, so it has covered quite a wide array of topics (enough to get you through several cross-country trips), and in the many episodes are some more obscure holiday factoids. If you’ve ever wanted to know the history behind why people eat Chinese food on Christmas or the impetus behind that ill-informed Star Wars Holiday special, SYSK has you covered. 
Episodes to check out: Short Stuff: Chinese Food on Christmas, SYSK Selects: The Star Wars Holiday Special of 1978, How the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Works

Podcasts for Food Lovers

The holidays are all about food. Many dishes are inextricably linked to different cultures and their holidays, and they all have stories behind them. 
These food-focused podcasts dig in (no pun intended) to the food we love and the traditions behind them. You may even find some inspiration about what to make this season as you learn more about your favorite holiday treats. 

The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table pocast cover.
The Splendid Table
The Splendid Table has been a stalwart of food radio for over 25 years, long before podcasts became the cultural phenomenon they are today. As a Saturday morning radio show, The Splendid Table moved beyond recipes to a deep exploration of the culture, science, and history behind the food. 
Over the years, the show has had many hosts and hosted numerous luminaries, including Julia Child, José Andrés, Nora Ephron, and Anthony Bourdain. Today, the podcast delivers the same in-depth look at the stories behind food, exploring traditions from around the world and the latest advancements in the culinary world. 
And, like any good food podcast, The Splendid Table has wonderful suggestions for your holiday meals—you can even find the recipes on their website
Episodes to check out: A Holiday Jubilee with Toni Tipton-Martin and Questlove, Global Thanksgiving with Hawa Hassan and Andrea Ngyuen, Best in Show Cookies 

Home Cooking

Home Cooking podcast cover.
Home Cooking
This food-podcast newcomer started as a six-week pandemic project. Once it became clear we’d be cooking at home a lot longer than six weeks, cookbook author, chef, and general delight Samin Nosrat and her co-host Hrishikesh Hirway expanded the series to help people figure out what to cook at home. 
Samin and Hrishi answer listeners’ questions, interview guests, and share how their cultures influenced what they cook—covering everything from how to use those back-of-the-pantry cans of beans to what they eat for a midnight snack. 
While we may not be stuck at home anymore, their episodes still provide pearls of wisdom and inspiration for your home cooking—holiday or otherwise. 
Episodes to check out: Thanksgiving Part 1: Sage Wisdom (with Demi Adejuyibe), Thanksgiving Part 2: Umami and Me (with Tracy Clayton and our families), Bittersweet with Helen Saltzman

Podcasts to help you find the perfect gift

Gift-giving can be the hardest part of the holidays. Luckily, there are a plethora of podcasts out there that can help you find the perfect gift for anyone on your list. 

Add to Cart

Add to Cart podcast cover.
Add to Cart
As a relative newcomer to the podcast scene, Add to Cart is any shopper’s best friend. Comedian-writer-director Kulap Vylasak and journalist SuChin Pak explore their shopping habits, discussing the latest things, ideas, or trends they have added to cart, exploring ”anything we buy into and what it says about who we are”. 
Their deep, honest conversations range from emotional to hysterical as they decide what is worthy of their investment—be it time or money. While there are a few gift guides, the show isn’t necessarily holiday-specific. 
That said, you can tune into any episode to hear Kulap and SuChin highlight products that can be perfect gifts for anyone on your list. Note: Add to Cart has some mature themes, so it may not be appropriate for all listeners.
Episodes to check out: The Hyper-Specific Holiday Gift Guide; Wild Cheetahs, Flaming Hot Cheetos, and Matching Undies; What to Buy Your Podcast and Life Partners (featuring Paul Sheer); Kulap and Casey’s Deranged Christmas Shopping Trip

The Book Review Podcast from The New York Times

The Book Review podcast cover.
The Book Review from NYT
If you have a bibliophile on your gift list, the Book Review Podcast from The New York Times podcast may be just what you need. 
In in-depth discussions, the New York Times book critics review what’s hot in literature. The podcast features a variety of genres, including fiction, memoir, non-fiction, and children’s books. Often, the hosts sit down with the authors to learn a bit more about the inspiration for their work. Because the podcast comes out daily, as the name suggests, you’ll find a book for everyone on your shopping list. 
Episodes to check out: David Sedaris on a Career-Spanning Collection, An Outsider Finds Suspense in Hollywood, Andrea Elliot on Invisible Child

Storytelling podcasts

As we’ve mentioned, the holidays are the perfect time to gather around a table and share stories. These podcasts have mastered the art of true storytelling, moving from humor to heartbreak in a few well-constructed lines. 

This American Life

This American Life podcast cover.
This American Life
As the gold standard for public radio storytelling, we’d be remiss if we left Ira Glass and the folks at This American Life off this list. Their brand of storytelling and reporting created a cultural phenomenon, and many up-and-coming podcasters have emulated their style for ages—hoping to capture that same mixture of humor, honesty, and heart. 
Crafting episodes that tell stories around one theme, TAL weaves together a narrative to take the listeners on a journey—from Act 1 to curtain. The holiday episodes are some of their best, many of which listeners revisit year after year.
Episodes to check out: Christmas and Commerce, Say Yes to Christmas, Scenes from a Mall 

The Moth Radio Hour

A man stands on a darkened stage on the The Moth podcast logo.
The Moth
Like This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour showcases stories fitting a monthly theme, generally told at their live “story slams.” However, Moth stories are true stories told by one person—stories that are often deeply personal and funny, and they always end with a lesson.
Moth storytellers come from all walks of life, but their gift for capturing an audience and the themes they share are universal. The holiday episodes feature some of the best recurring Moth storytellers, sharing stories of celebration, family, tradition, loss, and love.
Episodes to check out: Menorahs and Palm Trees, The Moth Holiday Special 2016: Unexpected Gifts of December, Holiday Special 2014: Monkeys, Megachurches, and First Elves

