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The All Songs Considered Holiday Extravaganza

Hendrik Schmidt
AFP/Getty Images

Bob Boilen is like a child this time of year, his eyes and ears full of wonder, as he traipses through the NPR Music offices, vigorously jingling his collection of sleigh bells. He believes, in his heart, that he's truly getting everyone in the spirit of the holiday season. But it's always been a steady source of irritation for me.

That's why, a few years back, I stole Bob's sleigh bells and hid them in a box on the shelves behind the Tiny Desk. He managed to find them just in time to record our holiday music show, and every December since then, Bob has continued to bring them out for a good, irritating shake.

But when Bob and I settled in to record this year's holiday extravaganza, something wasn't right. He brought out his bells but, as far as I could tell, they were broken. No matter how hard he rattled them, all I heard was glorious silence.

Everything seemed like it was going my way until I left the studio and found something waiting for me just outside the NPR building. It turned out Bob had bigger plans for me this year. -- Robin Hilton

Originally recorded in 2016.


Story by Robin Hilton and Bob Boilen
Foley by Robin Hilton
Mixed and mastered by Bob Boilen
Special thanks to: Ari Shapiro, Conor Oberst, Eskimeaux, Gaelynn Lea, George Winston, Guy Raz, Japanese Breakfast, Julien Baker, Kacey Musgraves, The Oh Hellos, and the entire NPR Music team.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Robin Hilton is a producer and co-host of the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.
In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.