Was the star of Bethlehem a supernova? What raunchy pagan festivals did Christianity co-opt for Jesus’ birthday? How many butchered children did Saint Nick resurrect, and who was St Nick’s demonic sidekick? Is Santa Claus just Odin One-Eye rebranded? Also, tragic reindeer death! Watch out deipnophobes – it’s the Christmas episode of Caustic Soda!

Music: John Kirby & His Orchestra “Bounce of the Sugar Plum Fairies”

Images

Videos

Movies

Bad Santa

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Toren: 9/10
Joe: 8/10
Kevin: 6/10

It’s A Wonderful Life
Toren: 7/10
Joe: 7/10
Kevin: 2/10

Scrooged
Toren: 6/10
Joe: 8/10
Kevin: 5/10

Gremlins
Toren: 6/10
Joe: 6/10
Kevin: 7/10

Die Hard
Toren: 7/10
Joe: 9/10
Kevin: 9/10

Elf
Toren: 7/10
Joe: 7/10

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey version)
Joe: 6/10
Kevin: 8/10

The Santa Clause
Kevin: 6/10

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Showing 35 comments
  • Lara

    The World War I Christmas Truce was depicted in a Paul McCartney video for the song “Pipes of Peace”. That may be the movie that Kevin was trying to remember.

    • AJPMPLS

      A little late on this, but “Joyeux Noel” (French for “Merry Christmas”) is a 2005 film about the 1914 Christmas Truce. I have used it to teach about trench warfare in high school US History class.

      • Toren

        I would love to pick your brains for the “trench warfare” episode we have in the works

  • Lara

    The World War I Christmas Truce was depicted in a Paul McCartney video for the song “Pipes of Peace”. That may be the movie that Kevin was trying to remember.

    • AJPMPLS

      A little late on this, but “Joyeux Noel” (French for “Merry Christmas”) is a 2005 film about the 1914 Christmas Truce. I have used it to teach about trench warfare in high school US History class.

  • Jeb Card

    How are you guys not Venture Brothers fans?

    Anyway, the Krampus, from their first season Christmas special

    • Joe

      HUGE Venture Bros. fan here (and I know Toren is as well) and I had re-watched that recently and thought to bring it up in this episode but I totally forgot while recording.

      Great catch though, and I’ve embedded the video above.

  • Hollas

    I love your podcast! I think it is hilarious.
    I really like your opening add for Toy Hutt; very clever. Makes me laugh every time.
    I know all about Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet… I am half Dutch and when I was a kid, I would get to celebrate Dutch christmas too. Every december fifth would be a night of TERROR. My oma and opa told me that if I was bad, Sinterklaas would take me to Spain and make me into cookies. My fear was furthered because every year, my opa would put a black panty hose over his head, bang on our front door and fling candies and cookies inside. When this happened, I would scream and hide behind the couch. When I was older and getting a little more skeptical, I told my opa that I knew he was just dressing up as Zwarte Piet. That year, he showed up and visited while Zwarte Piet proceeded to terrify my again. It was my oma that time.
    I’m glad I didn’t know about Krampus as a child because I likely would still be behind the couch.

  • banks!

    You guys forgot the best Christmas movie of the 80’s: Lethal Weapon!

  • banks!

    You guys forgot the best Christmas movie of the 80’s: Lethal Weapon!

  • banks!

    I studied quite a bit of economics in university and I know the definition of deadweight loss but I wasn’t sure how it related to Christmas so I did a bit of research and I think I can explain it to you simply.

    Deadweight Loss

    It helps if you understand how deadweight loss works.

    The first concept you need to know is “Consumer Surplus”. If a consumer values a product more than the products actual price, the difference between the marked price and the perceived price is known as “Consumer Surplus”. If I pay $2 dollars to see a movie but I would have paid $10, then the “Consumer Surplus” is $8.

    The second concept you need to know is “Producer Surplus”. If a producer can produce a good for less than its marked price, this difference in cost is known as “Producer Surplus”. If it costs $1 to make a hamburger but the marked price for a hamburger is $5, then the “Producer Surplus” is $4.

    Diagram One: consumer and producer surplus BEFORE deadweight loss.

    http://www.econmodel.com/classic/terms/consumer_surplus.htm

    However, the real world does not work this simply!

