Christmas at The New Yorker: Stories, Poems, Humor, and Artby John Updike
From the pages of America’s most inﬂuential magazine come eight decades of holiday cheer—plus the occasional comical coal in the stocking—in one incomparable collection. Sublime and ridiculous, sentimental and searing, Christmas at The New Yorker is a gift of great writing and drawing by literary legends and laugh-out-loud cartoonists.
Here are seasonal stories, poems, memoirs, and more, including such classics as John Cheever’s 1949 story “Christmas Is a Sad Season for the Poor,” about an elevator operator in a Park Avenue apartment building who experiences the ﬁckle power of charity; John Updike’s “The Carol Sing,” in which a group of small-town carolers remember an exceptionally enthusiastic fellow singer (“How he would jubilate, how he would God-rest those merry gentlemen, how he would boom out when the male voices became King Wenceslas”); and Richard Ford’s acerbic and elegiac 1998 story “Crèche,” in which an unmarried Hollywood lawyer spends an unsettling holiday with her sister’s estranged husband and kids.
Here, too, are S. J. Perelman’s 1936 “Waiting for Santy,” a playlet in the style of Clifford Odets labor drama (the setting: “The sweatshop of Santa Claus, North Pole”), and Vladimir Nabokov’s heartbreaking 1975 story “Christ-mas,” in which a father grieving for his lost son in a world “ghastly with sadness” sees a tiny miracle on Christmas Eve.
And it wouldn’t be Christmas—or The New Yorker—without dozens of covers and cartoons by Addams, Arno, Chast, and others, or the mischievous verse of Roger Angell, Calvin Trillin, and Ogden Nash (“Do you know Mrs. Millard Fillmore Revere?/On her calendar, Christmas comes three hundred and sixty-ﬁve times a year”).
From Jazz Age to New Age, E. B. White to Garrison Keillor, these works represent eighty years of wonderful keepsakes for Christmas, from The New Yorker to you.
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Read an Excerpt
christmas in qatar
(A new holiday classic, for those tiring of "White Christmas" and "Jingle Bells")
The shopping starts, and every store's a zoo.
I'm frantic, too: I haven't got a clue
Of what to get for Dad, who's got no hobby,
Or why Aunt Jane, who's shaped like a kohlrabi,
Wants frilly sweater sets, or where I'll .nd
A tie my loudmouthed Uncle Jack won't mind.
A shopper's told it's vital he prevails:
Prosperity depends on Christmas sales.
"Can't stop to talk," I say. "No time. Can't halt.
Economy could fail. Would be my fault."
I'd like to spend next Christmas in Qatar,
Or someplace else that Santa won't .nd handy.
Qatar will do, although, Lord knows, it's sandy.
I need to get to someplace pretty far.
I'd like to spend next Christmas in Qatar.
Young Cousin Ned, his presents on his knees,
Says Christmas wrappings are a waste of trees.
Dad's staring, vaguely puzzled, at his gift.
And Uncle Jack, to give us all a lift,
Now tells a Polish joke he heard at work.
So Ned calls Jack a bigot and a jerk.
Aunt Jane, who knows that's true, breaks down and cries.
Then Mom comes out to help, and burns the pies.
Of course, Jack hates the tie. He'll take it back.
That's fair, because I hate my Uncle Jack.
I'd like to spend next Christmas in Tibet,
Or any place where folks cannot remember
That there is something special in December.
Tibet's about as far as you can get.
I'd like to spend next Christmas in Tibet.
Mom's turkey is a patriotic riddle:
It's red and white, plus bluish in the middle.
The blue's because the oven heat's not stable.
The red's from ketchup Dad snuck to the table.
Dad says he loves the eyeglass stand from me-
Unless a sock rack's what it's meant to be.
"A free-range turkey's best," Ned says. "It's pure."
"This hippie stuff," Jack says, "I can't endure."
They say goodbye, thank God. It's been a strain.
At least Jack's tie has got a ketchup stain.
I'd like to spend next Christmas in Rangoon,
Or any place where Christmas is as noisy
As Buddhist holidays might be in Boise.
I long to hear Der Bingle smoothly croon,
"I'm dreaming of a Christmas in Rangoon"-
Or someplace you won't hear the Christmas story,
And reindeer's something eaten cacciatore.
I know things can't go on the way they are.
I'd like to spend next Christmas in Qatar.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Very disappointed. I used to love reading the "New Yorker" magazine, so I was really looking forward to some interesting stories, but this selection is down right depressing and poorly written in most cases. Where these stories really published in the "New Yorker"? Hard to believe....