I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate this post. All thoughts and opinions are mine alone.
I truly believe that books are a wonderful way to connect with children and introduce concepts. That especially holds true for this time of the year; when the shelves are seemingly inundated with book after book about Christmas. And true, most of them deal with the fun side of Christmas. Some, depending on what you believe, deal with the religious side of Christmas. I tend to look for books that are a blend of both as I want to keep the heart of Christmas in mind. To me, Christmas means family, giving, love, and hope. And I’ve found that in what I believe will be a new Christmas classic in our home: The Gift Giver by Jacob Haslem.
On Christmas Eve a boy stirs from sleep to find an old man, in the living room, dressed in red with a bag full of gifts. Excitement soon gives way to disappointment as he finds he has received fewer gifts than expected. The old man sees the young boy’s protest and tells the story of his origins and his motives. As the boy becomes privy to this mystery, a question comes to his mind: is it by magic that the old man accomplishes his task, or is it something else… The lesson he learns will change the way he views Christmas forever!
From the moment we received the book, J (Kyle’s younger son) was the most intrigued. He asked if the book was about Christmas- to which I replied, yes. He asked if it was about Santa- to which I replied, yes. He asked if there was anything else that this book was about- to which I replied, let’s read it.
J turned 8 earlier this year so I think he’s at a great age to talk about the meaning of Christmas, commercialism, and Santa. He still believes in Santa to an extent though T (who turned 12) has outgrown it. Squeaker has yet to be introduced to the concept of Santa and I’m still trying to figure out how we’ll do it.
This book weaves together the tradition of Santa and the Christian tradition of Christmas seamlessly and in such a way that it’s not obtrusive. In fact, I appreciated how the author managed to do this.
My other favorite thing about this book?
The illustrations are rich and warm.
They’re full and beautiful and add so much depth to an already meaningful story.
Since our first reading, we’ve read this book twice. I think that it’s made an impression on J and I hope that it will become a Christmas tradition with Squeaker.
Learn more about the Gift Giver and it’s meaningful message here:
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