Christmas storybooks are a magical thing that help build the excitement of the season, exploring the world of Father Christmas and the elves in a way that children can't really witness. That magical moment when Father Christmas descends down chimneys all over the world, spreading love and happiness, is one that books and films can help to recreate, but it's not something that children can experience in reality.
I'm always keen to fill the house with quality storybooks at Christmas, books that help to build the warm glow inside. And just as 'The Polar Express' is the perfect film for this, I've now found the perfect book.
"The Spirit of Christmas" is a wonderful story of a little boy called Drew who enjoys the build-up to Christmas, doing craft activities with his mum and building snowmen with his dad. One day when he is examining the pile of presents wrapped in shiny paper under the dazzling, family Christmas tree, his mum explains to him that not every child is able to have more than the one present that Father Christmas brings. This makes Drew sad and, as he can't stop thinking about it, he writes Santa a letter asking if he can help him share his old toys and books. Father Christmas obliges by dropping a 'giving bag' off underneath the tree and leaves a note to explain that he will collect them tonight to share. Drew does just this and on Christmas morning he discovers the empty sack, and a special bell from Santa to remember his good deed.
It is an absolutely wonderful story, and I will admit that I had a little tear in my eye and lump in my throat when I read it earlier to myself. I think that the message that is explained is so very important. I know many families ask their children to sort out their old toys before Christmas to donate to a charity shop, and as The Boy is five and a half this year I feel is old enough to understand that and not become upset with not having the toys any more. What makes this act even more special in this book though is that the toys are given back to Father Christmas to be reused by other children, bringing the magic of Christmas into the act even more.
Accompanying the book in this special presentation pack is a beautiful, natural fabric sack printed with 'North Pole – Santa Mail – Special Deliver' in red on it, and a keepsake silver bell on a red ribbon.
When I read this with The Boy in December, I will not give him the whole presentation pack, just the book. As Drew does in the story, we will write a letter asking if we could have a giving bag to fill, and I will secretly take these to a charity shop to donate, before returning the empty sack and the bell on Christmas morning. The way that the act of donation has been dressed up in the magic of Christmas, along with 'returning the toys to Father Christmas' makes it such a special activity to do.
"The Sprit of Christmas" is available from Little Tiger Press for £19.99
I was sent this product for the purpose of this review, my opinion is honest and unbiased.