Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs

Image from Goodreads
Father Christmas

Santa Claus is undoubtedly my favorite Christmas character. And I've seen more than one portrayal of him in movies and television shows. Old St. Nick in a red suit, full of mirth and cheer with his "ho ho ho" signature laugh. But Briggs' took a turn in another direction and gave me a different version of being Santa. Here, being Santa Clause is seen as a job. A "someone's got to do it" type of job. He is grumpy and complains a lot about the snow, the cold, his cat, and the hassle of squeezing into chimneys. He is somewhat less magical than what I have seen him often portrayed. The only magical thing he probably has is his flying sleigh towed by two (not nine) flying reindeer. In fact, he shovels all the gifts into the sleigh himself, using a wheel borrow.There is no huge enchanting toy factory and no whimsical elves. But I am not complaining here. In fact, I adored this Santa Claus. I loved this version even more. He is endearing and made more real. Yes he is grumpy but underneath that he has a big heart. He reminds me a lot of Carl Fredrickson from the Disney-Pixar Movie UP.
I felt myself smiling a lot as I was flipping through the book. I felt that I was privy to a day in the life of Father Christmas. He has his own little house. Fixes his own breakfast, and do household chores like any other normal person. 
Nope. No Mrs. Claus to fix him a cup of tea.
But come Christmas eve, he dons his red suit hitches up a sleigh full of gifts to his two reindeer and off he goes to deliver them to children all across the world.
The famous red suit plus, a sleigh filled with gifts pulled by reindeers and they're all set! 

A Tight and Sooty Squeeze!
After the job is done, he goes home to being an ordinary citizen. He cleans himself up and fixes himself a nice Christmas meal. All in a day's work.

The Illustrations

Raymond Briggs is brilliant in illustrating the weather. He manages to portray the change from snow to sleet to rain well enough to make me feel chilly and wet. He manages to illustrate perfectly the change from darkness of the night slowing moving on up to sunrise. And of course, as with his famous work, The Snowman, he still has a way with snow, of making me feel the softness and the magic of it.
The weather seems to be taking a turn for the worse!

All in a day's work...Santa catching some zzzs as he slumps onto his sleigh
Briggs has that wonderful combination of being a brilliant illustrator and a wonderful story teller with a sharp sense of humor. At the end of the book, I still had a smile plastered to my face and that warm tingly feeling only Christmas can bring. Raymond Briggs made possible for me to have my very own Christmas in May. :D

Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs is awarded the Library Association Kate Greenaway Medal - 1973. This is my 8th entry for the Award Winning Books Reading Challenge hosted by Gathering Books.


  1. I thought I have already left a comment in this post only to discover that I haven't yet! My oh my. I am so glad that you found Christmas in May through a personal favorite of mine, Raymond Briggs. I have just recently snagged another one of his picture book during the recent book exchange here in Singapore, which made me a happy happy girl. I think I've 'read' this book previously. I am glad you discovered Briggs there. :)

    1. Oh wow, which picture book of his were you able to get?

      I hope I can snag The Complete Father Christmas or Father Christmas Goes on Holiday someday. Briggs is such a funny funny guy. :)


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