The Voxtopica team handpicked what we believe are the best podcasts to start over the holiday season, in no particular order. Whether you’re preparing the mulled wine for Zoom celebrations or driving across town to your family’s socially distant dinner in the chilly outdoors, these shows are guaranteed to entertain, educate, and delight you. So grab the food you need to prep and turn these podcasts up as you unwind from the workday and settle into the holidays.
Storytelling has never been more entertaining and enlightening than with live, unscripted stories from people of diverse backgrounds. The Moth podcast brings on storytellers ranging from well-known people like Rev. Al Sharpton and physicist Dr. Jim Gates to your local auto mechanic down the street. They take the stage to share personal stories of significant moments that will leave you laughing and crying at the same time.
It may seem like science is data too complicated to understand; yet it’s a part of our everyday lives. The Story Collider is where true, personal stories collide with science. In each episode, we hear deeply human stories from those in science and health fields, such as a nurse who finds himself in the Brooklyn ICU during the pandemic. Storytellers reveal another side of science by sharing the powerful, emotional experiences of how science altered their lives.
Invisibilia, which is Latin for “invisible things”, introduces listeners to unusual people who are dramatically affected by certain invisible forces. Hosts Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin of NPR explore these unseeable forces and connect these true narratives to social and behavioral scientific research. Invisibilia guides listeners to view their lives differently by understanding how these forces shape our behavior and beliefs.
The holidays and end-of-year work rush can trigger high levels of anxiety. If you relate, you aren’t alone. Say aloha to The Anxiety Coaches Podcast, a show that explores anxiety, panic, and PTSD. In each episode, anxiety coach Gina Ryan soothingly walks listeners through discussions on different stages of anxiety and offers effective techniques to combat it. Voxtopica’s marketing director Lauren Thurman shares,
“The Anxiety Coaches provides lessons and guides you through overcoming fears and panic attacks while helping you prepare for them in the future.”
Pop culture meets music theory on Switched On Pop. Hosts Nate Sloan and Chris Harding break down Top 40 pop hits and reveal what makes them addictive and what roles they play in larger cultural contexts. From Queen to Taylor Swift, listeners get deeper insights into the songs heard over and over again on the radio. Previous guests include Lizzo, Daveed Diggs, and Mike Posner.
Let the kids watch a movie and put this on in another room. Foo Fighter’s guitarist Chris Shiflett interviews fellow musicians, writers, and athletes to explore their creative inspirations, struggles, and successes. Shiflett’s sardonic humor and raucous conversation is a great release to tense a week. Past guests have included Merle Haggard and Ace Frehley of Kiss.
History buffs, this one’s for you. Unlike other shows that theme around a historical event, this history podcast themes around objects. Each brief episode focuses on an archaeological artifact as British Art Historian Neil MacGregor tells the story of a historical event through the object, such as the Hawaiian feather helmet, and what we can learn from it.
Hardcover encyclopedias may be gone, but there’s still a place you can indulge your curiosities about things like tsunamis, porta-potties, currency, and narcolepsy. Meet Josh and Chuck, hosts of the Stuff You Should Know podcast. Episodes are anything but dry as Josh and Chuck provide in-depth research through harmonious banter on a wide range of topics.
Brought to you by the BBC, 50 Things shares compelling stories about ideas, innovations, and inventions that have helped to shape the modern economic world. Host Tim Hartford discusses items like antibiotics, the diesel engine, and the iPhone in short 10-minute episodes. This podcast is for anyone who craves a great combination of science, history, and technology.
You read the headlines daily but you’re longing to know the details of what’s really happening on Capitol Hill. Meet 14th & G, a podcast by lobbying firm Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas. Each week, experts and policy influencers join host Dean Hingson to analyze the effects of current events through the lenses of business and government. Hingson’s conversations with guests are for all who want a deeper dive into the decisions being made on Capitol Hill.
Download these podcasts when you need a break from work, deadlines, and holiday festivities but want to keep your mind active. Happy holidays from the Voxtopica team!