The Holiday Season is upon us, albeit an extremely different one to any we have experienced before. Many countries all over the world will be spending these holidays in some form of lockdown, with bans on travel, or limits on public gatherings. But despite the circumstances, this is still a wonderful time of year. Whether December means celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or your celebrations are all about ringing in New Year, the last month of the year is special for many reasons. And even if you have no religious or cultural connections to this time of year, with all the festivities, the lights and the snow, spending time with your loved ones, and delicious warm drinks and sweet treats, there can be no denying that there is a certain kind of magic to the Holidays, unless, of course, you’re a relative of the Grinch.
And it’s also the time of the year when we add some holiday spice to everything from our coffee to our wine, so why not add a little spice to your podcast for the episodes you’ll share during the holidays? And as we mentioned above, this has been a very difficult year across the board, so a little holiday cheer and a bit of season magic delivered via your podcast could go a long way in making your listeners feel merry and bright when they need it most.
So today, we’re looking at some fun, creative ideas that you could turn into special holiday episodes for your show! Even if your podcast covers serious topics, or it doesn’t lend itself to light-hearted episodes in it’s usual format, the great thing about holiday episodes is that they don’t have to be niche-related, or even follow the same structure as your normal episodes! They can be completely stand-alone titles that you only release during the Holidays. Meaning that any podcast, no matter it’s niche, topic, or style, can have some holiday fun!
So put on your ugliest sweater, warm up a cup of cocoa, and let’s dive right into some episode ideas to bring some holiday magic to your podcast!
1. Share Your Holiday Traditions
Our first creative idea for special Holiday episodes is to simply share some of your Holiday Traditions. Do you wear matching pajamas or watch cheesy Hallmark movies? Do you hide the Christmas pickle ornament on your tree? (Yes, I said Christmas pickle! And as I discovered last year, it is a long-standing holiday tradition for many! You can find out more on this post from 2019 featuring Delicious Foodie Podcasts for the Holiday Season!) Or maybe you and your family have totally unique holiday traditions. Maybe it’s just something unique to your family, or it could be traditions that pertain to your religious preferences or cultural background. But sharing these with your listeners could make for a fun Holiday podcast episode. You could even get some of your family or friends to join you on the show and discussion your holiday traditions over a glass of eggnog…or two…
2. Ask Your Listeners to Share Their Holiday Traditions
Our next creative holiday episode idea is one that is also interactive. In the build up to the holidays, you could reach out to your audience and ask them to share some of their favorite, or even their worst, holiday traditions with you, which you can then turn into festive episodes. They could send in their own audio sharing their stories, you could call them up for interviews, or they could simply email you their stories which you could then read and record. Most podcast enthusiasts would jump at the chance to be featured on one of their favorite podcasts, and so you should get plenty of amazing content to shift through for your episodes. By providing the opportunity for your listeners to contribute to your podcast, you will really solidify your relationship with your audience as well as strengthen their connection to you and your show. Not to mention all the additional subscribers you may gain as friends and family tune in to her their loved one’s story shared!
3. Explore Other Holidays and Their Traditions
You could also do some research into other holidays and traditions from other cultures, and turn them into some fascinating podcast episodes. There are a number of specific holidays that take place during the month of December, so there would be plenty of history, cultural importance, and, of course, Holiday-specific traditions and rituals for you to research and share. You could even think about inviting community or religious leaders onto your show as guests so that they can share their traditions and the significance and importance of their special days personally with your audience.
4. Share Stories Inspired by the Holidays
Who doesn’t love a good holiday story? Whether it’s your own work of fiction, your favorite childhood tale (just be sure to check out regulations around copyrighted material!), or a collection of memories set around the Holidays, stories can make for valuable episode content. Even if your podcast is usually facts-based or serious in tone or nature, it doesn’t mean that you can’t change that modus operandi over the Holiday period. And this episode idea lends itself to so many options! You could share your own stories, but you could also get your friends and family in on the action and let them have a turn on the mic. You could take this one step further and ask your listeners to send you their favorite Holiday stories and memories. This could, again, be another great way to strengthen your relationships with your listeners, as well as adding a new, personal dynamic to your show.
5. Share Reruns or Extended Versions of Your Favorite Episodes
The Holidays are also a time synonymous with reruns and rewatches. We line up some of our favorite holiday movies – whether that’s Home Alone, It’s a Beautiful Life, or The Santa Clause – to watch for the umpteenth time, and we look forward to the reruns of classic tv shows that air during the holidays. There’s something about this time of the year that makes us feel all nostalgic and want to reminisce, and this is something you can easily incorporate in your podcast. With that in mind, another great episode idea for the holidays is to share reruns of some of your favorite episodes from the year. You could also take a look at your comments and however else you receive feedback on your show to see which episodes your listeners most enjoyed, and pick some of those for your rerun episodes. You could even do extended versions of these favorites with some of the content you had to cut the first time around. As you already know these episodes were well-loved by your podcast community, they will be eager to hear more of these favorites and would gladly listen again, particularly if you entice them with the additional content or some “behind-the-scenes” snippets.
6. Create Compilations or Blooper Episodes
You could also use the Holiday Season to share compilation or blooper episodes. Pick highlights, key moments, or other fun pieces from your favorite episodes from the year and compile them into their own episodes. You could share these as compilations of your top moments, but you could also do a countdown ending on your absolute favorite moment from the year. Another creative idea for these compilation style episodes could be a compilation of some of the hilarious bloopers that happened while you were recording, or some of those great moments when you were setting up, or just casually chatting with your guests or co-hosts between questions. These types of episodes are great for 3 reasons. 1. They allow you to use all that amazing content that otherwise would end up permanently on the cutting room floor. 2. They can be made well in advance and then scheduled to publish during the holiday season, allowing you some time off to rest and relax, and spend time with your loved ones, and the show can still go on. 3. These fun episodes show more of your personality to your audiences and can help them strengthen their relationship with you.
Bonus Tip: If you know that you want to do either the rerun or extended versions of your episodes, or the compilations and bloopers, start collecting these throughout the year. That way, they’ll be that much easier to pull together when the end of the year rolls around.
Related read: How to Take a Podcast Break Without Losing Your Momentum
7. Go A Little Crazy
For our last suggestion, we’re saying, “Go a little crazy!” Is there that one, kinda “out there” idea you’ve been wanting to try on your show? Or maybe you just want to give another podcasting style a quick whirl? Maybe the Holiday Season is the perfect time to try it out! You might have been wanting to explore a topic that doesn’t quite sync up with your usual episode style, or perhaps you have a great story to tell that doesn’t exactly align with your niche. But that’s the beauty of creating special holiday episodes! You’re free to try something new or do things a little differently because, well, it’s the Holidays! Just remember to let your listeners know that you’re having a little (extra!) fun with your episode(s) that fall during Holiday, and be sure to make it clear in your title and show notes that this is a special Holiday episode and you’ll be good to go! You give that crazy idea life and see where it leads!
The Holiday Season provides a unique opportunity to explore new avenues on your podcast. You can use this time to try new things, connect in new ways with your audience, or show a new side of yourself to your listeners. And depending on what type of episode ideas you’re going to try, these changes to your usual podcast episodes can also be a great way to take a podcast “break” without actually stopping your show. They do say that change is as good as a holiday after all! Just be sure to clearly communicate that these episodes are specially for the Holidays so that your listeners are not left confused if there is a sudden change in your content, style, or your episode structure. As long as you do that, you’re free to change it up! So allow your creative juices to flow as freely as the eggnog (perhaps not simultaneously though!) and have some festive fun with your Holiday podcast episodes.