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Holidays on Ice

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  114,417 ratings  ·  5,921 reviews
David Sedaris's beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy's elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris's tales of tardy trick-or-treaters (Us and Them); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French (Jesus Shaves); what to d ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published December 28th 1998 by Little Brown & Co (P) (first published December 1997)
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Greg ALL of Sedaris' books are better, "Naked" being his masterpiece.…moreALL of Sedaris' books are better, "Naked" being his masterpiece.(less)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  114,417 ratings  ·  5,921 reviews

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I feel weird reviewing this book right now because the honest truth is: I really genuinely did not like it. And yet I’ve been called out recently by a bunch of helpful strangers on Goodreads for not liking their favorite books—this asshole telling me I should avoid all literary fiction, this one here saying that my problem is with fiction in general—and I fear I’m going to develop a reputation for hating books, and then Otis will kick me off Goodreads and all the mean girls in the Feedback Group ...more
Dec 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
To the tune of “Frosty the Snowman”

Da-vid Se-daris
Was a writer oh-so-droll
With a quirky style and take on life
That will put you on the floor.

Da-vid Se-daris
Writes the weirdest stuff you’ll see
About the Christmas whore and the Macy’s elves
And deathly children’s pageantry.

There must have been some crazy
In the Sedaris family tree
‘Cause David ain’t the only one
Have you seen his sister Amy?

Oh! Da-vid Se-daris!
Can your stories all be true?
It matters not when you write as hot
As in Holidays on Ice!
Nov 21, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: humor, rorysbooklist
After reading the first short story, I thought this was going to be a delightful book. "SantaLand Diaries," after all, had me rolling down the isle of the plane on which I was reading it... Okay, I was just giggling constantly with frequent bursts of loud laugher interspersed. No rolling, but still very humiliating on the whole. At any rate, I came home in a dither to read the other stories as well. Ugh. Appalling. Not a single chuckle among them. Worse, they were gross, often offensive (and I d ...more
2.5 to 3 stars - rounded up to 3 on the official rating to give Sedaris the benefit of the doubt.

I did not enjoy this quite as much as previous Sedaris titles I have read. While it contained the cynicism I have come to expect from him, it seemed to overpower the humor a lot more than usual. So, instead of being amused, I was left feeling uncomfortable.

Also, since this is a much shorter compilation of holiday related stories, it did not have the full satisfaction of one of his full length books
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

If you follow my reading, you’re probably wondering what the hell could have happened to make me rate a Sedaris selection less than every Star. Well, lemma tell ya.

Although I was aware that this is a collection of items pulled from other Sedaris books, many may not so it will appear to be a money grab . . . which it totally is. I don’t really care, though, since (1) I got it from the library so it cost me zero dollars and (2) David Se
Jason Koivu
Jun 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: comedy, humor
Holidays on Ice puts David Sedaris on ice by breaking up this book into fiction and non-fiction. Sedaris riffing on real life is where it's at. His fictional short stories often include his sarcastic wit, but lack the personal connection of his diary-style work. Herein you get a mishmash of holiday-based anecdotes and stories. His "Santa Land Diaries" made him a household name. Then there are also a few selections that rope in his oddball family. Those are my favorites, and I would guess the fav ...more
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook, 2019-reads
I didn't find this audiobook engaging or funny. I kept listening hoping it would get better (and it's short). Perhaps he's just not the author for me with the exception of last year's Calypso, a book that I found excellent, especially on audio. ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just the kind of book to get me into the spirit of Christmas (no sarcasm intended).
Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
Beware. This is a slapped together collection, packaged with a thin holiday theme. The SantaLand diaries are hilarious, the others range from awful to mediocre. There is no reason to read this book as SantaLand is found elsewhere. Thank goodness I still have a few of Sedaris' "legitimate" books to read. ...more
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio, 2020, non-fiction
I listened to this in audiobook format, narrated by Sedaris, as usual. The Santaland Diaries, the first set of vignettes, was quite long and hilarious. Unfortunately, I didn't find any of the other vignettes funny at all. ...more
I always get David Sedaris and Dave Eggers confused for some reason. Until now, I've never read anything by either of them, but I can't remember who it is that everyone seems to hate. Sedaris? Eggers? Both? I had planned to read this a year ago, but forgot I had it. I thought I'd better read it now during the holidays so I wouldn't have to wait another year to get to it--I can never watch Christmas movies or read holiday stories when it's not Christmas; it's depressing.

Anyway, this was a perfect
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
In 2004 I was in a relationship where partner and I had very different ideas of what the holidays should look like. He's all about family and one-up-manship in the category of who brought the most unique/popular gift and who created the best dish for the potluck end of the Christmas meal.
Me, I'd rather vacate. So I packed up the dog this one year and drove to a secret get-away for Christmas alone. (Think "ahhh," not "awww") His gift to me was this book on CD, which I listened to during the 3 ho
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it

My mother was a little crazy.

She saw people looking through our windows, heard them whispering under our porch, spotted private family conversations in the newspaper, unexpectedly screamed profanity at people who looked suspicious (sometimes while we were in a restaurant or some other very public location), and thought the writing on trucks and other vehicles that passed us on the road were coded messages just for her. … It was a bit creepy.

