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This post is a book review of Tom A. Jerman’s Santa Claus Worldwide – A History of St. Nicholas and Other Holiday Gift-Bringers. Read what I love about his book, and why I think it’s a great read year round.
 

Contents
  1. Santa Is Part of the Universal Human Heritage
  2. A Great Research on Worldwide Winter Holiday Giftbringers
  3. The Book Provides Evidence for the Arguments
  4. An Educational Inspiring Must-Read for Everyone Loving the Holiday Season
  5. My Take-Aways from the Review of Tom A. Jerman’s Santa Claus Worldwide
  6. Review of Tom A. Jerman’s Santa Claus Worldwide in a Nutshell
  7. About the Author

 

Disclosure: Ad. Tom A. Jerman’s book entitled  “Santa Claus Worldwide – A History of St. Nicholas and Other Holiday Gift-Bringers” is a sample of my choice. The post is not endorsed by McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, nor by the author. I wrote the review entirely myself and it represents my own 100% honest opinion.

 

Santa Is Part of the Universal Human Heritage

A main argument is there is not one unique Santa Claus. Instead, Santa is part of the thousands of years-old winter gift-bringer tradition. No matter, how diverse these mid-winter gift-bringers may be, their share a common purpose. They namely teach kids the values of justice, award, kindness, and generousity.

When looking at my exposure to holdiday gift-bringers, I agree with this agrument. Half of my parternal family is Dutch, but of different faiths. Due to this upbringing, I am well familiar with the differences between Sinterklaas and St. Nikolaus. On my mother’s side,  Knecht Ruprecht, and the Christkind were central to the holidays. I recall the threads that the Christkind wouldn’t bring us gifts if we would disbehave. Or, Knecht Ruprecht would put a rute in our shoes.

 

A Great Research on Worldwide Winter Holiday Giftbringers

The book has accomplished a thourough view of Old World winter gift-bringers. It well features the melt of more than thousand years of European traditions, their up- and downs in both the Old and New World, and describes the melt into today’s American Santa Claus.

 

The Book Provides Evidence for the Arguments

The book covers the history of holiday gift-bringers worldwide using historic sources (e.g., old stitches, manuscripts). In addition, topic-relevant literature from the various countries backs the arguments. The approach is objective and unbiased. The reader learns a lot about humankind’s shared heritage, which is eye-opening.

For example, in my childhood, a December calendar sheet depictured the Christkind as a girl. She walked down a ladder from heaven with a sack full of gifts. Little Nicole was upset that “the artist painted the Jesus-child as a girl.” More than 50 years later, Jerman’s book lifted the mystery. The artist knew about the historic existance of female holiday gift-bringers.

 

An Educational Inspiring Must-Read for Everyone Loving the Holiday Season

The book encompasses 21 chapters on 240 pages. The first chapter covers the diversity of Santas. It investigates what they have in common. The next chapters discuss the holiday gift-bringers region-by-region and the historic timeline of the evolution towards the American Santa Claus. Each chapter presents its material in a logical order. The book keeps the reader curious, and interested. The arguments are to the point, and easy to follow. Jerman’s book reads as exciting as a detective story.

Read it!

bookcover of Tom A. Jerman's book Santa Claus Worldwide
Tom A. Jerman’s award-winning book.

 

My Take-Aways from the Review of Tom A. Jerman’s Santa Claus Worldwide

In Germany, many parents and teachers, who had been kids during the Third Reich, taught us kids that Santa Claus is an American fantasy figure. According to them, the American toy industry invented this fat guy to commericialize Christmas. Even in fairy tales, no one comes thru the chimney, drinks milk, and munches cookies. And, of course, reideers can’t fly. Furthermore, they could not survive on the North Pole because of the lack of food.

Consequently, I saw Santa Claus totally unrelated to Sinterklass, St. Nikolaus, and the Christkind. After reading Tom A. Jerman’s “Santa Claus Worldwide – A History of St. Nicholas and Other Holiday Gift-Bringers”, I see the holiday season, and the American Santa Claus in a new light.

It doesn’t matter who Santa is, and what we are celebrating. It’s about humankind’s shared heritage. The importance of justice and rewards, generousity and appreciation. These values make our lifes pleasant.

 

Review of Tom A. Jerman’s Santa Claus Worldwide in a Nutshell

To sum up. Jerman’s book is a great, interesting read for everyone interested in history, or in Christmas traditions. It is more than a book to read in the holiday season. On the contrary, it is also a book about humanity’s shared heritage, you can read any time. I loved reading it! Therefore, I strongly recommed it. You can order the book online from the publisher or on Amazon, at Target, and Barnes&Noble.

Or buy a signed copy directly from the author.

 

About the Author

Tom A. Jerman earned bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and journalism and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Utah. He worked as a copy editor for The Salt Lake Tribune, and practiced labor and employment law for 35 years. In 2015, he retired to pursue his interests in the history of the World’s mid-winter gift-bringers.

In May 2020, he published “Santa Claus Worldwide – A History of St. Nicholas and Other Holiday Gift-Bringers.” This book is the first volume of a planned trilogy. Tom received the Independent Publisher Book Awards for this book as the best holiday book of 2021. Furthermore, his book became a finalist in the 15th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards 2021.

As a hobby, Tom A. Jerman has collected Santa-Claus figurines and ornaments for decades. He is also the blogger at A Collection of Santas.

 

Looking for more book reviews related to history and culture? What about my review of Patricia Gucci’s In the Name of Gucci?

 
Photos: N. Mölders

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