Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Giveaway and guest post by Janelle Jeffrey author of Winter and the Secret of Santa

Tis the season!

And as I dust off my tired copy of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, complete with archaic vocabulary that my children can barely understand, I am plagued, once again, by a question that haunts me as relentlessly as Jacob Marley haunts Ebenezer Scrooge.

Why don’t we ever write anything new about Santa?

There are literally hundreds of stories written about Santa, and ‘new’ ones appear every year. But the term ‘new’ should be used lightly. Because, when it comes to stories about Santa, there are really only two story lines.

The first is the “Oh No [insert gasp] Christmas is Going to be Cancelled.”

In this story line, something terrible happens: an elf goes missing, Santa gets sick, the sleigh breaks down, a snowstorm blows in, etc. This untimely event threatens Santa’s ability to deliver the presents. Our children, subconsciously terrified that this could actually happen, gasp. Oh no! But, just in the nick of time, the problem is solved, and Santa is able to fly off into the night.

Phew. Crisis averted. Rest assured, young ones. There will be presents under that tree after all.

Sound familiar? Hey Rudolph, any chance you and that nose of yours are free tonight?

The second story line is the “I Didn’t Believe But Now I Do.”

In this story line, someone, of any age, for whatever reason, loses his or her belief in Santa. But, alas, something happens, some sort of irrefutable proof, and voila! Belief is restored! This story line generally appeals to the kids (or adults) that have already lost their belief in Santa. And, rather than reinforcing true belief in Santa, it aims to reinforce the ‘spirit’ of Santa.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Just hop aboard The Polar Express.

So there we have it. Santa has to either save Christmas. Or prove he’s real. And the hundreds of stories written about Santa are just variations of these two simple story lines.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love these stories as much as the next person. And a lot of them are classics for a reason. However, I’m trying really hard to stay off the Naughty List this year. So I should be honest. For Christmas this year, I would like a new Santa story to add to my bookshelf.

But a library that lacks original Christmas stories is really only the first problem. The second problem is the Santa myth itself.

It’s stagnant.

We live in a culture obsessed with re-creating popular story lines and characters. How many different versions of Snow White do we have? And Spiderman? And vampire tales? And worlds of witchcraft and wizardry? (Just to name a few.....)

We constantly change these stories, we constantly re-create these characters, because our world is constantly changing. And what we do with these stories, the changes that we make, become a reflection of where we were, or are, as a culture at any particular time.

But not Santa.


Because we’ve never really changed anything about him. He still lives in the ‘North Pole’. He prefers snail mail. He has a hard copy of the Nice and Naughty List. He crawls down chimneys. His vocabulary consists of ‘ho-ho-ho’ and ‘Merry Christmas.’

He is a ‘jolly ole chap.’

Now, this was all fine and dandy when the myth originated. When the majority of people had fire places. When writing letters was the most common form of communication. When most places in the world were far away and vague.

But today?

Our children carry passports. They Skype. They live in condos and apartments. They are more aware of the world around them then ever before. They have more access to information than ever before. And they ask more questions, sophisticated questions, than ever before.

They are quick. They are clever. And they are outsmarting us on the Santa front.

Because our story is outdated. Our myth has cracks. Santa has not evolved the way our other beloved characters have. And our children can sense this. They are sniffing out these cracks. Faster than we can say: “‘Twas is just an old-fashioned way of saying ‘it was’.”

It’s only a matter of time, then, before they bust this Santa thing wide open.

This is, of course, only my opinion. Some festive food for thought.

Maybe we need a new story line. Maybe we need to re-create, or at least enhance, the Santa myth. Maybe we need to claim him, the way we, as a culture, have claimed so many other characters.

Maybe we need a new Santa story for the bookshelf.

Strange and magical things are happening to Winter. Things that definitely should not be happening. Snowballs are changing into ornaments, talking squiggles are falling from the sky, her toast is growing candy canes, and her brother is talking to reindeer. And all Winter wants to do is stay off The Naughty List, sneak into the Elves Workshop, and attend the Santa Clausification ceremony with her friends.

But then it happens. The most strange and magical thing of all. And this time, it's serious.

Join Winter, her brothers Nick and Freeze, her sister Holly, and her parents, Joy and Santa, as Winter discovers her family's best kept secret.

Winter and The Secret of Santa. Discover the truth. This Christmas.

Now is time for the giveaway.  Janelle has agreed to giveaway one of her limited print edition copies of her book.  There are a limited number of these and here is a chance to get one for free!!  This giveaway is open to residents of the continental US and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for the invitation.
    I am sorry that I am not in the US or Canada and so can't join in the giveaway.
    I hope all goes well for Winter and her family (I especially hope she manages to stay off the naughty list!).

  2. I don't have a particular favorite, I enjoy all of them. I have two small children so we read just about anything they find on their bookshelves and the library's bookshelves.

    Thank you for the giveaway! The cover art is just lovely and the story sounds wonderful.

  3. My favorite Christmas book through the years is The Tale of Three Trees, and favorite Christmas movie is It's a Wonderful Life. I don't think anything will ever top that. :)