4 Terrifying Economic Trends Not to Panic About This Season

As the new year approaches, many investors would no doubt like to take a little time off from obsessing over the ups and downs of the market, and just enjoy time together with the people they love. Besides, late December ought to be a pretty quiet time on Wall Street anyway, right? If only.

In this episode of Motley Fool Answers , hosts Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp attempt to enjoy their holiday tradition of reciting The Night Before Christmas , but a tetrad of totally terrifyingfinancial newsitems gets in the way of their fun. If the business news has you fearful, though, perhaps Bro can ease your concerns by explaining why he's less worried. They'll also lift your spirits with their annual gift exchange, and share some cool postcards sent in by you, the listeners.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on Dec. 18, 2018.

Alison Southwick: This is Motley Fool Answers ! I'm Alison Southwick and I'm joined, once again, by Robert Brokamp, personal finance expert here at The Motley Fool. You've been gone for three weeks!

Robert Brokamp: This is true, yes.

Southwick: And one listener noticed! It's true -- one! And wrote in and said, "Where's Bro?" And I said, "I thought you had him." So do you want to tell everyone why you were gone? Why you left us?

Brokamp: The Motley Fool has this quirky little benefit where once a month some employee is randomly chosen to go take off two weeks. It's called "The Fool's Errand." You don't have a choice. You're given $1,000 to spend. I finally [after being here for almost 20 years] won this benefit, so I went to Berlin, which was a fun thing to do, I guess, at Christmastime. The Christmas markets were great. I have a thing about World War II and Cold War history. It was a great trip!

Southwick: That's awesome! Well, I'm glad that you won The Fool's Errand. I'm glad that you had fun. But I'm even more glad that you're back.

Brokamp: Oh, that's so nice! Thank you!

Southwick: We had to make hay from just anywhere. But we did. I mean, they weren't bad, right Rick?

Brokamp: They were fine.

Southwick: They were fine.

Brokamp: I listened to them. They're great!

Southwick: You listened to the show while you were gone?

Brokamp: Well, how else would I know what you guys did?

Southwick: OK. I wouldn't listen to our show, but that's just me. I would want to take a vacation from me. And you. And Rick. Just kidding. So today is a very special episode of Motley Fool Answers where we indulge in all the holiday traditions, including fretting about the stock market. We're also going to exchange gifts, right? All that and more on this week's episode of Motley Fool Answers .


Southwick: Oh, the holidays. Aren't they the best, Bro?

Brokamp: The holidays. They are the best!

Southwick: You mean that in all seriousness.

Brokamp: Yes.

Southwick: That this is your favorite time of year.

Brokamp: It is.

Southwick: And this is the time of year when we get together as family, and we turn off our devices, and let the noise of the world die down and just enjoy peace and love and all those wonderful things.

Brokamp: Yup.

Southwick: And we certainly don't freak out about the stock market.

Brokamp: Absolutely not!

Southwick: So tell me about one of the Brokamp family traditions that you are bringing to our listeners today.

Brokamp: On Christmas Eve there are actually three things that happen in the Brokamp household every year. No. 1, everyone gets new sleepwear. It could be pajamas. It could be robes. It could be onesies. No. 2, we all make food for the reindeer in a nice, big bowl. Who knows what goes in it? Different ingredients -- and then we spread it around. And then No. 3, we read Twas the Night Before Christmas . So we thought we'd do that here for our listeners.

Southwick: Yeah! And I, even though I really love to be attached to my cellphone, see the news that's coming in, and stay on top of things; I am going to set my phone right over here and I'm not going to look at the headlines. I'm just going to enjoy this holiday moment with you. Rick, can we cue some fake fire-crackling noises that we could have, maybe?


Southwick: Here we go.

Brokamp: Here we go. Everyone ready?

Southwick: Are we ready?

Brokamp: Everyone nestled in?

Southwick: Yup!

Brokamp: Here we go.

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a...

[Sound of needle scratching record]

Southwick: The Fed! If it keeps hiking rates it will cause a recession. Bro! Look at this interview on CNBC! "Trump's former economic advisor, Stephen Moore, is saying that we're sunk if the Fed raises rates."

Brokamp: I thought you said we weren't going to look at headlines.