My father didn’t help. Rather than acknowledging my mo
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ahhh, yes. It finally feels like the Holidays now that I’ve reread this one .... listening to “Six to Eight Black Men” three times. 😆 I like most of these stories, but as usual with Sedaris, the darkly humorous personal essays are the best.
Lori Keeton
This is the first David Sedaris for me. I understand that these stories have previously been published except for one, so I can see how that would be disappointing for those who wanted more original stories to read. I listened to this which was a great idea since Sedaris reads the stories himself. The best story for me was Santaland Diaries. Such a fun and hilarious story of his experiences and observations working as an elf at Macy’s. The other stories we’re a mixed bag of fiction and not all h ...more
Dec 11, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Recommended to Shannon by: Jeannine
There were only three stories in this collection that I didn't absolutely despise; Santaland Diaries, Dinah the Christmas Whore, and 6 to 8 Black Men were the only ones that were even remotely funny. The rest I honestly wish I had never read. I'd suggest reading these in the store or borrowing the book from the library if you really want to read it. Don't waste your money on this collection, especially the hardcover version, unless you really want to spend money on stories about a baby killed in ...more
Melissa Rose
I may be in the minority when I admit that I had never read/listened to a David Sedaris book before; despite hearing wonderful things about him. So, when I decided to pick up Holidays on Ice, I was unsure what to expect. After finishing the collection, I’ve concluded that I, for the most part, enjoyed the essays - "Santaland Diaries" and "Six to Eight Black Men" are two stories that had me rolling with laughter.

However, there were also many essays and stories that were boring or slightly distur
So it might be a little cruel of me to review a book about Christmas when Christmas is off most of our radars, but, hey, there's still snow on the ground where I live so I'm allowing myself this review.

Like most people, I have often laughed at the strange humor David Sedaris illuminates in his past books, Naked being the funniest, IMO. When I was given a copy of HOLIDAYS ON ICE I knew what I was about to get into, so it sat on my shelves for a few months. On a whim, I plucked it from the mass o
Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
I'm afraid my book-selection privileges will be revoked by my book club for choosing this one.

I enjoy David Sedaris, in part because of his constant vigilance for finding the worst in people. Exploring the darker side of man makes for funny personal essays.

But when he turns to fiction, he has absolute creative control over his subjects. Instead of reporting on someone's shortcomings, he's inventing them. Perhaps this power is too much - he can't seem to help but create the worst imaginable scen
Jun 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories, essays
Okay. Let it be said: "Santaland Diaries," the first essay of this book, is wonderful. But the rest of the book is basically filler; this was before Sedaris found his niche (humor essayist), and it really shows. He should never, ever write fiction, for example, and yet he tries to here. The results are not pretty, or even very readable.

It's also notable that half of the pieces in this short book have appeared in other collections of his. So, really, this is not worth buying; get "Santaland Diari
Dec 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I guess my funny bone is broken or I'm not drunk enough, because after the first story I could not hardly stomach the rest of the stories. My first one star rating. If you are looking for a dark Christmas comedy, "The Stupidest Angel", was in my opinion, head and shoulders better than this mess. ...more
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio
A short audio compilation of stories published elsewhere and some odd fiction. Just okay for me. Two were brilliant,but I’ve already heard them. So, it’s a no.
Holidays on Ice is great right down to the cover which features an alcoholic beverage with ice in in it (adorable and much like my family's holidays). It features Christmas themed stories some his holiday experiences, others just featuring his talent as a writer. Santa land Diaries is the first essay and it is the star of this show. These are journal entries from when David at the age of 33 worked as an elf at Macy's the age of 33.
It chronicles the insane parents, the unfortu
Rebecca Renner
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
"SantaLand Diaries" is my favorite Sedaris story, bar none. And it's perfect for this time of year! Ah, refreshing cynicism. ...more
A collection of humorous short stories. Years ago I saw someone perform a one-man show of Santaland Diaries and I howled with laughter. I wanted to read this for that story. It's a brilliant and funny story. Sedaris seems very Jaded. I found another story that had me coughing up a lung in my car with laughter Six to Eight Black men. That story was too much. He recounts how other countries describe their idea of Santa and the Netherlands takes the cake. He also goes into hunting laws and how the ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is a reread for me, although this version has a few more new stories.

Sedaris's version of the holidays is a comfort in a world saturated with sentimentality during Christmas. He pushes the limits, and hearing it in his voice is the way to go.

"The Santaland Diaries" feels like the greatest classic, about being a seasonal Macy's elf.

"Six to Eight Black Men" was my favorite this time around, about how Christmas traditions are different in Holland, and how political correctness tends to alter t
Timothy Urges
Not Sedaris’ best.
This is my first David Sedaris, and it won't be my last. He's been recommended to me on the fringes for a while, but I finally took the plunge after someone compared him to Shirley Jackson, a favorite of mine. The comparisons are accurate. A good bit of humor with some very dark turns sprinkled with subtle social commentary define this collection of both fiction and non-fiction shorts. Yet, something about it just didn't work for me. I loved the opening story, SantaLand, as well as the one about ...more
Kaethe Douglas
Nov 27, 2016

The Possum needed some "Santaland Diaries" and then I was supposed to take the book back to the library, but Santaland sounded really appealing so I read the whole thing again. This is my favorite Sedaris. "Six to Eight Black Men" is battling "Santaland" for favorite xmas anecdote, and "Jesus Shaves" got me laughing aloud, which I don't often do when sitting alone in a room reading.

Be of good cheer.


February 21, 2021

I don't know why it struck my fancy just now, but it surely did.

This book gets one star instead of zero because I did not completely hate "Dinah the Christmas Whore" and thought "SantaLand Diares" was just kind of okay. I didn't like any of the other stories even the slightest bit. ...more
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David Sedaris is a Grammy Award-nominated American humorist and radio contributor.

Sedaris came to prominence in 1992 when National Public Radio broadcast his essay "SantaLand Diaries." He published his first collection of essays and short stories, Barrel Fever, in 1994. Each of his four subsequent essay collections, Naked (1997), Holidays on Ice (1997), Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000), Dress Your Fa

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