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Search tags: little-claus-and-big-claus
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review 2018-05-13 21:58
Santa Claus Doesn't Mop Floors - Debbie Dadey,Marcia Thornton Jones,John Steven Gurney
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Growing up, I loved the Bailey School Kids series. It was a fun way to mix mystical elements into reality. In this one, the school gets a new janitor who may or not be Santa Claus.

Fun story with interesting events. I'll admit the kids are kind of jerks in this one (playing tricks on the janitor, making fun of fat and short people), but overall it is entertaining. There are definitely some cringe-y moments, but to be fair this was published in 1991, before the mainstream fat acceptance movement. There are definitely some flaws, but overall it is still a fun book. 

A nice book that isn't too Christmas-y. 
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review 2018-04-22 16:51
Onvermijdelijk geweld
De Metsiers - Hugo Claus

Voor De Metsiers had ik nog nooit een boek in Vlaams gelezen, behalve stripboeken zoals Guust (die in Vlaams uitkomt omdat ze in België uitgegeven zijn, of vergis ik me?).  Maar ik had geen last dit boek te begrijpen.

 

Het was een uiterst meeslepend verhaal. Recht vanaf de eerste pagina zit het vol met geheime relaties en potentieel geweld. Veel spannend.

 

De Metsiers uit de titel zijn een boerengezin uit Vlaanderen die weinig contact met zijn buren hebben omdat ze een slecht reputatie hebben. Daardoor is de famile van de meest van de wereld uitsluiten.

 

Dit is voornamelijk een groot probleem voor de jongere familieleden. De dochter wil trouwen maar dat is bijna onmogelijk. Zij had een aanhouding met een van de weinig mannen in de buurt met wie het gezin kunnen praten. Maar hij wijst haar af en nu is ze zwanger.

 

Dan ontmoet het meisje een Amerikaanse soldaat. Hij wil haar beter kennen (en ook met haar vrijen - dit boek bevat veel seksscènes). Maar dit gezin zit al vol tot met barsten met drukte en spanningen. Het lijkt onvermijdelijk dat iets gevaarlijk zou gebeuren.

 

Echt goed. Ik wil graag meer boeken van deze auteur lezen. Misschien "De Verdriet van België". Dat lijkt ook een veel geprezen boek te zijn.

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review 2018-04-12 19:39
How Mrs. Santa Claus Saved Christmas - Phyllis McGinley
(spoiler show)

By famous author/poet Phyllis McGinley, this quaint children's tale told alternating in poem and story. 
Mrs. Claus is known for influencing the Mr. and giving him his good ideas, but this year she has thought of a radical idea. It makes Santa so angry he goes to sleep for a nap Christmas Eve, telling no one to wake him-- he will do it himself. The hour has come for Santa to begin his delivery ride, but cannot be roused. So, Mrs. Claus decides to make the trip herself, implementing her new idea. She dresses up like Santa and delivers "skis for the bookworms, books to read on rainy Sundays for the Baseball Breed; For girls who had nothing but dolls on hand, nice red dump-trucks for dumping sand; Nice soft Pandas, huggable and fat for little boys waiting for a cowboy hat; useless presents, extravagant and funny for children with never a cent of money; practical presents for those more rich; for studious fellows, balls to pitch; ribbons for tomboys, jacks for their brothers....." and the change from the expected gifts delights the children that Santa is even more endeared to them. We loved the book.

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text 2017-12-28 14:21
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 13 - Christmas

Tasks for Christmas: Post a picture of your stockings hung from the chimney with care, –OR– a picture of Santa’s ‘treat’ waiting for him. –OR– Share with us your family Christmas traditions involving gift-giving, or Santa’s visit. Did you write letters to Santa as a kid (and if so, did he write back, as J.R.R. Tolkien did “as Santa Claus” to his kids)? If so, what did you wish for? A teddy bear or a doll? Other toys – or practical things? And did Santa always bring what you asked for?

