At 735 pages, The Christmas Chronicles might inspire a deeply felt ho-ho-ho-hum from the Santa-averse. But don’t shun these three newly compiled “as told to” Yule novels from the Fort Worth author (The Autobiography of Santa Claus, How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas, and The Great Santa Search). With their historical accuracy and chapter titles like “Travels With Attila,” they are not treacly holiday fare.
What inspired you to undertake an autobiography of Santa Claus?
Right around Christmas in 1994, I was writing for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and wanted to do a column with a holiday theme. I realized I had no idea about the origins of Santa-related traditions. It seemed that the right person to explain them was Santa himself, making certain to include the correct history. After the first line—“You’re right to believe in me”—it was easy, and a lot of fun from there.
How did it feel to be messing with Santa’s reputation?
It felt less like messing than it did revealing. The original Nicholas earned a well-deserved reputation for giving gifts to the very poorest people. The more I learned about him, the more I admired him. Of course, some have found it painful to learn that Santa doesn’t have a North Pole workforce. I have gotten a lot of flak from elf lovers.
What details have you added?
I wouldn’t mind if my explanation of how reindeer fly works its way into Christmas mythology. That one was especially tough to figure out.
Would you embrace these Santa books as your professional legacy?
I would be pleased if these books, which emphasize generosity of spirit and accurate history, have meant enough to readers to be remembered and read beyond my own life and career. Tarcher/Penguin, $19.95 (Read the full interview.)