The beginning of December means many things: Christmas music piped in every store, tantalizing displays of holiday goodies, everything decked in lights and glitter.
One of my favorite things to do this time of year is get out the basket of holiday books. There are books that I enjoyed as a child as well as new ones I have grown to love right alongside my children. I was excited to see a children's Christmas book available for review from the Catholic Company and picked it right away.
Santa's Secret Story sounded intriguing. I was excited about the idea of a book that would tie the Catholic celebration of Christmas together with the idea of Santa Claus. It seems the secular world wants to claim him as their own. This book shows the real story of Nicholas who sold his parents' possessions when they died so he could use it to help the poor. It went on to describe how Nicholas helped a poor widower and his daughters by dropping coins down their chimney. Nicholas became Bishop of Myra and was known for his many good works. Rachel, a girl who is curious about Santa, discovers his story with the help of her guardian angel.
I know there are some Christians who refuse to participate in the idea of Santa, thinking this somehow diminishes the celebration of Jesus' birth. I have never seen it this way. I think it is easy to fit Santa in right alongside Jesus and to even illustrate the story of Jesus' birth with the love and giving of that "right jolly old elf". In the story it is ultimately revealed that Santa's secret is he lives in heaven. While I may read the book to an older child who is finally questioning the existence of Santa, I wouldn't blow his cover to a young child. Give me the North Pole, eight reindeer, the elves and Santa's workshop. I am a sucker for it all. So, unfortunately, Santa's Secret Story will not be slipped into my basket of Christmas stories. Perhaps I will save it for that time when my youngest are wondering out loud about the true story of Santa but until then his story will remain, well, SECRET.
*This review was written as part of the reviewer program for the Catholic Company. They are a great source for Advent and Christmas religious items as well as books and gifts throughout the year.