A Boy Called Christmas – Matt Haig

Published By: Canongate
Pages: 266
Released On: 12/11/2015

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas.
It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.
If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you.
Because this book is FULL of impossible things.

Are you still reading?

Good.

Then let us begin . . .

A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.

*****

It should come to no surprise to people who have read any of my previous reviews that I love Christmas, and love Matt Haig – so a Christmas book written by Matt Haig…what more could I ask for? I thought I had all of his published books, but it was only when watching a trailer for the movie adaptation of this book that I realised I didn’t have it, nor did I have its two sequels. Well, I soon rectified that!

Whilst this is predominately aimed at children, I – aged 28 and 5 months – thought this was one of the sweetest, most profound festive books I have read. Yes, at the very crux of it, it is about a young boy who becomes the man we believe to be Father Christmas. But it’s so much more than that. It’s about learning to live with what you’ve got, learning to make the best of what you’ve got; it’s about family and friends and loved ones – or the lack of; it’s about power and the things we believe are worth prioritising; it’s about the friendship of strangers and the willingness to trust those that are different to ourselves; and above all else, it’s about believing. Believing in ourselves, believing in others, believing in Father Christmas, believing in hope.

For a relatively short book, aimed at children, this could have been quite a wishy-washy book, with no real grounding. But like every other Matt Haig book I’ve read, there’s a real heart to the story, and that story takes us on a full adventure, full of mischief and wonder. The main trio of Nikolas, Miika, and Blitzen are the perfect combination of real and magical, and they work so well with the secondary characters they meet along the way.

I think in the time we live in now, there is an ever-growing risk that Christmas will lose its magic, and just become a great big commodity (even more so than it already is), and children will stop believing earlier and earlier. I remember I started to question the existence of Father Christmas when I was about 11, but I still held on to the belief. But now, I have relatives whose children are questioning him at age 7 or 8, and that breaks my heart. The adult world is hard enough without magic, so we need to hold onto it as long as we can. And this book explains why we need to remember that. And that is why I will be making sure each child in my family gets a copy so they can see why magic is so important to keep hold of.

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