Santa a Newfoundlander?
New children’s book from Butlerville writer says just that
In 2013 Santa Claus received a Canadian passport, allowing people in Canada to confirm he is, in fact, Canadian.
But for Tom Christopher of Butlerville, he’s more than a Canadian. His theory is that Santa is a Newfoundlander. At least that’s what it says in his new book, “An Old Time Christmas.”
A member of the Bay Roberts performance group DaNdA, Christopher is known for his songwriting skills. But it’s only recently he has begun publishing children’s Christmas-themed books. The first, “Santa Almost Missed Our Town,” was released last year. It was co-written by fellow DaNdA and The Fables member David Fitzpatrick. It was originally written as a song.
“An Old Time Christmas” was released earlier this year. Illustrator Heather Reilly, who lives in Dildo, drew the pictures for both books.
The short tale is about the narrator looking back on a past Christmas in the 1960s when he actually saw Santa. During his flashback, he saw Santa doing a jig and singing a song. His accent gave it away; Santa was from Newfoundland and Labrador.
“I thought a Santa from Newfoundland would be easier for children to relate to, especially those in outports and isolated places,” Christopher told The Compass last week. “Also it adds a little more humor to the story, and shows some good old Newfoundland traditions, some of which are still going on today.”
At craft fairs around the province, where Christopher has been selling the book, he has been getting a lot of positive feedback.
“It’s very nice to see an adult peruse the book and get to a part and smile and say. ‘My mom had one of those,’ or ‘I remember that.’” He explained. “(It) gives you a very good feeling.”
The illustrations too might bring back some nostalgic feelings for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. In one image, a bottle of red purity syrup is next to a glass and a fruitcake. In another, Santa is riding a komatik sled pulled by eight Newfoundland dogs.
Christopher is now working on a third book. Although he didn’t disclose much detail, he did confirm Reilly will be doing the illustrations
“I have a draft of a story laid out,” he explained. “(I) just have to make a few changes for the final story.
“Very happy to say Heather Reilly has already agreed to once again be the illustrator. She is very excited and as always brings so much energy to her work.”
Besides writing a book, he also has lyrics written for about a dozen songs, and hopes in the new year to have another traditional Newfoundland album released.
Tom Christopher (right) wrote and Heather Reilly illustrated the children’s Christmas story “An Old Time Christmas.”