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VINE VOICEon 8 December 2007
I have read and enjoyed other books by David Sedaris which is why I bought `Santaland Diaries' which is short book made up of a couple of typical memoir-type stories and a couple of short pieces of fiction:

`Santaland Diaries' recalls the time Sedaris spent as an elf during one Christmas at Macy's. Sedaris puts his own spin on the revolting stream of families coming to visit Santa and how he attemped to make life more interetsing for himself during his time in this mind-numbing job! (I especially enjoyed his thoughts about those families who insist of photographing and video taping every minute of the `experience')

`Season's Greeting's to Our Friends and Family!!!' is a pastiche of a round-robin letter (probably more common in America) that has a dark twist and I felt was one of the weakest of the stories, along with the next piece `Dinah, the Christmas Whore,' which seemed like a bit of a filler.

`Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol,' was better and was written as if a theatre critic was writing a serious critique of nativity plays. There were some seriously funny lines in this story;
`Pointing to an overstuffed crate that served as a manger, one particularly insufficient wise man proclaimed, `A child is bored.'
Yes, well, so was this adult.'

`Based on a True Story' was a short piece written as if a television executive was giving a sermon. More great one-liners.

Lastly the collection includes, `Christmas Means Giving' another great piece of black humour.

I quite enjoyed the time spect reading this (very) short collection but I couldn't really work out why it had been released on it's own. The stories were all loosely based on Christmas but didn't leave me feeling Christmassy and weren't the best examples of Sedaris's writing. If you haven't read anything by him before, you might be better off giving this one a miss and reading `Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denin' instead.

Ok, just not great.
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on 12 February 2017
Great book
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on 2 May 2017
All good. On time and as described. Happy.
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on 13 January 2005
This is such a great book, David Sedaris never fails to make me laugh out loud on the tube! However, learn from my mistake - I asked for both The Santaland Diaries and Holidays on Ice for Christmas and it turns out they're exactly the same book, just with different titles, so don't buy both!
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on 14 October 2013
'[Y]ou don't want to see a Santa undress.' I'm not convinced the naked Sedaris would make a pretty sight either.

Dear David is occasionally lovable. In SantaLand Diaries, from his first book Barrel Fever, when, asked why he wanted a particular truckdriving job, he says 'because I like the brown uniforms', and when, as Santa's helper, he has to resist the urge to say to a waiting child 'I know a lot of people who would kill for that little waistline of yours'. Mostly, though, the bile is real. Take the mother in Santa's grotto. "Goddamn it, Rachel, get on that man's lap and smile or I'll give you something to cry about.. Now, let's get the hell out of here. Your mother has a headache that won't quit until you're twenty-one."

I find this kind of thing painful to read. There is a vein of cruelty, a shard of glass in Sedaris that makes me feel uncomfortable. How about you? Am I just getting old?
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on 1 February 1999
If you haven't read 'Barrel Fever' and 'Naked' this is 4 stars. If you have, you've already read 2/3 of this book, so give it just another 2 stars.
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on 7 November 2000
To summarize: would be impossible, this is a book of pure lunacy blended with humour but combined with Santa's elves and a overall realistically jolly feel(especially when read in December). It proves the best of a even a Humbug leaving you to not only giggle under the bed sheets at night, but you will also begin to notice a new side to Christmas, a commercial yet Fun side, and so every time you walk past that shop window every Christmas seeing the mechanical toys and people dressed in green tights, I promise you will chuckle remembering a great book.
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Sedaris once again knocks out six stories that will knock your socks off. One story deals with a woman's notes to her freinds after her family is forced to take in a young, female Vietnamese adult (a vestige of the husband's war mistakes) who speaks a language learned from Sesame Street watchings ("shiny, big bird, five dollar"). There is nothing but hilarious bedlam for the family, accented, of course, by the Christmas Holidays. Another deals with a true story of Sedaris' sister taking a crack whore home for the Holidays. The family considers this very cool and with his family, you'l easily see why.
However, the ultimate laugh is Sedaris' short-lived stint as a Santa Claus elf in New York's Macys. Born of adult men and one midget, all because they are short, Sedaris describes the outrageous tedium and shocking marching orders they have to endure. The Santa crowds with or without children are mercilessly dissected, as well they should be, as Sedaris wonderfully describes this terrible thing that is 'visiting Santa'. This book is far too short, but well worth the endorphic giggles it induces.
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on 11 May 1999
The first story, "SantaLand Diaries", is hilarious, as funny a piece of writing as I have ever read.The other stories are quite amusing, but don't rise to the level of the first. Sedaris clearly has exceptional talent, and I will definitely try out his other works. Comedy(whether performing or writing) clearly being the most difficult art, makes this collection worth the modest retail price.
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on 24 December 2013
Found this second-hand some years ago, and I still buy it every Christmas for friends who've never heard of David Sedaris (don't worry, they get fewer by the year). Santaland Diaries, the tale of Sedaris's time as a department store elf, is laugh-out-loud funny and worth the purchase price alone, and the companion pieces, which include such gems as a New York theatre critic's archly sneering review of an elementary school nativity play, and the pricelessly titled "Dinah the Christmas Whore" are equally excellent. This mini collection is short, sweet, very very funny, and as unique and perfect in its own way as a snowflake.
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