Sardonic Christmas Traditions

Atlanta has always struck me as a place that eschews tradition. We have a young, mobile population, we tear down old buildings when they get old (or just abandon them to the point where it’s not a stretch to picture them as post-zombie-apocalypse), and generally tend to get excited about the next big thing, improving and tweaking and changing and leaving behind last year’s big thing.

Which doesn’t lend itself to a lot of tradition – even the Rich’s Macy’s tree has moved from downtown to Underground to Lenox, and the Pink Pig downgraded from mythical flying monorail

that soared through the toy department to a flat track on the ground that chugs through Christmas decorations. Bummer.

In an effort to combat this crappiness and embrace the season, my friends and I have set upon a different tradition – going to the annual Santaland Diaries performance at the Horizon Theater in L5P. This year is their twelfth production of David Sedaris’s story, a completely bitter and sardonic one of an out-of-work writer who takes a job as a Macy’s Elf. Harold Leaver plays Crumpet the elf, and guys, the man make me laugh. Pretty hard.

“The woman said, Riley, if you don’t start behaving yourself, Santa’s not going to bring you any of those toys you asked for. The child said, he is, too, going to bring me toys, liar. He already told me. The woman grabbed my arm, and said you there, elf, tell Riley here that if he doesn’t start behaving immediately, then Santa’s going to change his mind and bring him coal for Christmas.

I said that Santa changed his policy and no longer traffics in coal. Instead, if you’re bad, he comes to your house and steals things. I told Riley that if he didn’t behave himself, Santa was going to take away his TV and all his electrical appliances and leave him in the dark.

The woman got a worried look on her face and said, all right, that’s enough. I said, he’s going to take your car and your furniture and all of your towels and blankets and leave you with nothing. The mother said, no, that’s enough really.”

Our Crumpet is something special and hilarious, and he gives these lines (which make me laugh on their own) life. This is the sort of tradition I can get on board with. Tickets start at $25 and the show runs through January 2. http://horizontheatre.com/showSANTALAND.htm

Do you have any particularly festive traditions? Are your kids Pink Pig riders?  Anyone ride the Pig back when it was cool?  I’ve run into a Santa pub crawl or two in years past – any fans?

2 Comments so far

  1. Tamra (tlt0912) on December 7th, 2010 @ 2:25 pm

    I’d thought about doing a post on Atlanta holiday traditions, then I thought, “Do we, as a city, even really DO traditions?”

    I’m always visiting my mom and dad in Tennessee on Christmas day and usually the day after, too. But I can’t remember ever hearing much about anything that “everybody” does or goes to anytime between the 24th and the 1st. Maybe the traditions here are highly segmented so there are a lot of town or neighborhood traditions and nothing that everyone in town flocks to.


  2. Stephanie (locaboca) on December 13th, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

    I so miss the original Pink Pig.



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