Southwick: I mean, it was just like a little... I just saw it pop up on my phone. It's just a little... I mean but come on! I need to be freaking out about the Fed raising rates, right?

Brokamp: Well, I would say not necessarily. First of all, this is what the Fed does and it has done since the beginning for over 100 years. It lowers rates during an economic recession and then it brings the rates back up during the expansion. And we are in quite an expansion -- the second longest in history -- not that far from being the longest.

The current Fed funds rate is only 2.2%, which is still very low, so when they lowered rates and then raised them back up after the dot.com crash, the Fed funds rate got to over 5%. There were times in the '90s when it was over 10%. Times in the '80s it was almost 15%. So we're still at a very low Fed funds rate.

Are they trying to tamp down things a little bit to keep inflation in check? Absolutely. Will it affect the economy? Will it possibly affect your stocks? Absolutely. But it won't be catastrophic.

I think it's also important to know that often what is not so good for one part of your portfolio [in this case stocks] can be good for other parts of your portfolio [in this case cash]. Because the Fed has been raising rates, we are finally now at a point where earning something... Robinhood just announced they are going to start paying 3% on cash, which is getting up to the historical average.

And the final thing I'll say about this is Stephen Moore is a right-leaning pundit, he's not necessarily an expert, and he has a political agenda for what he says. He's been known, somewhat, to play fast and loose with the facts and you could choose a pundit anywhere along the political spectrum and you can say the same thing about them. So whenever you see a headline from someone with a political agenda, just take it with a big grain of salt.

Southwick: OK. All right. You can keep reading. I'll put my phone away.

Brokamp: I can keep reading? OK. All right, everyone. Here we go.


The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds; while...

[Sound of needle scratching record]

Southwick: The housing boom is already gigantic! How can it last? Bro, look at what Robert Shiller wrote for The New York Times . He says we are "experiencing one of the greatest housing booms in United States history." How long will it last and where is it headed? Next to impossible to know. If Shiller doesn't know, no one knows!

Brokamp: Well, indeed, the Nobel Prize-winning Shiller is a bit of a smarty-pants when it comes to these things. He's the co-creator of the Case-Shiller housing index. Known for anticipating the dot.com bubble and crash, as well as the housing bubble and crash. Whenever Robert Shiller says something, I pay attention. And coincidentally, I read the same article.

Southwick: And you didn't freak out like me?

Brokamp: I did not freak out like you, but here are the facts. Since housing prices bottomed in 2012, they've gone up 53% nationwide. Adjusted for inflation it's a little less than 40%. That's a big jump over a span of about seven years or so, and he points out that this is the third biggest boom in history. The biggest was the one we went through that ended in 2006 and it was followed by a 35% crash in home prices, as well as the Great Recession. The other time was from 1942 to 1947. The end of World War II. GIs coming home. The baby boom and stuff like that.

But after that, housing prices actually didn't crash. If you read "Calculated Risk," a blog by Bill McBride [which is my favorite economics blog], he points out that if you look at different statistics, different historical information for housing booms and busts, that there are a couple of others with bigger price increases than what we've seen in the '70s and '80s, and in those times housing prices didn't crash.

So I'm not too worried about it. Really, I think a lot of our perception about home prices has been colored by what happened during the Great Recession. It was very unique because it was the first nationwide crash in housing prices; but it was also unique because it was the only time when housing prices declined and the stock market declined.

There's research from Mark Hulbert that looked at the 20 bear markets in the stock market over the last 65 years. He found that when stocks go down home prices tend to go up. So historically, in most cases, home prices are actually a good hedge against stock prices.

So I'm not too concerned about it. When it comes to housing, I always look at it as an asset and not an investment, meaning that it's something that I put on my balance sheet. It is something that you can definitely use in retirement, whether by downsizing or as a reverse mortgage. I don't look at it as an investment. I don't get too concerned about whether my home price is up or down. I just look at it as something that, as long as it fits within my budget, I enjoy it and know that in the future I can use it if I need it.

Southwick: OK. I guess I feel a little bit better. And more peaceful, now.

Brokamp: Well, that's good!

Southwick: You can keep going.

Brokamp: OK! All right, here we go.


And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,

When what to my wondering eyes did appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight...

[Sound of needle scratching record]

Southwick: "A Bear Market is Already Here for Most Major Global Stocks." Bro! This article from Bloomberg says that 52% of companies in the MSCI World Index are down by more than 20% from their 52-week high.

