Heading home for the holidays and have a long journey ahead? Pass the time with these podcasts.

Phone with headphones

*Editor’s Note: The “Views from NAU” blog series highlights the thoughts of different people affiliated with NAU, including faculty members sharing opinions or research in their areas of expertise. The views expressed reflect the authors’ own personal perspectives.

‘Tis the season for enjoying time away from school and work and celebrating the holidays. With that often comes some long car or plane rides as you travel to visit friends and family. To help keep you entertained along the way, the NAU Communications team put together a list of their favorite podcasts—from stories to help get you in the holiday spirit to informative and ridiculous accounts behind some of the most notorious villains in history—they are sure to make your travels fly by (and give you a fun topic of conversation for when you arrive)! 

Carly’s recommendation: Christmas and Commerce (from This American Life)
From This American Life, “Christmas and Commerce” is one of my favorite episodes of all time, specifically Act Two: David Sedaris’s “Santaland Diaries,” where he narrates a first-person account of working as an elf at the Macy’s department store in New York, listening to which has become a yearly tradition. His cynical and captivating storytelling will have you laughing out loud as he shares a side of the holidays that often goes untold: the backend of Christmas retail. 

Heidi’s recommendation: Two Hot Takes
“Two Hot Takes” is a perfect road trip podcast. It’s irreverent, funny, a little on the profane side (do not listen with kids in the car), and most episodes are upwards of 90 minutes. The hosts—a bunch of 20-something friends—react to Reddit stories and give relationship advice, moral judgments and pepper their own stories into the lives of Internet strangers’ stories. It is not serious, it’s not about important issues (although they hit on a few) and it is generally just a frothy delight for when you don’t want to have to think about anything but have a few laughs, offer your own judgments and feel better about whatever family drama awaits you because at least you don’t have to choose sides between the baker who secretly put salt instead of the sugar in the cake and the overly critical relative who never says thank you. 

Cynthia’s recommendation: Behind the Bastards
Hosted by journalist and former war correspondent Robert Evans, Behind the Bastards is a history lesson cloaked in humorous storytelling about “the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives.” Learn about Hitler’s uncontrollable flatulence and the young adult novels that helped form his monstrous ideology. Along with Hitler’s beer hall putsch and Mussolini’s march on Rome, listeners can learn more about unsavory contemporary figures like Elizabeth Holmes and Alex Jones. Not the best choice for younger audiences or the faint of heart; however, those who make it through might begin to understand the unfathomable: why people do wrong and why they get away with it. 

Melody’s recommendation: Wild ‘Til 9
This podcast is perfect for anyone and everyone who feels like they are ‘adulting incorrectly.’ (Let’s be honest—Do any of us know what we are actually doing?) Wild ’Til 9 is about relationships, spotting the red flags, giving the green lights and the lifestyle in which this polar-opposite couple found themselves. Hosts Lauren Riihimaki, AKA LaurDIY on Youtube, and Jeremy Lewis tell all their stories from being a former fraternity president and dramatic tell-all’s about being an influencer for the past decade to adopting their dog’s dad together. This podcast may not always be suitable for younger audiences, but if you’re looking for the experience of catching up with your best friends and hearing about all their shenanigans, this podcast is right for you. 

NAU Communications