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ABOUT
THE SHOW

Welcome to the show! The Storytellers Project presents "Holidays" at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on Dec. 15.

The holidays can be a time of gleeful surprise, gratitude, wrapping paper disasters or family mishaps. Join USA TODAY for an hour of true, first-person stories celebrating the moments that unite our communities, faiths and families.

Our storytellers will share their personal stories from their homes, using their devices, and Megan Finnerty, will emcee live!

Sarah Hairston Berkley, 40, Fort Thomas, Kentucky
Teresa Strasser of Phoenix
Galen G. Gordon, 44, of Cincinnati, Ohio
Dylan Alexander Mack, 41, of Los Angeles
Julie Lalwani, 43, of Phoenix
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THIS
VIRTUAL EVENT
Sarah Hairston Berkley, 40, Fort Thomas, Kentucky | Nutcracker, I love/loathe you

What do you hope listeners take away from your story:
I hope listeners will laugh at the inside information I speak about when it comes to being a performer and realize how live performances can shape our lives in the best of ways.

Who or what inspired you to tell this story:
My son Wrigley inspired me to tell this story as I watched his amazement the first time he saw the Nutcracker from the audience.

Teresa Strasser of Phoenix | A Very Hippie Hanukah

What do you hope listeners take away from your story:
I hope the listeners will plan some deliciously devious way to surprise their kids this holiday season. And I hope they can conjure a memory of some small thing a parent did to turn an ordinary moment into an extraordinary one.

Who or what inspired you to tell this story:
When Megan Finnerty asked me to tell a Hanukkah story, I thought, I’m the last Jew you should be hitting up for a Hanukkah story. We weren’t exactly a family of Talmudic scholars. But when I thought about it, I realized there were facets of Judaism and Jewish customs hardwired into my parents, and that my mom had provided for our own little family a mini miracle, and that’s one way to look at Hanukkah. It’s a time to see miracles in small things.

Galen G. Gordon, 44, of Cincinnati, Ohio | How I became Santa Claus

What do you hope listeners take away from your story:
I hope people will learn to believe again.  Believe in our neighbors, believe in unity, believe in compassion and grace.

Who or what inspired you to tell this story:
The confusion of not being accepted and the belief in a spirit of giving inspired me to tell this story.

Dylan Alexander Mack, 41, of Los Angeles | A Very Mosul Christmas

What do you hope listeners take away from your story:
I hope listeners will understand the humanity of active servicemen and women during combat.

Who or what inspired you to tell this story:
I consider myself a writer and so I took this holiday sample from an unpublished memoir chronicling my time at war, inspired by the often surreal experience of executing a war.

Julie Lalwani, 43, of Phoenix | Holiday imposters and other such apparitions

What do you hope listeners take away from your story:
I hope listeners revel in their vulnerabilities and love what makes them different while celebrating each other.

Who or what inspired you to tell this story:
Dave Chappelle. He is a master storyteller and, through humor, he is trying to connect to us and help us connect to each other.


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