Brokamp: Wow! Well...

Southwick: Oh, did that shake you? Did that actually rattle you a little bit?

Brokamp: No, not necessarily! This index looks at stocks all over the world, including the U.S. And when you look at the U.S. -- as of the taping of this episode which is December 14th -- the S&P 500 is down a little bit at a price basis, but when you throw in dividends it's about flat. Small caps and midcaps are a little lower. They're down about 5% for the year.

But when you look internationally, it's been a rougher year. International stocks are down anywhere from 12-15% depending on what you're looking at. The worst countries this year are Turkey and Russia. They're down 20%.

These are the indexes, and most indexes are weighted by market cap, which means they're strongly influenced by the biggest companies. What this article did was look at all the stocks individually. And it's true that the majority of stocks are actually down 20% which, by definition, is bear-market territory.

So, am I concerned about that? Not necessarily, because when stocks go down, there are better values. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal found that globally stocks, valuation-wise, are now at five-year lows. Lower valuations mean a higher [prospect] of future returns, which is always a nice thing.

But it also shows the need for diversification. This year international stocks are lagging US stocks. In 2017 it was the opposite. International stocks greatly outperformed. So I'm not too worried when I have some things that are doing OK, some things are up [like cash], and some things are down significantly, because that's what happens with a diversified portfolio.

One of my favorite quotes about asset allocation comes from a...

Southwick: There are so many to choose from.

Brokamp: It's a tough choice, but this one comes from a financial advisor in Pennsylvania named Lou Stanasolovich and he says if you're not losing money somewhere in your portfolio you're not diversified enough. So I'm OK with some things being down, especially in the context of where we've been. Over the last 10 years, the S&P 500 has grown something like 14% a year. Even international stocks have grown 8% a year. We've had a really good run. It's OK for things to take a little bit of a break.

Southwick: OK, all right. I feel a little better.

Brokamp: Do you? Good. I'm glad to hear that.

Southwick: I guess you can keep going.

Brokamp: All right, here we go.


With a little old driver so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf...

[Sound of needle scratching record]

Southwick: So much for the Santa rally. Trump's trade war is sending the S&P 500 toward its worst December since 2002. Bro, even Santa can't save us! Look at this headline from Business Insider . It says that we're going to have the worst December in 16 years and that there will be no Santa rally this year. Look at this sad photo of a sad man in a sad suit and a Santa hat. There's just too much sad! The hat isn't enough!

Brokamp: I looked at that picture and I think it's Art Cashin, so those of you who know Art Cashin from UBS know he's on CNBC every day. Just imagine him sad and in a Santa hat.

So here's the deal. December, traditionally, is actually a really good month in terms of its average annual return, but also it is the best month in terms of percentages with a gain. Since 1950, December has made money 75% of the time. So at this point in December, halfway through, we're actually down 5.5%. That is a bit of a shock.

But that's where that 25% comes in and the lesson, of course, is regardless of what's happened in the past, the future can always be different or something that is historically a low-probability event can happen. Now that said, we do have the Santa rally. Now the Santa rally technically happens the last five trading days after Christmas and then the first two trading days of January.

Southwick: We've got time.

Brokamp: We've got time to recover. Historically this was discovered in 1969 by the guy who writes the Stock Trader's Almanac , and the Santa rally makes money something like 80% of the time. So, who knows? We still might end up with a good December which would then make at least the S&P 500 put us in positive territory for the year.

But we don't know if that's going to happen, so you just hold on through it. If there's money you need to spend at the end of December, you should probably have it in cash. But generally speaking, I don't pay much attention to what might happen or what might not happen from month to month, because I'm not going to retire for another 20 years and that's all I care about.

Southwick: [Sighs] OK, I do feel a lot better!

Brokamp: Do you feel a lot better?

Southwick: And it's not just the eggnog kicking in. Let's finish it. Take us home, Bro!

Brokamp: All right. Here we go!


He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight-

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"



Southwick: Bro, it's time once again! It's our annual self-indulgent trading of gifts where we subject our listeners to us giving each other gifts and telling each other how much we appreciate each other. Sorry! It's our show! Whoa!

Brokamp: There you go.

Southwick: What is going on?

