From the Publisher
“[A] whimsically delicious collection . . . as uplifting as it is cynical. Even Scrooge would find it worth the moola.”
“No publication in history has ever delivered on [Christmas] delights better than has The New Yorker. And here in an astonishing richness of wit and dignity, acid and humane letters, is a complication of the best stuff.”
“This collection truly shines. . . . A treasure trove of quality work from the 1920s into the twenty-first century with themes that accentuate the holiday’s timeless appeal.”
–The Florida Times-Union
“An anthology of many charms.”
–The New York Times
Vladimir Nabokov, John Cheever, E.B. White, and Alice Munro are just a sampling of the many impressive authors who have contributed holiday writing to The New Yorker over the past 75 years, and they are well represented in this collection of holiday stories, poems, and humor. Organized into eight sections covering topics like family matters, Christmas carols, and the spirit of giving, the diverse pieces range from Nabokov's "Christmas" to Garrison Keillor's "A Christmas Story" and reflect the various moods indicative of the season. In Peter de Vries's "Flesh and the Devil," the main character, Frisbie, realizes that he has made a terrible mistake by telling his wife about kissing (and nearly bedding) a colleague after the office Christmas party. Instead of being lauded for his honesty, he is scolded and regrets being so candid. John Updike's "The Twelve Terrors of Christmas" is a laugh-out-loud meditation on Santa Claus ("If he's such a big shot, why is he drawing unemployment for 11 months of the year?"). Cartoons and images from The New Yorker holiday covers add a touch of whimsy. A nice addition for public libraries, whether or not they subscribe to The New Yorker, this is also a good choice for smaller academic libraries with more browseable collections.-Valeda Frances Dent, Hunter Coll. Lib., New York Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
christmas in qatar
(A new holiday classic, for those tiring of "White Christmas" and "Jingle
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,
Aunt Jane, who's shaped like a kohlrabi,
Wants frilly sweater sets, or where
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
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
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,
wrappings are a waste of trees.
Dad's staring, vaguely puzzled, at his
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
Of course, Jack hates the tie. He'll take it back.
because I hate my Uncle Jack.
I'd like to spend next Christmas in
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.
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.
turkey's best," Ned says. "It's pure."
"This hippie stuff," Jack says, "I
They say goodbye, thank God. It's been a strain.
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
Or someplace you won't hear the Christmas story,
something eaten cacciatore.
I know things can't go on the way they
I'd like to spend next Christmas in Qatar.