In 1945, when songwriter Bob Wells first penned the line “chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” chestnuts were as much a part of the Christmas season as eggnog and gingerbread. And then, just a few years after Nat King Cole recorded his iconic version of that song…they weren’t. What happened? It’s one of the few examples from recent history of a Christmas tradition dying out — literally — in a single generation. Is it lost forever? Or are we poised for a roasty toasty Christmas comeback story?

Thank you to Sarah Fitzsimmons, director of restoration with the American Chestnut Foundation, for appearing in this episode.

Music in this episode