Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas on the Rocks

With Christmasy movies on every night and a multitude of festive lights about town, I thought I'd share this excerpt from David Sedaris' Holidays on Ice. The story is called "Six to Eight Black Men" and is about Sedaris' discussion with a local about Dutch Christmas traditions. Earlier in the story he finds out that the Dutch Santa is skinny, lives in Spain, used to be the bisop of Turkey and threatens to beat up kids who have been bad that year. Oh, and he does this all with a posse of six to eight black men. Who used to be his slaves and are now his friends. Find the whole story here.
While eight flying reindeer are a hard pill to swallow, our Christmas story remains relatively simple. Santa lives with his wife in a remote polar village and spends one night a year traveling around the world. If you're bad, he leaves you coal. If you're good and live in America, he'll give you just about anything you want. We tell our children to be good and send them off to bed, where they lie awake, anticipating their great bounty. A Dutch parent has a decidedly hairier story to relate, telling his children, "Listen, you might want to pack a few of your things together before you go to bed. The former bishop from Turkey will be coming along with six to eight black men. They might put some candy in your shoes, they might stuff you in a sack and take you to Spain, or they might just pretend to kick you. We don't know for sure, but we want you to be prepared."
 Pack your bags, kiddies. Santa's a-comin'.

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