A Very Timely Christmas Special / by Eric Jaffe


Produced and Written by Eric Jaffe



Kate Wright as Lottie

Eric Jaffe as GIF & Matthew

Elias Inaty as Santa Claus


Research by Kate Wright

Sound Design by Trae Budde

"Time Turners Theme" by Daniel Hildreth


Music provided by Killer Tracks



SANTA: It’s finally that time of the year. The family is getting together, the presents are under the tree… love is in the air. Unless, of course, you’re a time-traveling podcast host named Lottie. While the rest of the world celebrates, Lottie just stares through the window at her driveway, waiting for a car to come. It’s the time of year she likes least of all, the time of year when her brother returns from college and—

LOTTIE: Why are you talking like that?


GIF: I was trying to be festive. Did I sound like Santa Claus?

LOTTIE: Santa Claus is Greek. Try it with Greek accent next time. And I don’t not like Christmas, by the way. I just don’t like my brother. 

GIF: Because he’s smarter than you?

LOTTIE: No. Because he thinks he’s smarter than me.

MATTHEW: Did someone say smarter than Lottie?

LOTTIE: What the- How did you get in here? I didn’t hear the door.

MATTHEW: Doors? Please, who needs doors when you’ve got a teleporter. Check it out. First I’m here.


MATTHEW (shouting, far): Now I’m here! (Closer) And now I’m back again.

GIF: That was awesome.

LOTTIE: Yeah, awesomely simple. I’ve been building teleporters since I was six.

MATTHEW: Oh, I know. Remember the time you accidentally teleported to class from the swimming pool? You had to stand there in front of everyone in your—

LOTTIE: Hey, hey! We don’t need to tell that story on the air.

MATTHEW: On the… Oh! Is this that radio thing you’ve been doing that mom tells me about?

GIF: It’s not radio. It’s a podcast.

MATTHEW: You know, I used to have my own radio show back in high school. I was basically a celebrity. Is this seat taken?

LOTTIE: Actually, that’s for our guest.

MATTHEW: Cool, yeah, sure. Hello, listeners. This is Matthew Turner and you’re listening to The Matthew Hour, the podcast where I talk to major historical figures and tell them how they could have done their jobs better.

GIF: What’s he doing?

LOTTIE: No! (Microphone screech) This is my show. Why don’t you teleport yourself to the kitchen and cook with dad?

MATTHEW: Oh, come on. I’m just trying to show my little sister what real journalism looks like. 

LOTTIE: You know what? Fine! If you won’t go, GIF and I will!


LOTTIE: See you next Christmas!

MATTHEW: You better be back home for dinner!

LOTTIE: Make me!

GIF: Bye!


LOTTIE: Hello, Time Cadets, this is Lottie and today GIF and I are going to the happiest time on Earth.

GIF: Disneyland?

LOTTIE: No, even better. Boston in 1659.

GIF: What’s so great about Boston in 1659?

LOTTIE: Well, for starters, they have great accents. And best of all: They’ve banned Christmas!

GIF: Banned Christmas?!

LOTTIE: You better believe it! No feasts, no merrymaking, and no Matthew coming to town to ruin everything! It’s perfect!



LOTTIE: Ah, here we are.

GIF: It’s fuh-fuh-freezing. And I can’t even feel things!

LOTTIE: Yeah, we probably should have brought coats. Let’s go sit inside somewhere.


LOTTIE: Hey, innkeeper, can I get a milk please? Thanks.


LOTTIE: There it is. The great accent.

GIF: Milk? Have you gone crazy? You’re lactose intolerant!

LOTTIE: I know, but I need it. My brother just gets to me. Did you notice how he called our podcast “cute”? It’s not “cute.” I work really hard on making these.

GIF: Have you ever spoken to him about how you feel?

LOTTIE: Why? He’d just laugh.

GIF: So instead you go back to 1659 Boston and drink whole milk? That sounds reasonable.

BOSTON INNKEEPER: Here’s your milk. Happy Not Christmas! 

LOTTIE: Happy Not Christmas! Thank you. What a time to be alive. 

GIF: I don't get it. Why ban Christmas?

LOTTIE: Ah, finally, a chance to talk about history. You see, many early American settlers were a certain kind of Christians called Puritans. These Christians took the Bible very seriously, and very literally. The only day of rest in the Bible is Sunday, so they didn’t think Christmas should be a day off. The Puritans also weren’t big fans of the merrymaking, drinking and gluttony that often came hand in hand with Christmas celebrations.

