Every year around this time we like to take a break from our usual musical discoveries and get together with old friends for what we call the All Songs Considered Holiday Spectacular, a seasonal special done in the tradition of old-time radio.

A few years ago, we rented a cabin in the mountains for a big holiday party but nobody came. The next year we set out on a road-trip to the nation's heartland to find the true spirit of the season, but got snowed-in and stuck at a roadside motel. Last year we were jettisoned into space.

So you can forgive host Bob Boilen for feeling a little disheartened as he and co-host Robin Hilton settled in to record this year's holiday spectacular. After deciding he's had enough of the season, Bob storms out of the studio and finds himself taking a Dickensian journey, with visits from some old friends, including Carrie Brownstein, Dan Auerbach, Aimee Mann, Ben Folds and more.

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