As Southern Rail passengers can attest, it’s better to travel hopefully than arrive, and the same is true of Christmas. Advent is like a month-long chart countdown, only, instead of Autotune and various members of Migos, it features festivity, little doors and the occasional sweetie. Older-schoolers might even light candles on the advent crown, put up a wreath and start thinking about the old Christmas tree.
Now there’s another advent tradition in the making: the festive podcast. Specifically, ‘The Ghosts of Christmas Presents’, a 24-episode festive tale, with a new ten-minute instalment uploaded every day from December 1 until Christmas Eve. This is the fourth year of the London-set podcast. The 2021 outing follows previous iterations in not exactly sticking that closely to seasonal traditions – ‘The Snowman’ it ain’t.
This year, it tells the story of Benedict Nail, a solitary middle-aged bloke looking forward to spending Christmas Eve alone during the lockdown winter of 2020. Then he’s cursed by a miniature wooden witch and shrunk to an inch high. Trying to navigate his living room, he encounters the ghosts of past Londoners – from a Roman legionary and a Medieval nun to a Victorian labourer and a mid-century corporate manager – who haunt the objects in his house.
Created by writer Tobias Sturt and voice actor Jon Millington, it sounds like an intriguing take on the Dickensian idea that Christmas is a time for the spirits of London to visit us and reveal their secrets. Also, who doesn’t enjoy a Yuletide tingle up the spine?
‘The Ghosts of Christmas Presents’, daily until Dec 24.