Last week a book appeared on my desk, but I couldn't read it until December 1. The book is Holidays on Ice, a collection of Christmas tales from David Sedaris. Why couldn't I read it before December 1? Because doing Christmas stuff in November doesn't feel right. Egg nog tastes like nasty blended yolk, advent calendars don't work properly and Jingle All the Way is unwatchable - psych! Jingle All the Way is always unwatchable.
So, being well into December, I've gone through it again. Yes, again - it's a reissue of the 1997 Christmas collection, but with a few previously published additions and a new story, The Cow and the Turkey - a dark look at Secret Santa on the farm.
SantaLand Diaries, Sedaris's account of working as Crumpet the elf at the Macy's Santa photo op after failing to get a job at UPS, is the standout tale in the collection. It's not exactly cheery but carries the message of consumptive insanity that grips families this time of year without being a pile of garbage like, say, Christmas with the Kranks.
It was also the story that launched the authors career, so you know there's a real-life happy ending for Crumpet.