Snap Judgement

Snap Judgment podcast cover.
Snap Judgment
If there’s one thing Snap Judgement has on the other storytelling podcasts on this list, it’s the production value. Snap Judgement is a weekly storytelling show that combines true stories with a beat. 
Perfectly timed and edited, the music behind the stories adds an extra layer of depth and emotion to each tale. Host Glynn Washington’s natural cadence weaves the distinct narrative together in a beautiful tapestry that envelopes listeners. 
Again, Snap Judgement is not a holiday podcast, but their yearly wrap-up episodes highlight some of their favorite storytellers of the year and ask them to reflect on the year and their stories.
Episodes to check out: Upended—The 2020 Look-Back Special, The 2019 Gratitude Special, Snap Holiday Special 2017

Podcasts for coping with holiday stress

While they definitely bring tidings of good cheer, the holidays come with hardship as well.
These podcasts are for the times you need an extra boost to get through the obstacles of the holiday season, whether you’re coping with loss, loneliness, or other challenges. They provide a nice reminder that, whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone. 

Life Kit from NPR

NPR Life Kit podcast cover.
NPR Life Kit
Life can be challenging, and the folks at NPR have put together a podcast to help you figure it out...or at least try to. 
Their short, digestible episodes are the perfect length for listeners to glean tips and tricks when dealing with some of life’s stickier (or completely mundane) situations. 
Recognizing that the holidays can be particularly trying, Life Kit put together a Holiday Survival Guide aimed to address some of their listener’s most pressing holiday needs. So if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, these episodes are here to help.
Episodes to check out: Holiday Survival Guide: Family Style, Giving Thoughtful Gifts Without Breaking the Bank, Finding Your Own Language For Loss: Grief in the Holidays

Unlocking Us

Unlocking Us podcast cover.
Unlocking Us
Shame-researcher Brené Brown became well-known after her viral TED Talk about vulnerability back in 2014. Since then, she has released several books designed to help people live more wholehearted lives. 
In March 2020, she launched her first podcast, Unlocking Us, which aimed to delve more deeply into the topics and emotions she writes about—many of which come to the forefront around the holiday seasons. 
Her conversations with experts, celebrities, and everyday people are great reminders that everyone has their challenges and we can all make the world better by being willing to be our authentic selves.
Episodes to check out: Brené with Samin Nosrat on Grief, Gratitude, and Connection; Brené with Priya Parker on The Art of Gathering; Brené with Dolly Parton on Songtelling, Empathy, and Shining Our Lights

Comedy Podcasts 

When you’ve had enough of the chaos of holiday togetherness, sometimes you just need something that will make you laugh. 
These podcasts are the perfect way to take a break from food, family, and sentimental storytelling and ho ho ho your way into the new year. 

Thrilling Adventure Hour

Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast cover.
Thrilling Adventure Hour
No podcast provides a better comedic escape than The Thrilling Adventure Hour. The long-running stage-show turn podcast is an old-timey radio show following the thrilling adventures of Space Cowboy Sparks Nevada. 
The show is lightly serialized—like old radio dramas—but the stories are loose enough that you can pick up wherever, with recurring segments that reward long-time listeners with callback jokes but also won’t be lost on newcomers. The cast features some of your favorite “oh, it’s that guy!” actors, including Marc Evan Jackson and Paul F. Tompkins, along with some big-name guest stars. 
And while the show in itself provides enough entertainment for hours (and hours and hours) during long stretches on the road, their holiday-themed episodes are nothing short of spectacular. 
Episodes to check out: Treasury CH3—It’s Christmas Apparently, TAH #52 Christmas on Mars, Treasury CH13—Thrilling Adventure Hour’s Christmas Romance Extravaganza

How Did This Get Made?

How Did This Get Made?
Another long-running podcast, How Did This Get Made? takes a look at movies we love—movies we love to hate, that is—and asks the important question: How did this get made? 
While they rarely have an answer, hosts Paul Sheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukus provide listeners with unending laughter as they try to figure out how some of Hollywood’s worst or most ridiculous movies got the greenlight. 
There are plenty of holiday movies for them to choose from, and the trio wastes no time analyzing some truly memorable (or terrible) movies from holiday pasts. Note: The comedy is often a bit bawdy, so this might not be appropriate for all listeners.
Episodes to check out: Jingle All the Way (with Joe Mande), Reindeer Games (with Howard Kremer), A Very Nutty Christmas, The Spirit of Christmas (with Jessica St. Clair)

Why you need roadside assistance

The last thing you want on your holiday vacation is to get stranded in the middle of nowhere in the snow. Fortunately, with Jerry’s roadside assistance program, you’ll have access to all of the help you need so you can make it to your holiday destination. 
Emergency roadside assistance from Jerry gives you access to fuel delivery, tire services, up to 10 miles of towing, and more—all at the touch of a button and for less than $5 a month!

Finding cheap car insurance

If you’re embarking on a road trip, you’ll also need a good car insurance policy. Finding car insurance with Jerry is simple and easy! 
Choose the policy that fits your needs and Jerry takes care of everything else, from securing your new policy to canceling your old one. No long forms, no calling around, no hard work—just savings. The average Jerry user saves $879 per year on car insurance!
Don’t just take our word for it, see what some of our customers are saying! 
Jerry blew my mind, honestly. It took me 10 minutes and I ended up with $100 of savings a month. Best of all, customer service answered all my questions about rental car reimbursement and roadside assistance.” —Savanna R.

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