December 13….. ‘Father Christmas’ and ‘Father Christmas Goes on Holiday’ by Raymond Briggs

Father Christmas‘ and ‘Father Christmas Goes on Holiday‘ by Raymond Briggs (both published by Puffin)


These two books were great favourites of mine when I was younger, so much so that they weren’t among the loft treasures I found just over year ago because they had disintegrated thanks to excessive use.  I think to think that that is a book’s preferred way to bid adieu to the world, covered in yellowing Sellotape and held together by barely a thread.

Anyway, ‘Father Christmas’ shows the reader, through comic-style strips on each page, the detailed events of Christmas Eve through the eyes of the most famous person ever to wear a red, fluffy suit.

I relish the way the extraordinary is made ordinary in this book, such as Father Christmas reading a newspaper with a weather-related headline – very British!  The illustrations manage to make you feel as though you’ve gone behind the scenes of magical Father Christmas ‘show’ without ever losing the sense of magic and wonder that makes Christmas so special for young children.

IMG_7796‘Father Christmas Goes on Holiday’ continues the story in the same vein, showing us what Father Christmas gets up to once the festive rush is over and he can afford to relax for a little while.  In this book, he decides to take a holiday, but can’t quite decide where to choose.  The fact that he ends up in Las Vegas at one point tickles me even more now that I’m grown up and understand fully what a Las Vegas holiday might entail 🙂

IMG_7797One of the brilliant things about these books is that Father Christmas is portrayed as pretty grumpy here.  Obviously he still does this awe-inspiring good deed for all the children of the world, but underneath it all he still gets cross about things, which is a refreshing change and a good way to show children that people are complex and that most of us have many different aspects of our personalities that combine to make us who we are.  These books continue to be worthy of loft treasure status in my opinion.


One comment

  1. […] Books with a limited colour palette may stand out among the brightly coloured array of children’s books we are more used to seeing, but that obviously doesn’t guarantee that anything else about the book is going to be outstanding.  In this case, however, the story is a great little insight into how Father Christmas feels once he’s delivered all the presents – and it’s quite different from Raymond Briggs’ take on things (check out our review of his books here). […]

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