My young friend brought this award-winning children’s book along on a recent overnight at my house. I hadn’t heard of it before and, reading it aloud at bedtime, was thoroughly enchanted.
In the format of a graphic novel, the story follows Father Christmas through his most demanding day: December 24. There are no elven worker bees, no Rudolph, no North Pole. Instead we have a seemingly ordinary man waking from a dream of sunning himself on a beach to find that it’s Christmas Eve. No wonder he’s rather grumpy!
We follow him through his morning chores: putting the kettle on, collecting eggs, bathing. The detail in the pictures is quite incredible; I had to hold back my friend’s quick fingers to give me time to glory in them. The houses Father Christmas visits with his sleigh and two reindeer are quite extraordinary: from a camper to an apartment to a glorious manor house and even, well, I don’t want to give it away.
Just an ordinary man doing a job of work. He grumbles a bit, but finally is able to go home and cook his Christmas dinner and pudding. Under all that grumbling is a sweetheart who takes good care of his reindeer and even pulls out presents for his cat and dog.
I love this book. Most of us want to work at jobs that are meaningful, that in some way benefit others. We can’t all dispense a sleigh-full of presents, but we can give a few toys to a charity like Toys for Tots or donate time or money to a food bank or kitchen. We can find a way in even the most menial jobs (and I’ve held some of the lowliest) to make someone else’s burden a little lighter. We can pay forward the gifts that we’ve been given. Then we can go home and put our feet up, maybe with a cat on our lap or a dog keeping our feet warm, and know that we’ve made a difference.
Happy holidays to all.