Years before humorist David Sedaris became a celebrated writer, he worked as a Christmas elf at a Macy's department store in New York.
His time as Santa's helper was less than merry and bright.
Sedaris wrote about the dark side of holiday spirit in the Santaland Diaries, a sardonic collection of somewhat-exaggerated stories based on his travails as Crumpet the elf.
In 1992, Sedaris read from Santaland on Morning Edition. Thus, an NPR holiday tradition was born, and the struggling writer became an in-demand talent overnight.
Click the play button above to hear Sedaris read as Crumpet the elf.