A favourite scene from Bill Murray's Scrooged is when he's witnessing his childhood, courtesy of the Ghost of Christmas Past. We see him on Christmas Eve after his father has come home from the butcher shop where he works and hands him a packet of meat. His Christmas gift. That's when his parents start arguing and his father offers up this gem,
All day long, I listen to people give me excuses why they can't work... 'My back hurts,' 'my legs ache,' 'I'm only four!'
It's so over-the-top, I find it almost impossible not to laugh (being the fan of dark comedy that I am).
I bring it up because I also found some of the tragic Christmases in Andrew F. Sullivan's "Good King" to be over-the-top. However, I then saw it as a litmus test of sorts. How over-the-top you find it may just depend on just how good/shitty your own childhood memories of Christmas are.
Structure-wise, I quite enjoyed the tale. It involves a man nicknamed Big Red, a warehouse worker, who is called upon to assist a worker who has just been attacked by another. However, Big Red's attempt at mouth-to-mouth results in a series of Christmas flashbacks. Most of which are not pleasant.
Still, like my favourite Christmas stories, there's hope. In this story I find it in Big Red, who despite his upbringing, seems to have risen above it. No, he's not rich or famous, but morally, he's all right.