#119: Christmas Special With Santa Claus’ Right-hand Man, Gerry Bowler

With just a week to go until Christmas, this week’s episode is a special one. Santa Claus was obviously my first pick for our Christmas episode, but poor wifi connection in the North Pole prevented him from joining the Zoom call. Luckily, I was instructed to speak with someone who knows more about Christmas than Jolly Old Saint Nick himself! Dr Bowler – the world’s foremost authority on the history of Christmas – joins me all the way from snowy Canada for an in-depth conversation about ALL things Christmas. He is the author of many Christmas books including: The World Encyclopedia of Christmas, Santa Claus: A Biography and The World’s Greatest Christmas Stories. Dr Bowler shares a series of fascinating facts about the world’s most celebrated holiday, the history of the mince pie, and confirms how Covid-19 will affect Santa’s plans for delivering gifts on Christmas Eve. If you have ever been curious about the origins of Christmas traditions, then you’ll love this episode.

Gerry aka “Dr Christmas” introduces himself and confirms that Covid-19 will not affect Santa Claus from visiting many homes across the world this Christmas Eve. [1:14]

Gerry gives us a background on the celebration of Christmas and its origins. [3:21]

Gerry explains his journey and how he was led to a career exploring the history of Christmas and its traditions, and shares some interesting facts and findings. [5:58]

Gerry touches on the elements that make Christmas magical, and how they differ between other cultures. [13:28]

Gerry explains how to safely and successfully enjoy a “Covid Christmas”. [18:43]

Gerry discusses the story of Lapland and how he questions it as the original home of Father Christmas. [24:24]

Gerry explains the variations in traditional Christmas foods across the globe, and how some foods can even differ in the same countries. [31:58]

Gerry gives us an insight into the various differences in Christmas celebrations due to differing beliefs, timings and references in denominations within Christianity. [35:35]

Gerry shares his opinion on his personal favourite era of Christmastime in history, and where he would choose to experience if he could go back in time. [39:12]

Gerry closes the interview with a special Christmas message. [42:42]

“Christians debated for a long time as to whether or not they actually should be celebrating the birth of Jesus”. [3:15]

“It’s not only the biggest holiday in the world, it is the biggest thing in the world. There’s nothing that approaches it”. [17:43]

“You give kids a sense of magic, a different sense of time – Time becomes heavier as you approach Christmas, and we teach them generosity”. [23:02]

“I think that Santa Claus is a wonderful gift to society”. [24:11]

“Christmas is just so diverse. I’ve spent 30 years at it, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. I learn something new everyday”. [31:31]

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