A veteran Santa reveals heartwarming true stories and lessons from his twenty-year career spreading Christmas magic.Read more...
A veteran Santa reveals heartwarming true stories and lessons from his twenty-year career spreading Christmas magic.
With the holiday shopping season beginning earlier each year, more than ever. Americans are struggling to remember the true meaning of Christmas. And who better to deliver the gift of Christmas inspiration than a man who has spent the last two decades playing Santa?
Sal Lizard was in his twenties when his beard and hair turned completely white. Today he appears everywhere from malls and parades to schools and hospitals. And-- from his custom-made red velvet suits to the mistletoe that hangs from the rearview mirror in his Santa-mobile--he is Santa Claus three hundred and sixty-five days a year.
In "Being Santa Claus" Sal reflects on his experiences with both children and adults including: Christmas magic is all around us: We don't always see it, but it is there, shaping and enriching our lives.Sometimes you need to go that extra mile: Santa Claus is the one person who can't even use a blizzard as an excuse not to honor his commitments, and Sal teaches adults the importance of always showing up for our children.Even a small child can make a big difference: Sal has met some impressive children over the years, and he's learned that you don't need to be a grown-up to make an impact on the world around you.
In "Being Santa Claus" Sal shares these lessons, along with often heartwarming, occasionally heartbreaking, and sometimes downright hysterical stories from his twenty-year career as Santa.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-10-22
- Reviewer: Staff
What does it take to become Santa Claus? Lizard, a regular guy, transformed himself into the symbol of Christmas after his hair started going white in his 20s. With a heady blend of humor and sentiment, the author explains his role as a positive, affirming figure in the public pageantry surrounding the gala winter holiday, citing his joy from the kids’ utter adoration, and making wishes come true. Although Lizard sometimes views the grownups as an occupational hazard, he dons the red velvet costume, answers any pee-wee question, and treats every child “with love, dignity, and respect.” For the child in every one of us remembering the magic of the Christmas season, he takes us back to the sheer happiness and anticipation of the holiday with his cheerful yet wacky takes in his chapters, “What Would Santa Do?” and “He Knows If You’ve Been Bad Or Good.” If you want to begin to believe again in yuletide mirth and merriment, this book is the perfect sales pitch for the winter classic from a nutty professional Santa, the most effective antidote for sales, bargain and commercialism. (Dec.)
True tales of Christmas joy
These three books about Christmas have little in common, which should come as no surprise. We each observe the season in different ways. There is one common thread between these books, though, and it’s not jolly old Saint Nick: Each features an absolutely hair-raising drive through a holiday blizzard. Read, enjoy—and don’t forget your snow chains.
Julia Romp’s The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas gives away the story’s end in the title, but once you’ve met single mother Julia and her son George you’ll still cheer. For years, neighbors and teachers complained about George’s disengaged and combative behavior, but nobody knew what was wrong or how to fix it. One day mother and son took a stray cat to the vet. When they came to check on the animal, George began to open up to it, speaking in a high voice, making eye contact and almost instantly warming up. They adopted “Ben,” and he became a lifeline for George, who by now had been diagnosed with autism. When Ben runs away, George regresses, turning his rage on his mother. But Julia applies the same persistence to finding Ben that she had to caring for George, and things end well. Romp tells a hard story, and it’s easy to sympathize when she asks for help repeatedly and is instead viewed as a potential child abuser. Her love for her family—son and cat both—shines through, and if you’ve put off microchipping your pet, this story will encourage you to make that appointment.
BEHIND THE BEARD
Sal Lizard was just a working stiff with a bushy white beard when someone asked him to play Santa as a one-time gig. Being Santa Claus details Lizard’s journey into work as a full-time Santa, working in malls, making home and hospital visits, and loving the job. As one might expect, bringing cheer to terminally ill children is heart-wrenching work, and the hospitals he worked at had designated areas where employees could cry without the patients seeing. The hard times were offset by a job that let him bring joy to old and young alike, and Lizard seems made for the task. He’s playful with older kids who doubt Santa is real, and willing to get on the floor and play with younger kids who are scared by him (to the consternation of mall staff). Lizard tells his story with the help of Jonathan Lane, who interviewed him extensively and collected his best stories here. It works well; reading the book feels like being entertained, possibly over milk and cookies, by a relative overflowing with heartwarming anecdotes.
THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON
Joseph Bottum’s The Christmas Plains is considered a memoir, but it’s as much about Christmas, language and landscape as it is his personal history. Moving his family to the Black Hills of South Dakota, where he lived as a boy, to reclaim a sense of fixed geography for his daughter, Bottum muses about his childhood holidays and considers the works of Charles Dickens, G.K. Chesterton and Dylan Thomas, and the ways in which they have influenced our experiences and recollections of Christmas. Bottum has a fresh take on the perennial complaint that Christmas is too commercial, pointing out that the inflatable snowmen and profusions of tinsel come from a knowledge that “a real thing comes toward us in December, and they layer it over with whatever fake or genuine finery they can find—not to hide it but to honor it.” His spare descriptions of the desolate Western plains alongside the hustle and bustle of New York City at Christmas are lovely, and his gentle insistence on the spiritual amid the commercial is a welcome tonic.