Because he is one of my favorite authors, it surprises me how many people still don't know about the awesome hilarity that is David Sedaris. If you’ve never read anything by him, Holidays on Ice is a great introduction, and if you’re already a fan, now is a great time to revisit some of his older (and seasonal) work.
In this collection of essays, Sedaris alternates between his own dark and funny non-fiction and purely fictional holiday-themed humor. If you’ve ever resented that “perfect” family and their annual letters probably filled with half-truths, “Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!” is a highly satisfying read, presenting the downward spiral of the fictional Dunbar family in the form of their increasingly deteriorating annual Christmas letters. In “Santaland Diaries,” Sedaris describes his experiences working as a Christmas elf in a department store, highlighting in a funny/sad way how some parents view their kids as tiresome accessories.
To hear about my personal favorite essay,
My personal favorite, “Dinah the Christmas Wh*re,” is the story of how the Sedaris family found togetherness and Christmas joy when a prostitute named Dinah became their guest of honor. The essay is typical of the sort of dark innocence in Sedaris's writing, as though to say, “Just reporting the facts, folks! Isn't it crazy?!” Sedaris’ offbeat humor may not appeal to everyone, and in truth this isn’t his best work ever. (That would be a toss-up between Naked and Me Talk Pretty One Day.). But as a quick-read during the holidays, this thin volume is the perfect treat.
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