    Inefficiencies occur in this model when something like a tax is introduced. This tax increases the marked value of a good.

    Now that the marked value of the good is higher the “Consumer Surplus” decreases. To use the previous example, I NOW pay $4 dollars to see a movie but I would have paid $10. The “Consumer Surplus” went from $8 to $6.

    This also affects “Producer Surplus”. Before the tax the producer made his good for $1. With the $2 tax increase factored in, the hamburger now costs $3 to produce. The price of the hamburger remains constant at $5 so the “Producer Surplus” went from $4 to $2.

    There is now a gap between “Consumer Surplus” and “Producer Surplus” which is tax revenue. However, in the new model, the tax shrank back the portion that is “Consumer Surplus” and the portion that is “Producer Surplus”. The portion of revenue that would have been produced in an idea situation (pre-tax) but is no longer produced (post tax) is known as deadweight loss.

    Diagram Two: consumer and producer surplus AFTER deadweight loss. Notice the small triangle labelled “gone”.

    http://www.econmodel.com/classic/terms/deadweight_loss.htm

    Deadweight Loss & Christmas

    At Christmas, the gift receiver is “Consumer Surplus”. The gift giver is “Producer Surplus”. The inefficiency is the gap between the gift givers perceived value of a gift to the gift receiver valuation of the gift.

    For example, Toren knows Joe loves Diet Dr.Pepper. Toren goes out and buys Joe a gift – a big 5L bottle of Diet Dr.Pepper. He thinks Joe loves Diet Dr.Pepper so much that it is worth $10.

    Joe loves Diet Dr.Pepper alright but not as much as Toren thinks. He only values the bottle at $8.

    The difference of $2 in perceived value (like the sales tax in the first example) is the inefficiency which creates deadweight loss (the small blue triangle to labelled gone in diagram two).

    • SGNguy

      Thank you banks! for your comment. Your explanation was clear and simple enough to understand. I appreciate you spending the time and effort to illustrate the term. Having said that, I somehow feel I just lost five minutes of my life trying to understand it.

  • Fred

    Some politically-correct Dutch people have recognized the racism of the black-face version of Zwarte Piet (pronounced “Peet”, not “pee-eht” BTW), so they recently proposed having lots of helper-Piets of various (non-racial) colours like blue, purple, green, etc. to make Black-Peter look like just another colour, and not a representative of the Spanish Moors.

    Also, Snopes says Coca-Cola didn’t invent the modern look of North America’s Santa Claus, but they did use the image and give it greater exposure:

    http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/santa/cocacola.asp

    • Toren

      Thanks for the clarification!

  • Fred

    Some politically-correct Dutch people have recognized the racism of the black-face version of Zwarte Piet (pronounced “Peet”, not “pee-eht” BTW), so they recently proposed having lots of helper-Piets of various (non-racial) colours like blue, purple, green, etc. to make Black-Peter look like just another colour, and not a representative of the Spanish Moors.

    Also, Snopes says Coca-Cola didn’t invent the modern look of North America’s Santa Claus, but they did use the image and give it greater exposure:

    http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/santa/cocacola.asp

    • Toren

      Thanks for the clarification!

  • Hunter

    I’m surprised you guys didn’t bring up the great christmas/slasher crossover Silent Night, Deadly Night. Billy thinks he is Santa so he kills a bunch of people.

    Have a Merry Cthulhu Mass!

  • banks!

    Looks like they’re at it again in Africa…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11987543

  • Angela

    You guys should have talked about the yule lads from iceland and the poop log of spain!

  • Angela

    You guys should have talked about the yule lads from iceland and the poop log of spain!

    • Charles

      sounds like somebody read the cracked.com article about the 5 crrepy christmans traditions from around the world.
      i’d like to recommend “a very sunny christmas” as the best christmas special ever. if you’re a sunny in philly fan, you’ve probably already seen it.

  • Gareth

    About the chistmas truce in 1914, not only did a number of men on both sides take the opportunity to snoop on the enemy’s tenches (unsuccessfully appaently), but the truce itself was heavily frowned upon by the high commands of both sides. Officers in the trenches were pressured to put a stop to it, with the threat of courts martial hanging over them. Also, my Slovakian girlfriend describes Krampus as an angel rather than a bound demon. I prefer the demon version though.

