You hear a lot of people complain about the commercialization of Christmas. You see a lot of signs and memes reminding us that Christ is the “reason for the season.” You read all kinds of articles about how we need to spend less time on social media and more time in real conversations with real people. This weekend I read a pretty special little book by Dennis Canfield that makes those points, and a few more (maybe even more important), in the most delightful way. It’s called Back to Christmas, and although it is considered a children’s book, everyone will enjoy this fun yet meaningful tale.
The story starts with Marmel who takes his job as head labeling elf (you know, “naughty” or “nice”) so seriously that he begins to believe the whole point of Christmas is to separate people into groups. When the naughty list dwindles down to only one family, Marmel worries that he will soon be out of a job, so he embarks on a mission to make sure they stay on the naughty list… permanently!
Of course, Santa wants everyone on the nice list, so he recruits his brother, Reverse Santa to help. That’s right, Reverse Santa. He wears green, lives at the South Pole, and instead of giving gifts, he takes things away!
In the middle of it all is the Krumwerth family, headed straight for the permanent naughty list. Only one of them, daughter Amanda, knows the danger, and now she must try to undo years of naughty behavior and steer everyone toward the nice list.
In addition to all that, Canfield enlists the help of flying penguins (ridiculous yes, but no more so than flying reindeer), a heavy metal rocker named Repo, more elves, and a little bit of magic to advance the story to its moving conclusion. This is a perfect holiday story to enjoy on your own or to share with a child or anyone else. Who knows? You may help someone find their way Back to Christmas.
If you read this book and would like to share your thoughts, please do so here in the comments. AND if you you’d like to share your own ideas for getting back to Christmas, please share those as well.