His elf name is Crumpet, but he might as well be called Grumpy, he's so cynical about the whole enterprise. And not without reason. He witnesses impatient mothers yanking their children along and even yelling at them on their way to Santa's busy lap. Less depressingly but as annoying, some fathers turn into Spielbergs, directing their throng for perfect videos or snapshots in their "relentless quest for documentation."

Despite the commercial context, this all concludes on an encouraging note that doesn't veer into sentimentality, as it has opportunity to. One sincerely goodhearted Santa makes the occasion merry by making the children feel good about themselves. He never even has to ask them what they want for Christmas, since his loving kindness has already shown them and their parents what they need.

SantaLand Diaries may on its surface be a cynical sneer at what's wrong about Christmas time, but that's hiding a quiet smile about what's right.

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  Topics: Theater , David Sedaris, Amiee Turner, Ocean State Theatre Company
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