Stories for a Non-Sappy Holiday
Guest Post by Elizabeth Eckhart
The holidays make a lot of people properly joyous. They decorate their trees, sing their Christmas carols, and, with a cup of hot chocolate or maybe spike apple cider, they curl up in cozy arm chairs to read sappy novels…. unfortunately, the rest of us simply can’t stomach that amount of sugar, both literal and non, and must instead comfort ourselves with cynical books and anti-holiday films. The group of us that are wholeheartedly against all Lifetime Christmas specials and evil-gone-good classic holiday books thankfully includes a group of delightfully witty authors. Below, you’ll find a list of wintery-themed amusement that won’t make you vomit from over-sweetening:
You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas
Augusten Burroughs, author of the famous Running With Scissors, revisited his past once again in a collection of Christmas tales. His memories include everything from gnawing the face off of a life-size Santa to waking up naked beside a real-life St. Nick. If this book makes you cry, it will be from non-stop laughter at the author’s drunken and irreverent attitude toward the holidays. A major benefit of this novel is its shorter nature – at about 200 pages, you won’t have to commit too much holiday time to reading through his stories (available on Amazon).
The Worst Noel: Hellish Holiday Tales
If you’re looking for holiday tales that are really heartwarming tales about minor holiday mishaps with endearing endings, this is not the book for you. I repeat: this is NOT the book for you. This collection is far from sentimental, sticking much closer to brutal honesty from famous authors including John Marchese, Ann Patchett and Cynthia Kaplan. As you can see by the numerous one star ratings online, many were hoping for a more sentimental collection, but for the Scrooges of the season Hellish Holiday Tales is the perfect read. As an added bonus, the collection is available in an audio version, with each author retelling their personal tale of holiday horror.
I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas
For fans of stand up comedian Lewis Black, look no further. His Christmastime collection is a sarcastic expose of the awful societal truths that surround the season. Black even goes as far to warn potential readers, “This book contains, like the celebration of Christmas, only 2 percent religion. Think of it as the yuletide equivalent of low-fat milk.” A sampling of his chapter titles are even more telling, including “The Hooker at Rockefeller,” “Meditations of a Jewish Santa,” and “The Carol from Hell.” Black holds nothing back as he rips apart the season, reflecting on his own childhood memories and the horrors he sees today.
When Elves Attack: A Joyous Christmas Greeting from the Criminal Nutbars of the Sunshine State
When Elves Attack is one of a whopping 18 Serge Storms novels, in which Serge, an unhinged criminal, and his perpetually high pal Coleman cause mayhem. Serge Storms, a supremely talented serial killer, absolutely adores Christmas. The novel follows Serge to Florida, the land of no snow, where Serge attempts to rectify common holiday issues (an annoying mother-in-law, a disobedient teen) in his own brilliantly bloody way.
In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash
Jean Shepherd’s original tale behind the famous film A Christmas Story, a staple on DTV this time of year, is possibly the most sentimental on this list. Shepherd’s satire is a nostalgic portfolio of sketches from a child’s point of view, an entertaining place to be as an adult reader who understands what is really going on. The book is actually less upbeat and contains a darker humor than the film (probably both good qualities for readers of this list). Filmgoers often forget that this story takes place in the midst of the Great Depression, but the novel refuses to allow its readers to shake away the feel of the impoverished midwest.
Holidays on Ice
Finally, for those dreading the holiday season, comedian David Sedaris, author of the well known Me Talk Pretty One Day, takes readers through the inner workings of being a department store Christmas elf (in “The Santaland Diaries”) as well as other less than glittery holiday tales. Sedaris often writes with a bleak tone, but the wry wit will keep you laughing throughout the collection of 6 short stories, all of which can be heard in his own voice with the audio version.
Elizabeth Eckhart is an entertainment writer and blogger born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She has a penchant for high fantasy, and loves anything that involves an epic battle of some sort. She can be followed on Twitter at @elizeckhart.