GIF: They didn’t like birthdays?

LOTTIE: Well, that’s the other problem Puritans had with Christmas. The Bible never actually gives a date for Jesus’ birthday! 

GIF: WHAT?! Talk about a fun fact.

LOTTIE: Yeah! About 300 years after Jesus died, Pope Julius I decided that the Nativity should be celebrated on the same date as a very popular Pagan festival called Saturnalia. 

GIF: Saturnalia?

LOTTIE: Yeah, whatever. Anyway, lots of things we associate with Christmas today originated with the Pagans, including decorating with holly and ivy, burning a yule log, and bringing evergreen branches indoors for decoration. That’s where Christmas trees got their start! To the Puritans, Christmas was more Pagan than Christian. 

GIF: That’s nuts and bolts. So when did Christmas actually become legal in the United States?

LOTTIE: The laws were repealed in 1681, but many people still weren’t happy about it. Christmas didn’t become a U.S. holiday until 1870. 200 years later!


MATTHEW: Well, look who it is: My favorite robot and his human. 

GIF: I’m your favorite robot?

LOTTIE: Are you following us?

MATTHEW: Uh, no? You think you’re the only one who likes celebrating Christmas in 1659 in Boston? There’s no better place to sing a festive 16th century carol like Oh Christmas Tree than right here.

GIF: Actually, Christmas is—

LOTTIE: You know what? You’re absolutely right. Why don’t you sing us a tune? Go on.

MATTHEW: Of course. I have an excellent singing voice. 



MATTHEW: Hey, what are you doing? It’s Christmas! Stop this!


LOTTIE: He always knew more about science than history. Come on, let’s go while he’s distracted.

GIF: No, I’m sorry. This isn’t healthy and I will not encourage—

LOTTIE: I’ll take you somewhere Christmas-y.

GIF: Okay, let’s go.


[Talking to Myself announcement.]




LOTTIE: Ah, I feel much better now.

GIF: Whoa, where are we? 

LOTTIE: This, my friend, is where the Christmas we know and love today really got started: 19th Century England. Queen Victoria was a real trendsetter. In 1840, she married a German prince, Prince Albert, and he brought the German tradition of Christmas trees to Windsor Castle. By 1841, everyone in Britain had a Christmas tree! In 1848 a picture of the Victoria, Albert, and their children was published by the Illustrated London News and the fad took off around the world!

GIF: What else did the Victorians do? Do we have them to thank for presents and deep discount online sales?

LOTTIE: No, but we do owe the Victorians for our Christmas sweets. This period in time was also the height of colonialism. That means that many European countries, as well as America, had control of smaller countries overseas. Many of these colonies produced sugar, which meant sugar became cheap and easily available, so people could make all the Christmas cookies and candies they wanted!

GIF: Wow. Look at all the families spending time together with their families eating cookies. So many brothers and sisters putting their differences aside to have a happy holiday…

LOTTIE: Yeah! Queen Victoria had a large and close knit family, so she helped shape the idea that Christmas is a time to celebrate with loved ones at home, instead of out in the community. Wait a second, I see what you’re doing.

GIF: Just give him a chance! (Santa voice) It’s for Christmas!

LOTTIE: Hey, Gif?

GIF: Yeah?

LOTTIE: Do you know why candy canes were invented?

GIF: No?

LOTTIE: A German choirmaster invented them in 1670 to keep kids quiet in church.

GIF: Is that true?

LOTTIE: It is. And if you keep talking about my brother, I’m going to give you enough candy canes to keep you quiet until New Years.

GIF: (Beat) I can’t tell if that’s supposed to be a threat?


GIF: Uh oh.


GIF: My battery’s dying.

LOTTIE: That can’t be. You charged yourself last night, didn’t you?

GIF: Uh…


GIF: I’m sorry. I was up all night getting your present ready. Actually, I did spend some time singing. And some more time installing that Santa Claus voice filter, but mostly I was getting the gift ready (BEEP BEEP). And singing. 

LOTTIE: You got me a present?

GIF: Of course. It’s Christmas. I love Christmas. (BEEP BEEP) It’s the only time of year I get to see my brother AND my sister together. I didn’t appreciate having you both around when he still lived at home, but now I kind of miss it.

LOTTIE: I didn’t realize you like Matthew that much.

GIF: He’s family. (Robot Voice) Shutting down. 

LOTTIE: Dang it. Okay, back to 2017 I guess.


