Is your 25 December looking quiet this year? These podcasts are sure to raise your spirits.

Christmas 2020 will be strange for most people. With fear, restrictions and sheer geography holding us back, more of us than ever will be alone for the festivities.

According to a recent article in The Observer, as many as 1.7 million people in the UK expect to be by themselves on Christmas Day.

‘Shorter daylight hours and a very different Christmas for many could compound feelings of isolation, especially for those who may have lost family members this year,’ says Zoe Abrams of the British Red Cross.

As the great Charles M. Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, would have it: ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it sure makes the rest of you lonely.’

So we need to think up tools with which to mitigate the loneliness and keep it at bay until life reopens in the spring. One of these tools is podcasts. The best podcasts are amusing, diverting and brilliant at filling the silence.

Here, we’ve found the ones that will make the most isolated of souls sing.

Good Life Project

Each week, this award-winning US podcast features an inspirational, intimate and truthful conversation with guests who range from world-renowned motivational speakers, entrepreneurs and writers to perfectly ordinary people. What they all have in common is their desire to live a life drenched in purpose. The episode with Tal Ben-Shahar, the bestselling author and lecturer whose course on happiness was the most popular one at Harvard, is not to be missed.

The Christmas Chronicles: A Podcast By Nigel Slater

Nigel Slater’s voice is as soothing as his writing. Join him in this podcast (produced to tie in with the publication in 2018 of his book, The Christmas Chronicles) for 10 episodes of thoughtful festive chatter. He will talk you through warming recipes, extracts from the book, notes, stories and lovely new content recorded at his home in north London. You’ll be with him as he chooses and decorates his tree, spices his wine and winds his way through the season to Christmas Day.

Oprah’s Supersoul Conversations

This wonderful podcast is designed to bring you one step closer to your best self. For each episode, Oprah Winfrey has personally selected one of her interviews – with actors, singers, authors, leaders and health and wellbeing experts – that will ‘light you up and guide you through life’s big questions’. Don’t miss the episode entitled ‘Finding Your Authentic Self’ or the Joe Biden interview. CNBC says: ‘Unlike some podcasts that only shed light on one’s professional journey, Winfrey gets personal in her interviews so listeners can walk away with insight on how to live an overall better life.’

The Poetry Exchange

The 2018 winner of an Official Podcast Award, The Poetry Exchange is a fantastically original concept. Each episode features an illuminating conversation with a guest – some well known, others not – about a poem that has ‘been a friend to them’. In return for their insight, a bespoke reading of the poem is subsequently recorded and shared. Trust us, this one is divine.

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day

This podcast celebrates the things that haven’t gone right and analyses the lessons we can all learn from failure. Elizabeth Day’s natural and engaging manner brings the very best out of her roster of compelling guests. There is never a dud episode but we like best her interviews with the psychotherapist Julia Samuel and the writer Alain de Botton. The Times calls it ‘a fascinating, thoughtful, honest, often moving series of interviews with successful people about the moments when their lives went wrong’.

Unlocking Us With Brene Brown

Brene Brown is a professor, author and motivational magician. She has spent the last two decades studying vulnerability, courage and authenticity. In this podcast, she examines, in a variety of learned but accessible ways, what it means to be human. She says: ‘We are hardwired for connection, and connecting requires courage, vulnerability, and conversation. We don’t have to do life alone. We were never meant to.’ Fans claim that Unlocking Us has changed their lives.

Toast Podcast

Every series of the beautifully produced podcast from lifestyle brand Toast is a pleasure to listen to. A head full of its dulcet tones is a happy head. But the current series, the fourth, is the most pertinent for the peculiar Christmas of 2020. In it, the host Laura Barton explores, through interviews with a priest, a publisher, a broadcaster and a novelist, the ways that we navigate change.

By Becky Ladenburg
December 2020

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.