Elves, elves, everywhere!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I have further excuse for giving "Holiday Season 2011"  a squinty, slightly cynical "grain of salt" once over.

At the annual cookie bake this past Friday, my mom lent me a copy of David Sedaris's Holidays on Ice. The collection includes Sedaris's now infamous "Santaland Diaries," which chronicles the Christmas season he spent working at Macy's, along with several other holiday essays and short stories. 

Now, ladies and gentlemen, if you live in a cabin in the middle of the woods, far removed from the onslaught of CHRISTMAS! that television and other media spew out at America from about November 1st onward, reading David Sedaris is going to give you a slightly skewed perspective on the whole holiday season. Rather than focusing on the warm fuzziness that's meant to bond us all during these snowy, present filled days, Sedaris tends to highlight the strange (and often strained) absurdity that really makes the holidays a universal experience.  He is snarky, irreverent, and often downright ridiculous.

Since posting last week about this holiday season taking a little longer than usual to kick in for me, I've found many others who are feeling a little low on the Christmas cheer meter so far. (We must not be singing loud enough!) This most wonderful time of the year can bring about a lot of unique stress - presents and subsequent money worries, get-togethers, winter driving, balancing family time and work obligations - that doesn't happen any other time of the year. Keeping hold of the reigns of the holiday season is tricky, exhausting, and sometimes, just downright impossible.

So I posted the line from Elf that pays homage to "Santaland Diaries" on Facebook to see if anyone else was feeling rather Crumpet-ish. (Crumpet was Sedaris's elf name.)

Instead this happened:

An honest to goodness Elf quote off.

It reminds me of, what I personally think, is the wisest part of Sedaris's "Santaland Diaries", the part when he acknowledges just how alike all humans are:

All of the adults ask for a Gold Card or a BMW and they rock with laughter, thinking they are the first person brazen enough to request such pleasures.

Santa says, I'll see what I can do.

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.

But being alike isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, when it comes to Elf quote-offs, it can be downright comforting. 

What's your favorite holiday reading material? What's your favorite holiday movie? 


  1. Well, I do love Elf. Love A Christmas Story and Scrooge, the George C . Scott version. Favorite holiday reading material is Rosamunde Pilcher's "Winter Solstice." It's the only book I've read more than once. It just puts me in a wintery mood!

  2. An "Elf" quote off. That's too awesome.

  3. Thanks! I was debating what Christmas movie to watch while I ate my hot, delivered pizza.

  4. I love finding myself on your blog.

  5. My housemates introduced me to Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas by Jim Henson--fantastic, particularly the outtakes.
    For the record, I also elfed at Macy's (first Daytons-turned-Marshall Field-turned-Macy's). And I can attest to both the lovely cheery side of families dressed up for a Santa brunch... and also Santa who smelled like a pack of cigarettes and his boozy assistant. I usually was making reindeer antler balloon hats. I did get mobbed my first year when we were understaffed--not a lot of Christmas spirit from the parents then.


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