Holidays on ice

by David Sedaris

Paper Book, 1998




Boston : Little, Brown and Company, 1998.


A best-selling classic features six additional works on the joys and embarrassments of favorite holidays, in a volume that includes tales of tardy trick-or-treaters, the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to another culture, and a barnyard Secret Santa scheme gone awry.

Media reviews

I love David Sedaris as he is one of my favorite authors but this is not one of his best books. You should still read
"Holidays on Ice" because it is funny and will make you smile. Holidays are crazy for everyone, no matter what holidays you celebrate and Sedaris reminds us to laugh at them, especially ourselves.
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Publishers Weekly
Here are six Christmas tales sure to please readers new to humorist, playwright and NPR commentator Sedaris--and likely to disappoint his devotees.

User reviews

LibraryThing member tapestry100
Oh, David Sedaris, I know I'm supposed to like your writing. In fact, every single person I know who loves your writing points out that by all accounts, it's exactly the sort of thing that I'd find funny. And I do. Vaguely.

Let me explain. This is the second time that I've read Holidays on Ice. I don't remember being all that impressed with it the first time I read it, but it was so long ago, and people's tastes change over the years, so I thought I'd give it another try. And unfortunately, I still didn't find all of it that funny. The first story, about Secaris's time as a Macy's holiday elf, was good. I truly think this is where Sedaris shines, talking about his personal experiences. He's one of those people that always seems to be in the right place at the right time to witness the most bizarre in the people in the people and situations around him.

It's when he starts in on his fictional stories that he seems to take things just one step too far. The stories always seem to start out funny, but then they just don't stop. He tries to push the envelope of funny and ridiculous every time, and I find myself just skimming through the second half of the story, because it just seems to be the same thing, repeated over and over and over.

Don't get me wrong. I can appreciate the genius that is David Sedaris. I just think that his humor may be one step beyond my comfort zone, and I just have a hard time relating to his style of writing. For his fans, however, I know that this book is a true treasure.
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LibraryThing member lahochstetler
This collection of short stories and essays remind the reader of the complete and utter absurdity of the holidays. The best of the selections is undeniably Sedaris's memoir of working as an elf in the Santa display at Macy's in Manhattan. Tales from the Santa line are just as absurd as one might expect. Sedaris's maligning of children's Christmas pageants is good too. The other stories were not as funny.

This confirms what I've always suspected about Sedaris, which is that he shines in the humorous memoir genre. And really, he is quite a funny man. The non-memoir material means that this is not the strongest of his work. It's good for a holiday chuckle, and probably best for those who have to face crazy holiday relatives, but this is by no means the best of Sedaris.
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LibraryThing member catsigh
Holidays on Ice started strong with The Santaland Diaries. My other favorite was Six to Eight Black Men. Some of the others I wasn't crazy about or I didn't appreciate until later. Christmas Means Giving was the best example of one I didn't like when I read it but in the following days it kept coming to mind when I looked around at the crazed holiday shoppers. I can see me rereading this year after year to inject a little needed sarcasm into an otherwise saccharine sweet or over-commercialized season.… (more)
LibraryThing member annhepburn
I listen to this audiobook at least once every holiday season. While I adore several of the stories, a few others have become skipable in my listening. I just really prefer Sedaris's essays to his fiction. But worth it for "Six to Eight Black Men" as well as his classic essay about working as an elf at Macy's.
LibraryThing member BookConcierge
Barely tolerable, supposedly humorous, essays regarding the holiday season. If my book club hadn't selected it, I wouldn't have finished it.
LibraryThing member clong
Sedaris obviously has quite a following, so I came to this collection with moderately high expectations. Unfortunately I found reading the book only marginally less painful than a root canal. A couple of these ("SantaLand Diaries" and "Dinah, the Christmas Whore") were moderately amusing, but most were solidly in the "painfully unfunny" camp.… (more)
LibraryThing member billlund
I love listening to David Sedaris tell his stories and thought that reading them would be as pleasurable. However, the comedy is in the delivery. I didn't find the written word as entertaining as the spoken word.
LibraryThing member TanyaTomato
Sedaris helps me to realize that the things I think are so depressing about my life are actually damn funny.
LibraryThing member carmarie
David Sedaris again. Like I've said before, he never fails to amaze me! My only disappointment is that the book was larger! When I need a quick laugh...just thumb through any of his'll find a few!
LibraryThing member jjsreads
Short stories. "Front row center with Thaddeus Bristol" is 5 stars.
LibraryThing member chellinsky
What can I say?

This book is largely Sedaris doing what he is good at doing: telling stories that, if told any other way, would not be funny. However, he is able to find and describe humor in a breadth of situations. Holidays on Ice is not Me Talk Pretty One Day. I hoped it would be. However, Holidays jumps and skips and tries to fit stories that seem better as non-holiday stories into a Christmas-story mold. This makes the chapters lack connection and appear forced.

