I’ve been looking for Christmas-themed stories or podcast — sort of Hallmark movies, but in audio form, and not cheesy. (I can tolerate cheesiness a lot less via audio than I can on TV.) I haven’t found anything (if you have suggestions, send them my way), but I did write a few Christmas stories myself as Localist podcasts last year — and when I re-listened this year, I realized they were exactly what I wanted to hear. (Thanks, Carrie-of-the-past.)
The stories are about my time working at (and owning) a bookstore and coffee shop at Christmas. When I listened to them this year, I got to relive my favorite things about owning a shop. I remembered the gift wrap and the hot cocoa and the community we built. I got to experience the best of working at a little local shop at the holidays again. I loved it, and I hope that you do, too.
The four stories do have a loose chronological order, but they definitely don’t have to be listened to that way. They’re all available on your favorite podcast player, and I’ve also made a Spotify Playlist, so if you decide to listen on a road trip or a plane ride, you won’t have to search through the Localist backlog to find the episodes. You can also listen without a podcast player using the links below, or even read them as a PDF if you like reading more than listening.
Writing stories isn’t what I do most of the time, but it’s what I love doing most, so I’m grateful for everyone who reads or listens to them — you’re quite literally making my dreams come true. I’m hoping someone listens in the car on their way home for Christmas. I’m imagining someone putting them on while baking Christmas cookies. Most of all, I want a few small business owners to listen and feel like someone else knows what they’re going through — the magic and the frustrations of running a shop at Christmastime.
I hope these help you find a little bit more happiness, coziness and connection. If you like them, I’d love it if you’d let me know, and I’d really, really love it if you shared them with someone else you think might like them, too.
Here’s a link to my Local Business Christmas Stories Spotify Playlist that has all my Christmas episodes — all four stories, plus my interview with Santa Claus!
Here are all four stories available to read online (or even print as a PDF).
Listen Online or through a Podcast Player
Did you know Church Street Coffee & Books was a Starbucks before it was an independent coffee shop? Cal Morris and I both worked there — and we opened Church Street together years later. The Starbucks Experience is the story of a coffee pep rally Cal and I attended that went a little off the rails. Listen to The Starbucks Experience here.
Every year I worked at Church Street, my family would come to Birmingham for Thanksgiving to help me decorate the shop so it would look magical when customers came in the next day. This is the story of our first year decorating, about five months after we opened the shop. Listen to Decking the Halls here.
Running a shop at Christmas is draining, but it is also lovely and magical and wonderful. This essay includes some of my favorite memories of Christmastime at a local bookstore. Listen to Christmas on Church Street here.
My first Christmas as a business owner was stressful, and I didn’t yet know how to deal with the anxiety and the pressure. This led to a rather … interesting … Christmas morning for me and my family. Listen to A Long Winter’s Night here.
Thank you for reading, and Merry Christmas!