A short collection of essay
s written by David Sedaris
. Published in 1997, this collection contains essays written and compiled at the request of his publishers Little, Brown and Company.
for this collection
was the broadcast of his essay "Santaland
" where he recounts his experiences as a Christmas Elf
for two seasons at
It was broadcast originally in a condensed format on NPR
's Morning Edition
and generated a vast amount of tape requests (the second largest in the history of the show). Years later a more complete version was broadcast on PRI
"This American Life
" during their 1996
Christmas show called "Christmas and Commerce
" (This show can be heard in realaudio
format at www.thislife.com - under '96 on shows by year – it's worth a listen).
The publishers, impressed by the popularity of the broadcast, asked him to write a series of Christmas stories.
David was not interested in being associated solely with Christmas so he decided that the best way to prove this was to write the most unusual and dreadful stories he could
Thus came "Holidays On Ice" – the cover of which has a whiskey on the rocks in a holiday glass. Three stories from this collection can also be found at the
"This American Life" website. Excerpts were read by David, Julia Sweeney, and Matt Molloy. The episode is called "A Very Special Sedaris Christmas" and was broadcast on
December 19, 1997 (also amazingly funny).
The essays are:
The following is my favorite excerpt from "SantaLand Diaries"
"We were packed today, absolutely packed, and everyone was cranky. Once the line gets long we break it up into four different lines because anyone in their right mind would leave if the knew it would take over two hours to see
Santa. Two hours – you could see a movie in two hours. Standing in a two hour line makes people worry that they're not living in a
democratic nation. People stand in line for two hours and they go over the
edge. I was sent into the hallway to direct the second phase of the line. The hallway was packed with people, and all of them seemed to stop me with a question: which way to the down
escalator, which way to the elevator, the Patio Restaurant, gift wrap, the
women's rest room, Trim-A-Tree. There was a line for Santa and a line for the women's bathroom, and one woman, after asking me a
dozen questions already asked, "Which is the line for the women's bathroom?" I shouted that I thought it was the line with all the women in it.
She said, "I'm going to have you fired."
I had two people say that to me today, "I'm going to have you fired." Go ahead, be my guest. I'm wearing
a green velvet costume; it doesn't get any worse than this. Who do these people think they are?
"I'm going to have you fired!" And I wanted to lean over and say,
"I'm going to have you killed."