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FROM THIS EPISODE

Online shopping is the big story this holiday season… and that means Amazon. We hear how it's become an unstoppable force in ecommerce…and what that means for a changing economy.

Later on the program, an unlikely battle over children's letters to Santa Claus. 

Producers:
Andrea Brody
Christine Detz
Gideon Brower

Ride-Sharing Pick-ups Begin at LAX in Time for the Holidays 6 MIN, 30 SEC

On one of the busiest days, the West Coast's busiest airport is opening up to the ride-sharing service. Starting today, LA International Airport will allow Lyft to pick up passengers, as we hear from Laura Nelson, transportation reporter for the Los Angeles Times, has more on the story.

Guests:
Laura Nelson, Los Angeles Times (@laura_nelson)

More:
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti on 'Lyft-off at LAX'

The "Everything Store" and the Changing Economy 34 MIN, 51 SEC

As another holiday season reaches a frenzied climax, more American shopping takes place on line than ever before. Amazon, the major force in e-commerce, is leaving Best Buy, Target and even WalMart far behind -- not just now but for the foreseeable future. Massive investment is finally paying off for consumers who want stuff now, although relentless cost cutting creates a "dark side" for many workers. But the big story may be Jeff Bezos' vision of a new economy with Amazon the dominant player. 

Guests:
Anne D'Innocenzio, Associated Press (@ADInnocenzio)
Brad Stone, Bloomberg BusinessWeek (@BradStone)
Andrew Keen, tech-industry commentator (@ajkeen)
Farhad Manjoo, New York Times (@fmanjoo)

More:
Anne D'Innocenzio on weather skewing online holiday sales pattern
Stone on Amazon's many businesses
Keen's 'The Internet Is Not the Answer'
Manjoo on how Amazon's long game yielded a retail juggernaut
NY Times on Amazon's bruising labor practices

The Unlikely War over Santa Claus Letters 8 MIN, 42 SEC

Santa Claus didn't start living at the North Pole until the 1920's, but American children were writing him letters long before that, and there lies a tale.

Santa Claus began to evolve in the 1850's and, by 1900, newspapers were printing the letters of children reporting their good behavior and asking for modest gifts. The Post Office would throw them away until charities demanded the chance to answer them — and deliver gifts or even raise money. In 1913, a man named John Gluck started the first Santa Claus Association. Alex Palmer has written about him in The Santa Claus Man: The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York.


The "secretarial room" of the Knickerbocker Headquarters of the Santa Claus Association.

Guests:
Alex Palmer, freelance writer (@theAlexPalmer)

More:
Palmer on the fight against Santa's mailbag

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