Brokamp: Rick, yours is behind the red phone, there, underneath my jacket.

Rick Engdahl: Ooh, sneaky!

Brokamp: Yeah.

Southwick: All right.

Brokamp: Here we go!

Southwick: Who do we want to go first?

Brokamp: Well, here. You can go first with mine.

Southwick: I see you have plopped a Kinder Joy egg on top of here.

Brokamp: It's Star Wars .

Southwick: It's Star Wars , because you always give a Star Wars gift. There's got to be a little something Star Wars here. And we also have what looks like wrapping paper of Bro... putting... his foot...

Brokamp: Yup!

Southwick: ... that's his foot on the copier. It's color, so it's really quite vivid. And then we also have what looks like his ear. You put your ears -- both of them -- on the copier. There's some fingers. So basically Bro's body parts are all over my present.

Brokamp: But it's not just the body parts, so once the copy arm goes, you do different motions. I think it's quite artistic.

Southwick: It is quite artistic. I almost feel too bad about ripping it open.

Brokamp: [laughs] Almost.

Southwick: So I'll take a picture.

Engdahl: I got a nipple!

Southwick: You did not!

Brokamp: I saved that for Rick's.

Southwick: Did you do this in the office?

Brokamp: I did. There's three of them, there, by the way, if you look at that one picture.

Southwick: So you were in the office putting body parts, including...

Brokamp: Yes...

Southwick: I don't even want to say the "N" word on the air. Like did anyone see you? Ooh, that's another one!

Engdahl: It's three.

Southwick: Did you deliberately put three on there?

Brokamp: Well, I just slid my chest. I mean, you just never know. You never know what's going to happen.

Southwick: So was it 07:00 in the morning?

Brokamp: No, it was like 11:30 AM today.

Southwick: 11:30 AM...

Brokamp: In the morning.

Southwick: ... so during work hours...

Brokamp: During work hours...

Southwick: ... you went to one of the copiers at The Motley Fool and started putting...

Brokamp: I was photocopying my...

Southwick: ... making body parts...

Brokamp: ... shirtless upper body.

Southwick: Did you at least wipe it down when you were done?

Brokamp: Yeah, with my upper body.

Southwick: Oh! All right, should I go for it?

Brokamp: Go for it!

Southwick: I do feel bad about ripping your paper. Is it OK if I rip that apart?

Brokamp: That's all right. There are more photocopiers where that came from.

Southwick: It's going to be a box of just more of these, isn't it?

Brokamp: It's a whole book!

Engdahl: Framed.

Southwick: Framed.

Brokamp: Framed.

Southwick: Oh! It's more Star Wars stuff.

Brokamp: It is the classic 1997 game...

Southwick:Acquisitive! What?

Brokamp: ... of Star Wars Trivia.

Southwick: Oh, how cool!

Brokamp: And yes, there are videos on YouTube of dudes playing this retro Star Wars Trivia game.

Southwick: Wow! Look at this. It's so big!

Brokamp: I'll show you how it works there.

Southwick: Cool! Oh, and you have more quiz books.

Brokamp: Yup!

Southwick: Where'd you get this?

Brokamp: At a yard sale.

Southwick: I love it! Did you see it and you're like...?

Brokamp: That's for Alison!

Southwick: Ha! I love it! And then did you make a t-shirt?

Brokamp: I made a t-shirt.

Southwick: So you made a Motley Fool Answers t-shirt with Bro saying, "I have dyno arms," and me saying, "Whatever, it's fine."

Brokamp: That's kind of Alison's phrase.

Engdahl: Very nice.

Southwick: I say "Whatever, it's fine" all the time in our planning meetings.

Brokamp: Whatever! It's fine!

Southwick: Whatever! It's fine! Thank you, Bro! This is very thoughtful!

Brokamp: You're welcome!

Southwick: I love it! All right, Rick. Your turn.

Engdahl: Alison, if you can see through the glass there's a Star Wars Operation game on my end. And we've got, apparently, Chewbacca pulling Porgs out of his own lap, I think? I'm not really quite sure what's going on.

Southwick: What? Oh, so is the body Chewbacca?

Brokamp: Yeah, the body is Chewbacca. It's mostly Porgs, but there are other body parts and things that you'll pull out of Chewbacca.

