David Sedaris' Santaland Diaries has been a holiday favorite with my students for many years. Before we read (or sometimes listen to) his famous essay, I have my students write a job description for a "Macy's Santaland Elf." This is a fun, anticipatory writing activity my juniors and seniors really enjoy. This resource also includes an "ABC Brainstorming Chart" for students to record words Sedaris uses to describe the setting in his essay. When students are finished reading the essay, I have them create wordle word clouds with the words they recorded on their ABC Brainstorming Charts.
David Sedaris' essay, Santaland Diaries can be found online in both print and audio formats.
This essay and activity are appropriate for upper-level high school students.
You might not expect "Santa's helper" to be a career-altering gig, but for David Sedaris, it changed everything. The writer and humorist spent a season working at Macy's as a department store elf. He described his short tenure as Crumpet the Elf in "The Santaland Diaries," an essay that he first read on Morning Edition in 1992. He was brought to NPR by an up-and-coming producer named Ira Glass.
Instantly, a classic was born. Sedaris' reading has become an NPR holiday tradition.
Copy and paste this link to hear David Sedaris read from his famous essay: