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Holidays on Ice

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  103,142 ratings  ·  5,378 reviews
A new holiday classic--six of the most profound Christmas stories by the author of the bestselling Naked and Barrel Fever--is now in a paperback edition perfect for stocking stuffing.
Paperback, 134 pages
Published November 1st 1998 by Back Bay (first published December 1997)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  103,142 ratings  ·  5,378 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  ·  review of another edition
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!
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 ...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
Jason Koivu
Jun 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, humor
Holidays on Ice puts David Sedaris on ice. Why? Because, aside from one inclusion, this is a collection of short fiction, where as when Sedaris is riffing on real life in his autobio journal work, the man is on fire!

David Sedaris is best listened to rather than read, in my opinion. I always go the audiobook route with him, because he narrates them himself, adding in all the oh-so-necessary inflection, as well as some hilarious renditions of his parents and, one of my favorites, Billie Holiday.
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).
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
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Mar 10, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
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
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.
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
Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Rebecca Renner
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
"SantaLand Diaries" is my favorite Sedaris story, bar none. And it's perfect for this time of year! Ah, refreshing cynicism.
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
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.
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I’m feeling down and fragile (from too many “emotional” reads), there’s nothing quite like David Sedaris to comfort me. I just snuggle in and wrap myself up in his thick coating of cynicism and mockery…mmmmmmm…cozy.

This particular collection is all about the holidays: that magical time when we manage to take a season that’s all about peace, charity, and goodwill and then just shit all over it. The horrid Christmas “specials,” the family update letters with waaaaay too much information, the
Miranda Reads
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
David just sounds like such a jerk in the books. Sometimes I have a difficult time getting into these.

Review to come.

Audiobook Comments
Read by the author with his signature dry humor - which made it so much fun to listen.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads

Happy Reading!
Book Riot Community
From cynical mall elves to the most terrible holiday letter, this holiday-themed short story collection shows David Sedaris at his wackiest–but don’t sorry, it’s still dark and sarcastic, too. One of my favorite ways to get into the holiday spirit, sans the warm-and-fuzzies.

–Emily Wenstrom

from The Best Books We Read In December 2016:
You will never look at visiting Santa the same way. The other stories were a bit hit and miss. I did enjoy the review of the children's plays though.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NO ONE
I only liked 2 of the 12 chapters. Halfway through I speeded up from 1.25 to 1.5. For the last hour I listened at double speed. I love the Santaland story. I identify with his (imagined?) response to a woman who threatens "I'll get you fired" and him whispering, "And I'll have you killed". Years ago I was constantly bullied (although we didn't call it that then) by a fellow teacher who was very right-wing. Whenever there were atrocities around the world he'd say the people got what they ...more
Pamela Small
Mean and Misanthropic.

I do not like mean-spirited sardonic wit. For the most part, the author’s cynical comments are derisive, insulting, and misanthropic. There are few (four to be exact) clever and funny essays, but black humor predominates the essays, much to my disappointment if not disgust.

SANTALAND DIARIES is by far the most humorous, and is it positioned as the first essay in the collection. Good thing, too. Reading it first whet my appetite in anticipation for a delightful read for the
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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
“If I could believe in myself, why not give other improbabilities the benefit of the doubt?” 1121 likes
“All of us take pride and pleasure in the fact that we are unique, but I'm afraid that when all is said and done the police are right: it all comes down to fingerprints.” 372 likes
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