Overall, Holidays is entertaining, even if it is short and a bit disconnected at times.
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LibraryThing member trinityofone
Purchased in the Memphis airport which, awesomely, sells used books. Sedaris’ opening essay, about working as a Macy’s elf at Christmas, certainly delivered the "my flight's delayed" laughs I needed—and we’re talking the usual, must-bite-lip-and-not-appear-psycho-to-strangers kind of laugh-inducement here. Unfortunately, Sedaris is a much better essayist than he is a short story writer; the pieces of fiction that share the volume were much too obvious, totally without the subtlety his non-fiction possesses. If you’re not stuck in an airport, I’d recommend reading the first essay in this volume in the store, then picking up one of Sedaris’ longer, richer, better books.… (more)
LibraryThing member truangel075
This book is beyond the point of funny. It is rewarding to read an author to give the full out truth. Sedaris captures the everyday idiocy found in everyday america. Instead of having a mind set on conformist, Sedaris actually has an individual thought. Sedaris is a role model to the non-conformist and gets kudos for not shaping into a mindless idiot!… (more)
LibraryThing member mritchie56
Very funny collection from a wonderful author; includes Santaland Diaries, but I can't quite give this 5 stars because it doesn't have the even funnier "6 to 8 Black Men," which was written after this collection was published.
LibraryThing member ironicqueery
Nice little book of holiday essay/stories by David Sedaris. "SantaLand Diaries" is probably the best story - telling of Sedaris's experience as a Christmas Elf at Macy's. Learning about the behind the scenes action was enjoyable and humerous. I also enjoyed "Front Row Center" - a review of theatrical performances - well, maybe just typical elementary school Christmas plays. Sedaris treats them no different than other other performance however and the results are funny.… (more)
LibraryThing member rmyoungman
Holiday essays, some of which are in his other collections. This thin tome makes a perfect stocking stuffer (I usually buy 4-5 copies at Christmas for acquaintances.) Includes the incredible Macy's Santaland essay.
LibraryThing member bobshackleton
The first time I heard this story on the radio I was driving to work and had to pull the car over because I was laughing so hard.
LibraryThing member BrianDewey
Sedaris, David. Holidays on Ice. Little, Brown and Company, New York, 1997. A collection of stories from David Sedaris. Like many, I was introduced to Sedaris from his stories on the public radio show This American Life. This collection contains the story The Santaland Diaries, a story of Sedaris's time as a Macy's elf that launched both his popularity and that of Ira Glass's radio show. Alas, the story collection is downhill from there. Sedaris's stories are much darker than I expected, and they just aren't that enjoyable. Plus, they aren't the same when they aren't read in his voice.… (more)
LibraryThing member booksandbosox
I listened to this on audio and it was fantastic. My first adventure into Sedaris' crazy world was definitely a success. I laughed out loud as I was listening and probably looked like a crazy lady while I was driving. "Santa Land Diaries" and "6-8 Black Men" were my favorite stories. I can't wait to read more by Sedaris!
LibraryThing member sweetiegherkin
This slender volume contains six short stories from Sedaris, three previously published, and three new ones. All six stories are in some way connected to Christmas, hence the title and the theme holding the book together. However, some of the stories are based on Sedaris' life while others are based on pure imagination, which makes for an odd shift from story to story. The phrase "Truth is stranger than fiction" comes to mind while reading Sedaris' fictional work. While the saying is trite, it does seem to apply in a sense here. I much prefer Sedaris' memoir style of writing than his fiction. It's not that he's a bad fiction writer; it's just not my cup of tea. Still, the book as a whole made me laugh, and I enjoyed it.… (more)
LibraryThing member ArtsyReader
Having very much enjoyed "Me Talk Pretty One Day," I picked this up with high hopes. Unfortunately, this book was not nearly as funny. The first story, "Santaland Diaries" was the closest to the Sedaris most people love, a hilarious look at his job as a Christmas elf at Macy's. Unfortunately, the rest of the stories in the book were just not funny. Some of them even crossed the line into disturbing. If you've never read Sedaris before, avoid this one, it will taint your view.… (more)
LibraryThing member burningtodd
A collection of short stories that are about the holiday season from a different point of view. I loved this book. Every single story was absolutely fucking hilarium. All were twisted and different. Wonderful wonderful book.
LibraryThing member SirRoger
'SantaLand' and 'Dinah' are classic, but most of the others are quite forgettable. I'd much rather combine the former with Rakoff's 'Christmas Freud,' which should also be classic.
LibraryThing member sproutchild
Read it or listen to the cd; Santaland Diaries is hysterical. Topped only by the Christmas form letter from the crazily retentive suburban mother. D. Sedaris understands my pain at reading the droning list of "milestones" in the Christmas newsletter/bragfest.
LibraryThing member schmadeke
I laughed so much while reading this book that my husband finally gave in and asked, "What in the world are you reading?!?!" Doesn't that say it all? This quick, entertaining collection of essays by David Sedaris is FUNNY.

The book consists of 12 stories that range from darkly comic and macabre to sarcastic, witty accounts of family interactions that most of us can relate to.

The comic range of these essays means that the book will appeal to many different readers in terms of their individual sense of humor. I certainly liked some better than others, but thought the entire collection was very well-written.

My favorite essay was Let it Snow, in which the narrator's mother gets so tired of her kids when they have three snow days in a row that she locks them out of the house. The day progresses, they pound on the windows, and peer inside only to see their mother drinking a glass of wine and pretending not to see or hear them. Okay, so after reading that summary, it probably sounds like she's a neglectful parent, but trust me, to this mom, it is laugh-out-loud funny.

Others I found particularly funny and laugh-inducing were: Jesus Shaves; Dinah, the Christmas Whore; Us and Them; and Six to Eight Black Men. I could try to summarize them here, but I couldn't do them justice. If you're looking for a comical, sarcastic take on holidays, pick up this book and prepare to be entertained.

When the going gets stressful during the coming holiday season, I'll be re-reading my favorite stories from this book.
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