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Noon Edition

The Inner States (Complicated Feelings About) Christmas Special!

A freestanding pole with post-it notes, in a house, with a Christmas tree in the background

The Grudis family takes its winter holiday traditions very seriously (Courtesy of Erin Grudis)

My 9-year-old admitted in early December that they already have a list of the most stressful things about the holiday season. Number one? Buying presents. There are things about your kids you can’t take credit for, and others you can. Unfortunately for my kids, I think I can take credit for that one.

The holidays are a good excuse to treat the people you love. And it is so satisfying to give someone a good, special gift. Doesn’t have to be big, just thoughtful. But sometimes it take a lot of thought! Combine that with feeling like money’s tighter than you’d like, and that becomes just one of a number of stressful aspects of this season of joy and celebration.

This week on Inner States, we’re trying to avoid Christmas. Mostly, we’re going to fail.

We’ve got five approaches to the season.

  1. A surprising fact about William S. Burroughs - you know, the Beat writer famous for the novel Naked Lunch and for his long-time addiction to heroin - is that he wrote a Christmas story. We hear about that, and how he saw the capitalist economy as being very similar to drug addiction.

  2. We find out what made both Yané Sanchez Lopez and her mom change their minds about Christmas.

  3. Jillian Blackburn brings us a family who got their most important winter holiday traditions from TV.

  4. Caroline Tatem tells us about realizing not all grandfather’s dressed up and played banjo in parades around Christmastime, and about an Irish Christmas tradition of going to people’s houses and putting on plays in their kitchens.

  5. Finally, Joan Hawkins, our resident William S. Burroughs scholar, reflects on gifts as a replacement for time and attention, the sense of humor that shaped Burroughs’s Christmas story, and what we can learn from all of that.


Inner States is produced and edited by me, Alex Chambers, with support from Violet Baron, Eoban Binder, Jillian Blackburn, Mark Chilla, Avi Forrest, LuAnn Johnson, Sam Schemenauer, Jay Upshaw, Payton Whaley, and Kayte Young. Our Executive Producer is Eric Bolstridge.

Special thanks this week to Joan Hawkins, Yané Sanchez Lopez, Erin and Michael Grudis, Caroline Tatem, and Jillian Blackburn, for her first Inner States story!

Our theme song is by Amy Oelsner and Justin Vollmar. We have additional music from Amy Oelsner and Justin Vollmar, and the artists at Universal Production Music.

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