Holidays on Ice

Written By: David Sedaris

Published By:
Little, Brown and Company

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            When my friend initially sent me Holidays on Ice, I blinked at the cover - a Christmas glass filled with alcohol...a double shot if you will.  I realized that this was going to be one of those tongue-in-cheek holiday tales well-suited for my sick sense of humor.  I decided to postpone reviewing it until the holiday season was truly upon us.

Holidays on Ice features five stories set during the holiday season.  In the first tale, SantaLand Diaries, we are told the tale of a thirty-three year old man who traveled to New York to get into show business.  Unfortunately while he would have loved to have landed a show biz gig right away, he had to settle for something that would allow him to eat daily and so, he found himself applying for the role of one of Santa's elves at the Macys on Herald Square SantaLand Diaries is the story of his experience, offering readers a hilarious behind the scenes view of SantaLand, the elves, the various Santas and the whole bring your kid to see Santa at Macys experience.

The second story, Season's Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!, is a holiday update letter - you know the kind: the one you receive from certain family members who never talk to you during the year, but feel the need to update you on every one of their achievements just in time for Christmas.  Have you ever noticed that no one ever really tells you the bad things that have happened to them in those Christmas update letters.  Well, this letter is the exact opposite of what you would expect to find in your Christmas mail this year.

In Dinah, The Christmas Whore, we are treated to a tale about a young man and his sister and their Christmas adventure.  When this would-be television writer/producer gets into the car on his sister's eighteenth birthday (just four days before Christmas), he is completely unprepared for what his sister has gotten him into...and just what they'll be bringing home for Christmas.

In Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol , the author expounds on all of those horrible holiday plays and pageants we are forced to endure this time of year.  By far the shortest of the stories in this book, it is the one that will probably hit closest to home.  You'll find yourself nodding with a lopsided grin at the author's wisdom regarding this topic.

Based Upon a True Story is a Christmas morning speech offered up by a cable channel executive offered up instead of a sermon at the local small town church.  Apparently, a member of the town performed a selfless, albeit downright insane, act this year and this executive is willing to do anything to get his hands on the story ahead of next year's holiday season...including bribing the preacher to allow him to take his place at the pulpit.

The final story in this book is Christmas Means Giving.  This is the slogan of a well-off family whose idea of giving means giving the biggest and the best to themselves...that is, until a new neighbor comes to town and changes everything.  Christmas Means Giving offers new meaning to competition between neighbors.  You know what I'm talking about - one neighbor has a certain Christmas display and the other has to make theirs bigger and better.  This, of course, causes the first neighbor to increase their display and so on and so on.  Well, we're not talking Christmas displays here, but something much more disturbing.

Holidays on Ice is absolutely hysterical from start to finish.  My favorite tales are SantaLand Diaries and Season's Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!! - SantaLand Diaries because I can totally understand this man's pain and the silliness of it all and Season's Greetings because I, too, have gotten one too many of these letters and have often thought of spoofing one myself.  If you have a sick sense of humor like I do...or even a moderate sense of humor for that matter...then Holidays on Ice is just what the doctor ordered for this holiday season!


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