NICOLE RICHIE talks to Sasha Sagan about her long, happy relationship with a very common, very strange custom.

We’ll also hear from experimental psychologist DR. ROHAN KAPITANY, a specialist in rituals and supernatural beliefs, about this and other lesser deities who populate the minds of our children—usually because we put them there ourselves.

Episode excerpts

NICOLE RICHIE: Drinking eggnog is a big weird tradition that I am obsessed with. I don’t even know if I like it. But I’ve just been drinking it since I was five years old.

SASHA SAGAN: Isn’t that funny? We were at a restaurant the other night and there was eggnog gelato. And I was like, I don’t think I’ve ever even tasted it. Is there alcohol on it? And my husband was like, “No, I mean, there can be…” I said, “What is the flavor?” I mean, the whole conceit of this podcast is “How would you explain things to an alien?” But with Christmas, I really do feel like I’m the alien. That question, Do I actually like this? Do I like the flavor of this? Do I like the look of this? Or is it just so ingrained in my mind, so braided up with joy, that it’s the association rather than the thing itself? It’s such a deep question.

NICOLE: I definitely feel that it is the association, which I really love. And I am fine to own that. This association bringing you back to that pure, childhood version of yourself once a year is really important for our spirits. So I’m okay with that. I’m okay with me not even knowing if I like eggnog or not, but still drinking it because it’s making me feel pure and young and full of joy.

SASHA: the other thing that’s so amazing about [this minor god] is that it’s a kind of conspiracy of adults, I mean that in a positive way. All the adults are getting together and really creating a conspiracy for the unwitting children. And I think there’s something so fascinating about how skeptical we naturally are as children, and how we start to piece things together.

NICOLE: Every parent on the planet is focused on how do I bring my kid joy. And there’s something really beautiful about every person in a community in the winter looking up at the sky and watching the snow, and being like wow, this is so beautiful. That shared experience. We get we only get a few times in our lives like that where everybody cares about one thing.