Southwick: Oh, how funny. Aw!

Engdahl: You know that I'm a fan of Porgs.

Brokamp: That's exactly why I got that.

Engdahl: Ever since I found out that the reason there are Porgs in the Star Wars movie is because when they were filming on the Skellig Island or whatever it was [off the coast of Ireland], there were puffins there and since they are a protected species they couldn't do anything to get rid of the puffins. The puffins had to be there, so they're in the shot. They just sent it over to the CGI guys and said, "Can you do something with these puffins," and they made them into Porgs.

Brokamp: Oh, my God!

Southwick: I didn't know that!

Engdahl: That's why there are Porgs in the movie.

Brokamp: That is so funny.

Engdahl: And if you now watch the movie, you'll be more delighted by the Porgs because you just see them as little puffins walking around.

Brokamp: Because you can imagine those are real-life things. They don't look exactly like those, but there's something like those on that island.

Southwick: Aw! Nice! Yes, and now our listeners definitely know that we are all big Star Wars nerds...

Brokamp: We are Star Wars nerds.

Southwick: ... here at Motley Fool Answers .

Engdahl: Let me bring something in for you guys. I have to say I went with a theme for the presents I bought, and the theme... is... cheap, silly things that reminded me of you that you can easily regive to your children.

Brokamp: Outstanding!

Southwick: [Claps hands] Whoopee cushion! Whoopee cushion!

Brokamp: Oh, it's wrapped! I like the wrapping!

Southwick: Ooh, is this fancy wrapping with deer on it.

Brokamp: Oh, the Wacky Wavy Inflatable Tube guy! Outstanding for my desk!

Southwick: That's so perfect for you!

Brokamp: It is perfect for me! I'm a big Family Guy fan, so this is just perfect.

Southwick: Oh, cool! This is a little Pokémon ball, and it's a LEGO Pokémon thing!

Engdahl: You taught me how to play Pokémon GO , Alison. I always think of you when I see Pokémon .

Southwick: Gosh, our listeners now know that I'm the biggest nerd in the world.

Brokamp: The best nerd! Best nerd. Best nerd in the world!

Southwick: This is great! Hanna's going to love this!

Engdahl: They might have had a clue already. Maybe.

Southwick: Maybe. The secret's out. Awesome! Thank you! Aw! All right. So for you guys... as we know, Bro loves a good holiday tradition...

Brokamp: I do.

Southwick: ... from around the world. So last year I gave you a book about the 12 lads. The 12 Christmas Lads or something like that?

Brokamp: It was fascinatingly entertaining.

Southwick: It was fascinating. It's like a Scandinavian tradition of every night a different troll-like creature comes and messes with you eventually...

Brokamp: And suckles the pigs, and all these horrible things.

Southwick: That's really weird. So I made a book for Bro and then Rick was like, "I wanted a book, too," so then I made one for Rick, too. And so this year I was like, "OK, I'm just going to make you guys the same thing." And so what I have for you, today, is the holiday tradition of the Caga Tió. Have you heard of the Caga Tió?

Brokamp: No.

Southwick: It comes from the Catalan region of Spain. In this part of Spain they don't believe in Santa. They don't believe Santa comes and brings gifts on Christmas Eve. They believe that the Three Wise Men eventually come and bring gifts after Christmas, but on Christmas Eve who delivers gifts to you is the Caga Tió. This is your tradition of how the Caga Tió works.

Caga Tió literally translates to "poop log," and a Caga Tió is essentially a log with a couple of little feet to prop it up. It wears a little hat and what you do is on the night of the feast of the Immaculate Conception -- does that sound like a thing?

Brokamp: It's in early December.

Southwick: So it's on December 8th or December 9th. You put out your Caga Tió and you treat him like a pet until Christmas Eve. So you set him next to a fire. You put a blanket over him. You feed him every night. You do that every night. You take good care of him and then Christmas Eve comes. And what happens is all the kids get together and take turns hitting the Caga Tió with a stick...

Engdahl: Just like you treat your pets.

Southwick: Just like you treat your pets and recite a song. So there are a number of different songs. Imagine a bunch of little kids with a stick hitting a little creature that looks like if a dog and a log had a baby. Poop log! Poop candy made from almonds or pine nuts. Don't poop sardines. They are too salty. Poop candy. It is better. Poop log. If you don't poop, I will hit you with a stick. Mind you, you are saying this while hitting it with a stick. But whatever.