  • Gareth

    About the chistmas truce in 1914, not only did a number of men on both sides take the opportunity to snoop on the enemy’s tenches (unsuccessfully appaently), but the truce itself was heavily frowned upon by the high commands of both sides. Officers in the trenches were pressured to put a stop to it, with the threat of courts martial hanging over them. Also, my Slovakian girlfriend describes Krampus as an angel rather than a bound demon. I prefer the demon version though.

  • seaotter

    Well done. Actually very well done. Now how are yall going to turn this into money?

    I’m late to the game, but I can’t not comment on the past. First Cannibalism fine no problem, but the self surgery… Almost had to pull over on the drive home from grandmas. Second earthquake Game at LSU Auburn game deserves mention.

  • Derek

    The Hogfather is a nice Christmas related story (and tv film) by Terry Pratchett. Includes a lot of the original pagan side of things too. Highly recommended.

  • Derek

    Oops! I’m in trouble now. I just scared my 3yo daughter by telling her Krampus would come and get her unless she went to bed – wife very much not amused.

  • Derek

    Oops! I’m in trouble now. I just scared my 3yo daughter by telling her Krampus would come and get her unless she went to bed – wife very much not amused.

  • curtis

    downloading this episode to play in the car during my christmas pilgrimage down home!

    In television, worst Christmas episode ever might go to Captain Power’s season (and then series) finale, ‘Retribution.’ Blastaar and a biomech contingent breach the base blasting everything in sight with only Pilot there to fight them. Blastaar shoots his way into the control room, shoots the Mentor computer (the effigy of the captain’s father), explodes the improvised christmas tree and then severly wounds Pilot, and forcing her to bring the entire base crashing down on top of them while the rest of the team arrive a few moments too late. good bye ex-cybernazi love interest.

    up till that point in my childhood the main character tv good guys always survived. goodness i loved that show despite the flaws it had by being this weird hybrid thing.

  • Derek Weber

    I came across some fabulous pics of people acting as Krampus: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-05/meet-the-krampus-st-nick27s-creepy-offsider/5134842

  • Derek Weber

    I came across some fabulous pics of people acting as Krampus: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-05/meet-the-krampus-st-nick27s-creepy-offsider/5134842

  • Eve

    Hi guys!

    A very late followup, but I wantet to re-listen to get in the holiday mood.

    Im Swedish so this episode was surprisingly close to home. 🙂

    About the old norse gods. I’m no expert, but we do learn about this in elementary school and vikings and the old gods are prevalent in our culture. No, Kevin, Oden does not throw lightnings. Thor is the god of thunder and lightning, and he creates it with his special hammer which only he can use. Oden is the leader of all and father of many of the gods, he is king of Valhalla – so even if he is the god of death, war and judgement, he is also kind, loving, wise and a party animal, so to me it seems perfectly normal that he would ride around giving presents to children. (Btw, another norse story is that his vomit after a unusually heavy drinking spree on mead is the origin of beer. 🙂 )

    Sami, or Same/Sapmi are not just “Swedish villagers”, they are our idigenous people and have had (and still have) a long struggle against rasism, exploitation and occupation of their land. Many try to live as traditional as possible or at least keep the traditions alive to pass on to their children. Many Sapmi live regular Swedish lives in cities, but the ones who live the traditional way only survive on keeping raindeer. The reindeer have an extremely important place in their culture, lives and religion, even though they kill them and eat them. This explains a little more about the strange case with the reindeer who drowned in the river, and the feelings surrounding their death. I personally don’t know enough about the reindeer keeping to say if they usually kill their animal in a certain way or use the meat for only a special selection of products, but that might very well be the case.

    Another fun Swedish christmas fact; Swedes drink coca cola just like everybody else – but not during christmas! We have something called “Julmust” (jul=christmas) which is the same color, but tastes very different. There are lots of ads for coke around christmas, but i’t doesn’t work, we are very loyal to our “must”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julmust

    Great episode, as always!

  • Chelle

    WOW, you went above and beyond for Toy Hutt for Christmas! LOVE IT!
    By the way, your opening theme music sounds a lot like the Charlie’s Angels theme (the 70s TV show, as opposed to any movie remake)

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  • […] really don’t know which episode I’d recommend most to a new listener. Probably the Christmas episode. One of my favorites is the very funny one on Alcohol, but I don’t think it’s a […]