Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Tale of Two Christmases


Before a flight home for Christmas a few years ago, I downloaded the audiobook of David Sedaris' Holidays on Ice. (I love his writing, but I love it even more when he reads it aloud.) It was definitely the best/most hilarious flight home I've ever had. I laughed out loud! By myself! On an airplane! Anyway, two of Sedaris' Santa-related stories have stuck with me and I wanted to share some of my favorite bits. Like I said, they're better when he reads them, so I've included audio links as well.


From SantaLand Diaries, when Sedaris worked as an elf at Macy's SantaLand:

Again this morning I got stuck at the Magic Window, which is really boring. I'm supposed to stand around and say, "Step on the Magic Star and you can see Santa!" I said that for awhile and then I started saying, "Step on the Magic Star and you can see Cher!"

And people got excited. So I said, "Step on the Magic Star and you can see Mike Tyson!"

Some people in the other line, the line to sit on Santa's lap, got excited and cut through the gates so that they could stand on my Magic Star. Then they got angry when they looked through the Magic Window and saw Santa rather than Cher or Mike Tyson. What did they honestly expect? Is Cher so hard up for money that she'd agree to stand behind a two-way mirror at Macy's?


From Six to Eight Black Men, recalling a conversation with a Dutch man about the Saint Nicholas celebrated in the Netherlands:

Unlike the jolly, obese American Santa, Saint Nicholas is painfully thin and dresses not unlike the pope, topping his robes with a tall hat resembling an embroidered tea cozy. The outfit, I was told, is a carryover from his former career, when he served as a bishop in Turkey.

One doesn't want to be too much of a cultural chauvinist, but this seemed completely wrong to me. For starters, Santa didn't use to do anything. He's not retired, and, more important, he has nothing to do with Turkey. The climate's all wrong, and people wouldn't appreciate him. When asked how he got from Turkey to the North Pole, Oscar told me with complete conviction that Saint Nicholas currently resides in Spain, which again is simply not true.

If you have 15 minutes to kill, listen to him read Six To Eight Black Men, it's worth the time.

Images via the Google Life collection.

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