The cover and title are deceiving, gulling you from the very start. It conjures the promise of egg nog, warming your feet by the fire, sitting down to chat with the grandparents and kids. Oh, you poor fools. Look closer. On the cover, that boy in the middle is in danger of sinking to his death beneath the ice. Danger, humiliation, death and disease lie within these covers. Enter if you dare.
The stories range from the wildly risible (“Santaland”) to the subtle horror of an ultimate case of keeping up with the Joneses (“Christmas Means Giving”). Mr. Sedaris’s deadpan delivery and queer way of digging into the rotten underbelly of the world are on full display here. If you’ve ever wanted an antidote to the treacly mess of the seasons, especially Christmas, expose yourself to this collection.