The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn (Adult Historical Fiction)

The Autobiography of Santa Claus

Jeff Guinn (Adult Historical Fiction)

Think you know everything there is to know about Santa? Well think again. Now, for the first time—in his OWN words—is the true story of Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, or whatever name you call the man in red who travels around the world delivering presents to good girls and boys on Christmas Eve night. We get to know the REAL man—from humble beginnings to worldwide notoriety—whose simple philosophy of it being better to give than to receive has touched the world all over.

Jeff Guinn, the ONLY person (that he knows of) to have ever written a book WITH Santa Claus himself, has finally provided answers to the questions that have been asked for centuries: how did Santa attain his garments of red trimmed with white; why did Santa start giving toys and why were they put in stockings; why does he live at the North Pole; how can reindeer fly; and how can he travel the entire world in just one night? Those and so many other questions are answered, along with some interesting facts that you didn’t realize were even related to Santa such as his historically famous “helpers”, how he helped Charles Dickens restore Christmas in England, and how he inadvertently brought about the end of the American Revolution. Guinn packs a LOT of information into 280 pages, not including Santa’s favorite recipe found at the end of the book.

Guinn takes us from 280 A.D. (the year of Santa’s recorded birth) to present day. Because he’s covering over seventeen centuries of information, the story often gets deep in the weeds with geographical, theological, historical, and social anthropological references; however, Guinn is clever in connecting Santa to everyone from Attila the Hun to Amelia Earhart so we’re quickly drawn back into the story again. What is not mentioned on the cover of the book but is certainly worth mentioning is the beautiful artwork of Dorit Rabinovitch. She beautifully captures the old-world and magical appeal of the jolly old man and gives Guinn’s work an instant classic feel full of warmth and charm.

Through Guinn, Santa reminds us of the simple power kindness and that the real magic of Christmas involves love and a little baby born in a manger on what became the most holy of nights. Upon reading this book, I do feel a sense of obligation to bring to everyone’s attention that Santa is NOT an elf, he does NOT like to be reminded of his weight, and—on Christmas Eve night—if you were to set out some homemade chocolate chip cookies and perhaps some goat cheese, he would be most appreciative.

Rating: 4/5

* Book cover image attributed to: www.thriftbooks.com

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The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum (J)

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus     

L. Frank Baum (Juvenile Fiction)

Did you ever wonder why Santa delivers presents on Christmas Eve or why he climbs down a chimney?  Why reindeer were chosen to pull his sleigh or how the first Christmas tree came about?  All of these questions and more are answered about the jolly old man who delivers joy and happiness to every child around the globe on one very special night each year.  From his introduction as a helpless infant who was discovered by the Wood-Nymph Necile in the Forest of Burzee to the night he escaped the Spirit of Death by being given the Mantle of Immortality, the life of Santa Claus is finally shared and what you thought you knew about the man in red may never be the same again.

Two years after The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900, L. Frank Baum delighted audiences again with another tale of mythical creatures and magical worlds.  The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is not just a history of one of the world’s most notable and recognized figures, but it is a heartwarming story of selflessness, devotion, family, and love.  More importantly, Baum gives us a book extolling and celebrating the virtues of inclusion.  As an abandoned baby, Claus was lovingly adopted and wholly accepted within the secret and protected world of immortals.  As an adult, he once questioned whether or not wealthy children were also deserving of gifts since they already possessed so much.  The Queen of the Fairies replied, “Whether it be rich or poor, a child’s longings for pretty playthings are natural.  I think, friend Claus, it is your duty to make all little ones glad, whether they chance to live in palaces or in cottages.”

Children and adults alike can benefit from the messages Baum delivers in this classic children’s story.  The idea of extending grace, mercy, and joy to everyone we encounter is something we should aspire to every day of the year and not just one.

“’In all this world, there is nothing so beautiful as a happy child,’ says good old Santa Claus; and if he had his way the children would all be beautiful, for all would be happy.”

Merry Christmas from The Dusty Jacket.

Rating: 5/5