Monday, December 8, 2008

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

holidays1Holidays on Ice is not my favorite of Sedaris' books, but it's still pretty damn funny. One scene in particular had me unable to stop laughing and I'll post that towards the end. This short tome collects six of Sedaris' Christmas stories. I normally call them "essays" but the majority of these are obviously works of fiction. My favorite story of the bunch is the first one, "SantaLand Diaries", in which Sedaris recounts his time spent as a Christmas elf at Macy's working for Santa. This one was just hilarious as you can imagine. Aiding Santa while he talks to millions of children at a shopping mall is bound to have some incredibly funny moments and I don't doubt that the bulk of this one is true. "Seasons Greetings to our Friends and Family!!!" was another one that had me rolling a few times. This is a Christmas letter that a housewife sends out to all of her friends announcing a recent tragedy, bashing her family, and "welcoming" her newly found Vietnamese step daughter who doesn't speak an ounce of English. We follow those up with stories named "Dinah, the Christmas Whore", "Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol", "Based Upon a True Story", and "Christmas Means Giving" in which two neighbors compete to the extreme to see who can be the most charitable. This is early Sedaris, first published in 1997, and I can say that he's gotten much better over time. This certainly did have it's moments though and if you like to play the scrooge occasionally, you'd enjoy this one. I wouldn't necessarily say my first holiday read got me into the spirit of things, but it sure did make me laugh. Here's my favorite little passage taken from "SantaLand Diaries". Some background info first. When Sedaris worked with one particular Santa, the Santa would try to get him to sing Christmas songs to the children. He did not like this. Here's the results:
Santa Santa said, "Oh, Little Elf, Little Elf, come sing 'Away in a Manger' for us." It didn't seem fair that I should have to solo, so I told him I didn't know the words. Santa Santa said, "Of course you know the words. Come now, Sing!" So I sang it the way Billie Holliday might have sung it if she'd put out a Christmas album. "Away in the manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord, Jesus, lay down his sweet head." Santa Santa did not allow me to finish.
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