Years ago, I discovered a treasure of a book called The Autobiography of Santa Claus (as told to Jeff Guinn). The book contains 24 chapters - one for each night of December leading up to Christmas. It travels through 17 centuries of historical fact combined with magic and legend, beginning in Lycia with the birth of a bishop named Nicholas. I love how the qualities of kindness and caring are emphasized throughout the book as all aspects of the Santa legend are interwoven with a variety of historic and legendary figures and events throughout the ages. My children and I would make some Candy Cane Lane tea or minty hot cocoa and read the book together snuggled under blankets.
The first year, I read aloud from our hardcover copy, but after that I discovered the wonderful audiobook version while shelving at the library, and for years it was our tradition to gather around the CD player in the living room with our tea or hot cocoa and blankets to listen to the story. If we missed a night, we'd make up for it by reading two chapters another night. In all honesty, it took a few years before we got to the end of the book. Some years we'd decide to start again at the beginning, and other years we picked up close to where we left off the previous year.
Last year was the first year my youngest, a teenager, had no interest in this tradition. However - lover of tradition that he is - this year he seems open to having the CD on in the background some evenings. I imagine my oldest would still appreciate the comfort and nostalgia of it, although she is very busy and isn't around enough to make it a routine. However, I am hoping for maybe one evening of choosing a chapter(s) and either making cookies or painting together!
I recommend this book enthusiastically and with lots of fond memories to families with children eight years and older.
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