10 December 2008

CHRISTMAS BOOK REVIEW: The World at Christmas

by Charles House

This may be the weirdest Christmas book I've ever read. And I thought The Christmas Mystery was odd.

The true purpose of this book is to illustrate how other nations outside the US celebrate Christmas. The narrative has Our Hero planning to use something called "a Transvolo stone" to transport himself to the various countries at Christmastime. But things keep going wrong. He asks to be transported to Greece and instead a Kallikantzeros (a Greek evil spirit who makes mischief at Christmastime) appears in his yard. He does get his Greek tour, but no sooner is that finished when all the Scandinavian "Nisser" (Christmas elves) appear in his yard, arguing which is the true Christmas bringer. Other attempts to go to other countries are either thwarted or the gift bringer from that country comes to him, saying they were summoned by a mysterious voice!

Turns out the saboteur is...Santa Claus! In this novel he is petulant, insecure, and selfish, thinking that just because Our Hero wants to learn about Christmas customs in other countries, he also wants that gift bringer to come to the United States and put Santa out of a job!

Of course Santa does finally come around at the end and in the meantime we get glimpses of Christmas elsewhere, but by then you are tired of the entire thing.

Recommended only as a curiosity.

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