Sedaris' largely New York based Holidays on Ice may be one of the least returned Christmas gifts of all time, although I bet it's not uncommonly passed along (meaning shared, not necessarily regifted) because frankly, it's about the funniest thing to ever be written about the Winter Holiday Season.The Santaland Diaries is the anchor for this short book, and it's one of Sedaris' best works. And if you've ever been to the Herald Square Macy's during Christmastime, you won't doubt that a single word of it is true. The short story is a perfect mix of his almost weirdly fastidious attention to detail blended with his convincing misanthropic observations and the pre-existing bizarre way America retail turns the holiday shopping season into something almost religious in nature (the shopping that is, not the holiday) that make the whole thing jaw droppingly hilarious. Anyone who can read Sedaris' account of interaction with small children who are often accompanied by a strange brand of sticky, a troubling bit of stinky and more than their fair share of attitude without thinking “oh I am SO grateful for my job” probably works pre-sort at the local nursing home laundry facility.
I also really enjoyed the Christmas Letter parody, Seasons Greetings To Our Friends and Family, which is not as well known or popular of other Sedaris' short works, but it nevertheless hysterical in its unironic take on the very ironic “happier than thou” Christmas letter.
In a cute twist, the real More Successful Than Thou Christmas Letter is found in the form of the parody short story towards the back of the book, Christmas Means Giving.