L. Frank Baum, who created The Wizard of Oz and its many sequels, wrote a story called The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus way back in 1902. It’s old and free, living in the public domain, so you can legally download a copy at Project Gutenberg. Shove this into your phone and dip into the story when standing in long lines or visiting boring friends and family this holiday season.
There are thousands of stories about the origin of Santa Claus, and none of them are perfect, but Baum’s version is fun and weird enough to make it worth reading. It’s also short; you can read the whole thing in an hour or two.
The story was turned into a stop-motion animated Christmas special, but it was never as popular as Rudolph or Frosty so it doesn’t get the same amount of airplay this season. Besides…the book is better.
If you don’t have time to read a children’s story, here are some takeaways and talking points for this tale.
1. Santa’s Parents Tried to Kill Him
Well…maybe. The story opens with baby Santa abandoned in the woods and about to be eaten by a lion. We don’t learn why he was left out as food for jungle beasts. I assume his parents were in some ancient sacrificial cult.
2. Everyone but the Elves Help Santa
Instead of Santa’s Elves, there are fairies, knooks, imps and all sorts of other magical creatures each with their own job. I like that. The knooks are my favorite. They’re angry gnomes who protect animals.
3. There’s One Chapter of Epic Violence
Most of the story is straightforward bedtime stuff, but there’s a chapter in the middle in which all the magical good guys fight all the magical bad guys. It’s amazing. There are dragons and goblins and creatures are chopped in half via magical axes. The chapter concludes with Baum apologizing for including such brutality.
4. Jesus Isn’t In It
Some Santa Claus stories include thinly veiled Jesus metaphors, but you own’t find it here. Or if it is here, it’s too hidden for even an adult to find. This isn’t a story about Christmas. The only reason Santa delivers toys on Christmas Eve, according to this story, is seemingly arbitrary. It’s just a date that one of the magical creatures chooses.
5. There Are Ten Reindeer
And their names are: Flossie and Glossie, Racer and Pacer, Fearless and Peerless, Ready and Steady, Feckless and Speckless. Steady is probably the worst name of the bunch. Feckless is the best.
I can’t say this story is an amazing piece of literature, but it’s a nice way to kill some time.
Now let’s Advent!
This calendar needs to step up its game in these last five days or else all my 2017 toy calendar dollars will go straight into the pocket of Mr. Lego next year.
Today we get… Continue reading 2016 Playmobil Advent Calendar: Day 20