After reading When You Are Engulfed in Flames (see my review here), I was in a Sedaris kind of mood, so I picked up my old copy of Holidays on Ice and reread it. This is the third time I’ve read Holidays… and I enjoyed it as much this time as I have in the past.
I think just about all Holidays on Ice readers will tell you that their favorite story in the book is “SantaLand Diaries.” In this rather lengthy vignette, Sedaris snarkily recounts his experiences as a Macy’s elf. It’s convulsively funny; one of those stories that make you accidentally blow snot out of your nose because it causes you to snort with spontaneous nasal guffaws. The story is even better when read by Sedaris. His voice is whispery, high-pitched and odd, and during different parts of the audio version, it either drips with honeyed sarcasm or seethes with soft-spoken disdain. SantaLand Diaries is so popular that it has been adapted into a play. I’d like to see it someday.
Every story in the book is funny, (with the possible exception of “Dinah, the Christmas Whore,” which I’ve never been interested in). My personal favorite is “Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family,” which satirizes those hideous boastful holiday letters that we’ve all received at one time or another. In this story, the letter writer is a frighteningly twee woman who slowly reveals her true colors as the letter progresses. By the end, the reader has no doubt that the woman is totally bonkers. I think “Seasons Greetings…” is quite brilliant in both style and execution. It’s one of Sedaris’ best.
If you’re one of the two or three people left in the world who haven’t yet read this, get yourself a copy and get started. It’s easy and breezy and a whole lot of fun!
Here’s an audio youtube clip of Sedaris reading from SantaLand Diaries. Do you hear what I mean about his voice?