LOTTIE: Huh, that’s weird.


MATTHEW: Need some help?

LOTTIE: Matthew. How did you find me?

MATTHEW: GIF sent me a text before his battery died.

LOTTIE: What’s it say?

MATTHEW: “Dear Matthew, I’ve broken our time machine. It’s up to you to bring Lottie back to 2017.” 

LOTTIE: (Under breath) Dang it, Gif.  (To Matthew) Okay, fine, let’s go.

MATTHEW: Hold on. We’re not going anywhere until you tell me why you keep trying to get rid of me.

LOTTIE: I don’t keep trying to get rid of you.

MATTHEW: Yes you do. And we’re not going anywhere until you tell me why.

LOTTIE: Stop playing games. We need to go.


LOTTIE: Give me your Time Turner—


LOTTIE: Ow! What happened?

MATTHEW: You broke it! You broke it and now we’re both stuck here!

LOTTIE: Why didn’t you just give it to me?

MATTHEW: Sorry for trying to bond with you!

LOTTIE: No you weren’t. You were just trying to make me feel bad. You always have to be the better person.

MATTHEW: That’s not true. You’re better than me at a lot of things.

LOTTIE: Like what?

MATTHEW: Like… getting stuck in places you shouldn’t be. That classroom… 19th Century London…

LOTTIE: This is funny to you?

MATTHEW: Come on, stop being so mad. We’re scientists. We can build another time machine and be back home in time for dinner.

LOTTIE: It’s the 19th Century, Matthew. We don’t have the resources to make another time machine. 


MATTHEW: Uh… Lottie...

LOTTIE: We need plutonium, we need a carburetor… We need a miracle!

SANTA: Ho Ho Ho!

LOTTIE: Gif, I said stop with the Santa filter!

MATTHEW: Lottie, Gif’s battery is dead, remember?

LOTTIE: Then who—

SANTA: I said Ho Ho Ho!


SANTA: Indeed, it is I. I sensed some trouble and decided to stop in.

LOTTIE: Wait a second, I thought you were a Greek saint - Saint Nicholas. You don’t sound Greek.

SANTA: Oh dear, I was born to a Greek family in the Roman Empire in the year 270, but that was many years ago and I’ve been all over the world since then! My accent’s changed a little, I guess. But one thing has always been the same: I bring gifts. And today, I have just the thing for you.


LOTTIE: Is that—

MATTHEW: —A working time machine?

SANTA: It is, but there’s a catch. This time machine isn’t powered by science. No, this time machine is powered by love.


SANTA: Learn to love each other and you can go home. Go on. Matthew, you start.

MATTHEW: You’re joking. 

SANTA: Santa Claus doesn’t joke. Apologize to your sister and tell her how you really feel.

MATTHEW: Fine. Lottie, I’m sorry if I make you feel insecure. The only reason I put you down is because I’m— I— I’m kind of jealous of you. Your podcast is like, so, so great. You built GIF before I even finished middle school, and he’s, like, the coolest. You’re funny and smart and clever… Everyone was always comparing me to you when I grew up. That’s why I went to college out of state. To start new in a place where no one could compare me to you. You’re amazing and I love you.

SANTA: What do you have to say, Lottie?

LOTTIE: (Teary) I— I love you too. All I’ve ever wanted is to be your friend.


SANTA (Voice changes): Yay! Now everyone can go home and celebrate Christmas!

LOTTIE: Santa? What happened to your voice?

SANTA: Oh, jeez. Gif, the jig is up.

GIF: Thanks anyway, Mike.

MATTHEW: What’s going on here?

GIF: Isn’t it obvious? I faked my battery dying to get you both here, broke the time machine, gave a replacement to Mike and had him pretend to be Santa to get a confession out of both of you. It was a simple plan, really.

MATTHEW & LOTTIE: (Shout insults at GIF)

GIF: Yay! Family! Just like old times! Let’s go home!

LOTTIE: Did you really get me a gift at least?

GIF: The gift of love.

LOTTIE: You’re the worst.



LOTTIE: This is Lottie…

GIF: This is GIF…

MATTHEW: And this is Matthew Turner.

LOTTIE: And we’re the Time Turners.

GIF: Thanks for listening to Season 1 of our show.

LOTTIE: We hoped you enjoyed it as much as we did.

MATTHEW: Don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes if you enjoyed the show. 

GIF: You can count it as our Christmas gift.

MATTHEW: Stay subscribed and we’ll see you soon.

LOTTIE: In the future!