Posted by: chartroose | January 6, 2009

Holidays on Ice

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?



  1. I read this for the first time this year. Loved it! Besides Santaland Diaries, I liked the story with the families always trying to one-up each other. It just seemed so holiday-appropriate. 🙂


  2. Yay! Chartroose is back – I hope you had a good holiday. I listened to Holidays on Ice and loved it. His voice is perfect for narrating the stories.

  3. I’ve only read Naked. Uh oh. That sentence is almost as good as “I’m reading Naked right now.” but it was a couple of years ago. I’ll get to this eventually.

  4. My favorite is Season’s Greetings…too. That story is friggin hilarious and it’s just genius. However, my favorite moment of the book is him singing Christmas carols a la Billie Holiday. Have you heard that part on the audio book? I nearly died.

  5. Thanks, everyone!

    No, Chris, I haven’t heard the audio version. I’m going to have to snag a copy one of these days.

  6. Hey, welcome back! And Happy 2009!

  7. I have read only one book by Sedaris which I liked. I am waiting to read his other books, maybe i’ll start with this one.

  8. Welcome back!! How was the trip?

    I’ve read part of Me Talk Pretty One Day but that’s all the Sedaris I’ve consumed to date. SOunds like this is a funny one.

  9. “Santaland Diaries” was the first Sedaris book I’d ever read. In fact I don’t think I’d heard of him before that so it turned out to be a real treat. Oh man, now I wish I could rewind the holidays so I can do a seasonal re-read like you. Ah well, there’s always this year… 🙂

  10. After listening to his voice I wanna grab this book on audio – his vocal accent is really great.

  11. I haven’t yet read anything by Sedaris, oops!

  12. I haven’t read anything by him yet either. Thanks for that clip! I might get an audiobook read by him, rather than picking up a paper copy.

  13. Ahh, I *heart* him. I haven’t yet read this collection, but it’s only a matter of time.

  14. I LOVE David Sedaris, and I’m glad to see he’s getting so much love in the blogging world! There have been many a time that I’ve annoyed quite a few people with my loud and (I’ll admit it!) obnoxious laughter at some of the funniest portions of the book! I’m glad you enjoyed it, and you’ve but me back in a Sedaris mood!

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