The "author" (I think "editor" is more appropriate), Leland Gregory has scoured... some sources?... to find real-life zany Christmas-related stories and placed them into this collection. Sounds fun, right? It's not. There are a lot of problems, here.
First of all, there are no sources. I was a student of history. I live for sources and citations and footnotes. It's just how I roll. When you try to tell me something happened, especially if that something is hard to believe, you better be able to prove it. This entire point of this book is to collect outrageous incidents. There's a lot in this book that's hard to believe. It all supposedly actually happened, yet here's no reason for me to believe that it did. I mean, I'm not saying Gregory completely leaves out any trace of a source, because a lot of times he'll throw in "According to [insert random newspaper title here]
Second, there are a disturbing number of "stories" in this book that have very little to do with Christmas. Sometimes it's just stuff that happened in December. December events are not equal to Christmas events.
Third, the incidents in the book aren't even interesting. I mean, yes, people are stupid and it's fun to read about the dumb things people do, but most of what was in here was just useless. There are probably close to 100 little tales in here, and only four or five were interesting enough for me to even remember. The one that sticks out the most for me was a Wal-Mart who set up a large Toys for Tots charity donation box near the exit of the store (so that customers could purchase a toy, then drop it off as a donation on their way out). When the Toys for Tots representative came to pick up the box, it was empty because the Wal-Mart manager told his employees to reshelf all merchandise unless there was a receipt with it to prove it hadn't been stolen and then donated. That's not actually funny, but it is stupid. And horrible. But honestly, there are only a few good ones in here. Most of them are just about drunk people doing dumb things and being arrested for it, so I suggest just picking up your local paper if you want to read about that.
I guess I was hoping for a nice collection of Christmas factoids and strange holiday traditions, like maybe where all those verses in "The Twelve Days of Christmas" come from. (Obviously not in the book, and I just realized I'd like to know more about it. I think I'll look that up.) I absolutely got what I paid for here, so I totally deserved it... but I invested several hours in reading this tripe.
Let's end this on a positive note: Each incident was only a couple paragraphs long, so it was great to read when I had a few minutes at a time to spare. I read it intermittently at the same time I was reading my last few books. That was nice. I guess.
Read from December 10, 2010 to December 25, 2010