So then after you say your little song, you reach under the blanket that you have been keeping your Caga Tió warm with, and there's presents there.

Brokamp: Whoa!

Southwick: Your log has pooped presents. So you pull out your little presents. Sometimes it's candy. Maybe it's coins or something. You pull it out from under the blanket and then you keep repeating that until everyone has gotten their present and until the Caga Tió has pooped out either a salted herring or an onion and that tells you the Caga Tió is done.

Brokamp: Goodness gracious!

Southwick: So I have made for you guys each your own little Caga Tió.

Brokamp: Oh, man! Look at that! That is adorable!

Southwick: And I also have your guide, "How to Care for Your Caga Tió."

Engdahl: Is there a stick to hit it with?

Southwick: No, stick not included.

Brokamp: Stick not included.

Southwick: I think it's kind of mean to hit it with a stick, anyway. So it's just adorable...

Brokamp: That is adorable!

Southwick: So there you go. It's basically a little log with two feet. I gave you a little blanket and I crocheted a little hat for you. So put him by the fire and feed him every night.

Brokamp: All right.

Southwick: And then come Christmas Eve, he's so full because you fed him so much he's just got to poop so badly. Hit him with some sticks and he'll poop presents.

Brokamp: I can't wait!

Engdahl: I can't wait to reach my hand under the blanket. That's going to be great!

Southwick: I was making these. Hanna was like, "But how does it eat the candy?" I was like, "Well, we'll just leave out some food for the Caga Tió." I took care of you. I fed your Caga Tiós for you while I was taking care of them in the last week.

Brokamp: Thank you!

Southwick: She was like, "Well, how does it eat?" And I was like, "Oh, it just eats." Of course, in real life the parents are the ones who eat the candy and the food after the kids go to bed, but I was trying to explain it to her. "Oh, it's just magic. It just eats." Anyway, it was fun!

She said, "Well, where do the presents come from?" It was like, "Oh, they pooped presents." She's going to be sad.

Brokamp: She's going to go to school the next day and tell everyone about this.

Southwick: Yeah, but it's amazing! Isn't that fun? Is that a fun little tradition?

Brokamp: That is hilarious!

Southwick: So, there you go. Merry Christmas!

Brokamp: Thank you very much!

Southwick: You get yet another Christmas tradition.

Brokamp: That is outstanding!


Southwick: Because Bro abandoned us for three whole weeks, I held off on reading postcards and boy, did we receive some great ones. Are you ready?

Brokamp: I'm ready!

Southwick: Some of you sent multiple postcards from your amazing journeys, including Melanie who sent postcards from St. Louis, Napa, and Yosemite and the redwoods. She took her son to see the redwoods and she said, "At the end of our three-hour hike, our son turned to me and said, 'I thought they would be bigger.'"

Brokamp: Really? Wow, they are beautiful!

Southwick: Gene and Patti write that they are living The Fool's life. They went to Venice, and Mykonos, and all over Greece. And they wrote that Tuesdays are their favorite day, because it's Answers day. Isn't that sweet?

Brokamp: That is nice!

Southwick: Stocks! Dave sent us cards from Costo Rico. Costo Rico is not a place; however, Costa Rica is and he says that Bro's voice is well-suited for awfulizing.

Brokamp: What does that mean?

Southwick: Our favorite swimmer, Jim, set us cards from the Philippines and Vietnam. Peter sent a card from Budapest.

Brokamp: Oh, beautiful!

Southwick: Kevin sent a postcard from Roswell, New Mexico. It's like an alien on a motorcycle. Marty and Shoots both sent postcards from Wyoming. Shoots is from Sundance Landing which is where the Sundance Kid got his name, apparently. I don't know.

Sean from West Virginia sent a card from Cinque Terre with support from Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans and Harry's.

The Morrow family sent a postcard from Thailand. I haven't opened it up, yet, because I wanted to wait and do it in front of you guys, but it turns into a little elephant.

Brokamp: What?

Southwick: See, you open it up and then there's a model elephant that you can make.

Brokamp: Wow, cool!