 

 

I'm afraid I was disabused of the notion that there actually was a Santa Claus even before my mom "officially" did so when one year -- I think I may have been four at the time -- I found something she hadn't yet gotten around to hiding really well that later showed up wrapped up under the Christmas tree.  (Of course I didn't let on I had found it before, or at least I did my best not to.)  Also, I think it was even in kindergarten that I first learned about the historic St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, and where we were told that the "Christ child" (Christkind) who in Germany is said to bring all the presents in addition to / or in competition with Santa Claus is to be understood symbolically, with the gifts we receive "from him" as a tangible manifestation of the good brought into the world by the little boy in the manger some 2000 years ago.

 

So I didn't write letters to Santa, but my mom had me write out a wish list nevertheless, and yes, some of the things from the list would usually be part of what I received.

 

Germans exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, not the morning of Christmas Day, and I think our family tradition is the same, or at least very similar to that of many other German families (with the only significant differences being whether you go to church or not -- and if you do, whether it's in the afternoon / early evening or at midnight -- and whether you exchange gifts before or after dinner).  We go to church early in the evening, usually at 6:00 PM -- while I was growing up and in the years until I moved away after I'd graduated from university, the church where I was confirmed, which was the closest Protestant church to where my grandparents lived (and where we used to live when I was a kid)

 

 

-- whereas these days, we go to the Protestant church closest to where we now live, which is a 15-20 minute walk from our home.

 

In the years up until my graduation from university, our gathering on Christmas Eve consisted of either just my maternal grandparents, my mom and me, or in addition there would be the family of my mom's sister, with whom we were particularly close, and who lived near Bonn for a few years while I was in elementary school, and then again after my uncle had retired.  "The kids" (actually, all the family except for either my mom or my aunt, depending in whose home we were celebrating) would be banned from the living room until all the lights on the Christmas tree were lit, then a little bell would call us in, and we'd exchange presents, and after that, we'd have dinner.

ca. age 4, with my mom and my grandpa (I think I've shared this one before)

Christmas dinner table at my aunt and uncle's house, ca. 1996 or 1997

 

These days, it's just my mom and me on Christmas Eve (though we may get together with other parts of the family on Christmas Day or on Boxing Day), and we still follow essentially the same routine.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Santa Claus / Saint Nick actually comes twice in Germany, once in his incarnation as St. Nicholas, on the evening of that saint's official holiday (December 6), and then in his incarnation as Father Christmas / Santa on Christmas Eve.  While his Christmas visit is said to be a secret one, his visit on St. Nicholas"s Day is one equally dreaded and anticipated by children, because it's then that they get to account for their misdeeds throughout the year ... or get presents -- nothing major, mostly chocolates, cookies, tangerines, nuts and the like -- for being able to prove they've been good kids.  Of course they always end up being loaded with sweets, but if "St. Nick" is sufficiently convincing -- or is actually accompanied by his scary servant, Knecht Ruprecht, whose job it is to administer the punishment to bad children --, there's a moment of a certain frisson at the beginning, with St. Nick, typically a member of the family and thus excellently informed, going through their "record of behavior" for the year.  I have only vague memories of this (and no photos at all) from my own childhood, both at home and at my kindergarten, but here's my uncle dressed up as St. Nicholas for my cousin's kids:

 

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text 2017-12-05 14:48
How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas ★★☆☆☆
How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas - Jeff Guinn

 

Jeff Guinn is a terrific writer of nonfiction historical events and biographies. I thoroughly enjoyed his books on Jim Jones and on Bonnie & Clyde. But it was painfully apparent to me, early on in this book, that this talent doesn’t translate well to the telling of fictional stories. At least not fictional stories about Santa and Mrs. Claus. I tried to soldier on through this book, because I needed it for Square 3 of The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season (Book themes for St. Martin’s Day: Read a story dealing with an act of selfless generosity (like St. Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar)), but I just can’t keep punching myself in the head like this. I had to stop. I can’t even work up the energy to detail the many ways in which this book continually failed me. Just take my word for it: Read the hell out of Mr. Guinn’s nonfiction books – I’m eyeballing the one on Charles Manson right now – but don’t spend your time or energy on this set of “fanciful” Christmas stories.

 

DNF. I gave it 2 stars only because I was able to make through 41% of the book (that’s 4 ½ hours of listening!) before giving up.

 

Audiobook, purchased via Audible. Susan Denaker’s smarmy & self-righteous tone certainly seemed to suit the character as written, but damn.  

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