Review of “A Plague of Santas” by Emily Dorffer

This is not really a story, as there is no plot. It is a portrait, a satire of the frenzy surrounding Christmas time. And it is cute.

“It starts innocently enough in November,” the reader is told. “A shortage of cookies and milk at the grocery store, a faint jingling at night, the lingering scent of peppermint.”

The imagery is evocative, poking fun, and sparing some pity for harried parents who exchange tips and discuss strategy “over mugs of eggnog.” There is advice for wise children and wise families.

There is also mention of the often unwise practice of buying puppies and kittens for the holidays, which then sometimes end up abandoned.


When I began reading this, I thought, Oh. Christmas—yeah, it’s a wonderful life, yeah, yeah, yeah. But it does achieve some nice satiric moments. Having worked retail for more than twenty-five years, I have come to dislike Christmas. Almost everything I detest about Christmas is portrayed here—without anger.

Is all the turmoil around Christmas worth the effort, for those who celebrate it? It’s a question only each person can answer.


According to the author’s blurb, author Emily Dorffer is a technical writer who has cerebral palsy. She loves Christmas.

The story can be read here.

Title: “A Plague of Santas”
Author: Emily Dorffer
First published: Daily Science Fiction, December 23, 2019

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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