Southwick: How cute is that? Isn't that cool? Anthony sent a postcard from Taiwan and it's balsa wood. It turns into a little theater. Like how cool is that? Yes, it's wood. Isn't that fun?

Brokamp: Wow! A wooden theater postcard. Yikes!

Southwick: So many of you go to Hawaii, you should all hang out together when you're out there. So DJ and Kathy sent one. They're visiting their son and they got him listening to our podcast. Hopefully he's still listening to it. Hello DJ and Kathy's son if you are still listening to it!

And then Josh challenged me to see if I could pronounce Awa'awapuhi Trail, which I assume I nailed...

Brokamp: Yes!

Southwick: ... because I listen to a lot of Robi Kahakalau. She's a musician in Hawaii, and so I'm overly confident in my Hawaiian pronunciation as a result. Ri and Jody sent a card from Nashville. And we've got Monica with gorgeous handwriting. She sent a card from Greece. Look at that handwriting!

Fifty billion cents -- a card from Tel Aviv. Talking about sending cards. And Brad... Are you ready for this? We got our first card from Antarctica!

Brokamp: What?!

Southwick: I know! Crazy, huh?

Brokamp: Holy, cow! What is he doing there?

Southwick: Freezing his tail off, I assume.

Brokamp: I guess so.

Southwick: Zing! And then the Smith family sent us their Christmas card. I love being able to see what our listeners actually look like. Look at that beautiful family.

Brokamp: Oh, wow! What cute kids!

Southwick: Isn't that nice?

Brokamp: Thanks, Smith family!

Southwick: Yay! Aw! So Bro, that's the show! It's nice to have you back!

Brokamp: Well, thank you!

Southwick: Just in time for the holidays, huh?

Brokamp: Thank you very much, yes!

Southwick: We are going to be taking the week of Christmas off, listeners, so don't get disappointed. We will return in the New Year, but I need some time off, too. Bro gets three weeks. I should get a little time off, right?

Brokamp: At least.

Southwick: So another of Robert Brokamp's holiday traditions is his holiday music playlist. Bro, tell them what they've won. Tell them your gift to our listeners.

Brokamp: Well, starting in the mid-'90s, but at The Fool in 1999, I used to make out what started out as a mixed tape.

Southwick: Was it really a cassette?

Brokamp: Oh yes, the first one was a cassette.

Engdahl: I still have some.

Brokamp: And then it was a mixed CD of Christmas songs. I don't do it anymore because [a] there are things like Pandora and Spotify and [b] no one has CD players or tape players anymore. But I've put all my favorite songs on one Spotify playlist. It's called Brohoho! Go ahead and listen to it. It's a little quirky. It's a little offbeat. But if that's what you're looking for...

Southwick: Just like you!

Brokamp: ... that's the place to find it.

Southwick: All right, so there you go!

Engdahl: But they're missing out on the covers that you used to do on the CDs and tapes, which often involved the Xerox machine and body parts.

Southwick: Putting your own body parts. It makes it sound like you're murdering people. But yeah, I have a Brohoho! CD from when I first started here and it's got your face smashed against it, I think.

Brokamp: Yes, classic.

Southwick: So are you, Bro! Well, that's the show! Thank you for listening this long if you're still listening. It's our most self-indulgent show of the year, but it ends up being one of my favorites.

Brokamp: Me too!

Southwick: The show is edited Brohoho-ingly by Rick Engdahl. Our email is Answers@Fool.com . You can also join our Facebook group. Just search for Motley Fool Podcast. It's a closed Facebook group, but just ask and you'll be let in.

If you're looking to give us a Christmas or holiday present, nothing is finer than an iTunes review or wherever you listen to the podcast, so feel free to say some nice words or send us your Christmas cards. I'll take that, too!

Brokamp: We'll take that. That would be great!

Southwick: I love seeing our listeners' faces. So anyway. All right.

Brokamp: What's the address for that?

Southwick: For mailing stuff to us?

Brokamp: Yes.

Southwick: 2000 Duke Street, 2nd Floor, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. All right. For Robert Brokamp, I'm Alison Southwick. Stay Foolish, everybody!

Brokamp: And Happy Holidays!

Alison Southwick has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Rick Engdahl owns shares of FB and NYT. Robert Brokamp, CFP owns shares of FB. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends FB and P. The Motley Fool recommends NYT. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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