History of the Jolly Old Elf
Week of Dec. 11, 2017
History of the Jolly Old Elf
by Scott D. Strawn
Okay, you know he wears a red suit, has a slight weight problem, has elves for employees, travels the globe once a year and is ever so jolly. But who is Santa really? How did he get to be in charge of North Pole Operations? And what’s up with his mode of transportation? Reindeer? Really? Maybe some of these titles will shed light on the matter.
When Santa Fell to Earth, by Cornelia Funke
Do you know that at one time Santa faced a hostile takeover? When Gerold Geronimus Goblynch was leader of Yule Land’s Great Christmas Council, he outlawed the old magical ways. Talk about putting a crimp in Santa’s style. A snowmobile instead of reindeer? Say it ain’t so. But being Santa, the Jolly Ole Elf found a way out of it. Cornelia Funke (author of the Inkheart series) spins a rollicking holiday tale.
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, by L. Frank Baum, with illustrations by Charles Santore
When we see the name L. Frank Baum, a girl from Kansas and a yellow brick road comes to mind, but Baum created other worlds. Baum also reported on the history of the Jolly Ole Elf. From Santa’s childhood, spent with the Immortals in the Forest of Burzee, to the struggle with the Awgwas, Baum relates the story of the world’s most famous gift-giver and the customs that surround him. Avid Oz fans will recognize aspects of Santa’s world, which later turned up in the Oz series.
Kringle, by Tony Abbott
As a child, Santa (then known as “Kringle”) was under the care of an elderly woman named Merwen. The woods where they lived were filled with goblins who, to say the least, were not children-friendly. When the goblins child-kidnapping schemes ensnared Merwen, Kringle came to her rescue. As Abbot relates it, this is the event that would ultimately make Santa who he is today.
Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King, by William Joyce and Laura Geringer
In his “Guardians of Childhood” books, William Joyce has related the tales of many mythical figures known to children, from the Sandman to the Easter Bunny, and from the Tooth Fairy to Jack Frost. Here he zeroes in on the most famous of all, Santa. Can you believe that in his youth Santa was a bandit? Yep, Santa himself was on the Naughty List, but with the help of a Ombric Shalazar, wizard and survivor of Atlantis, he reformed. Joyce’s book relates how they faced down Pitch, the Nightmare King.
The Legend of Holly Claus, by Brittney Ryan, with illustrations by Laurel Long
The Claus line doesn’t stop with Santa, known in this book as “Nicholas Clause.” (How many names does this guy have?) Ryan expounds on the experiences of one Holly Claus, daughter of the legendary toy maker. Cursed by the warlock, Herrikhan, she is restricted to the North Pole lest she have a meltdown (literarily). Here are the events of her defeat of the wizard.
All books listed can be obtained through your local library. For more information about holiday books, or to find out about library services and programs, please visit your local library, or go to ahjlibrary.org. Mr. Strawn is Director of the Allendale-Hampton-Jasper Regional Library.