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A Boy Called Christmas

An Impossibility is just a Possibility that you don't understand

'Tis the season when one of our most beloved heroes comes down the chimney and drops off something special for those of us who've been nice. So what a great time to read a book that perfectly ties to that feeling of joy, love and hope? A Boy Called Christmas is the story of that hero, and Matt Haig aims to delight the kid in all of us. 

The book centres around an 11-year-old boy named Nikolas, who heads off to the Far North in search of his father, Joel, the woodcutter. Joel, has been commissioned to venture up to the Far North with six other men to find Elfhelm, a mythical place where elves are believed to dwell. But does this place really exist? 

Joel really needs the money, and the huge reward of twelve thousand rubels from the king, is an even bigger motivation for him to make that dangerous expedition hundreds of miles in search of Elfhelm village. The journey takes him to Seipäjärvi, Finland, and beyond the iced plains, lakes and frozen forest land, in search of Elfhelm village. 

Nikolas is left in the care of his evil aunt, Carlotta. "Care" is an overstatement. His aunt doesn't come close to displaying any caring characteristics. If you think most aunts are nasty and horrible, Aunt Carlotta was particularly bad. Everything about her feels like it is covered in frost. 

She puts forth a whole set of rules for Nikolas to follow, including "no rats"; so Miika (Nikolas' pet mouse) is thrown out of the house. But Miika is not alone, as Aunt Carlotta also thinks it's best for Nikolas to sleep outside in the fresh air, while she takes his cozy room. And so, that summer, Nikolas spent his time from the first light till nightfall, looking for food, and the rest of the night sleeping outdoors.

Eventually, fed up of Aunt Carlotta's evil ways, Nikolas decides to set out on a quest to find his father. When he reaches Elfhelm village, Nikolas is surprised by what he finds in this fabled kingdom. The hundreds of elves are all miserable. How could this be? They also have some sort of a class system in place based on the colour of their tunic. This is definitely not what Nikolas had imagined Elfhelm village would be like. He always imagined it to be a place filled with joy and laughter and lots of singing and sweet treats.

But alas, this is not the case. There are lots of rules for the elves. And one of those rules forbids any humans in the village. The dreadful rules have been drafted by Father Vodol, the leader of the Elf Council. And when he finds out about Nikolas' existence, he is furious, wasting no time in throwing him into a dungeon with a Truth Pixie and a hungry troll. 

Of course, it's not a surprise that Nikolas is young Saint Nick, and it's only a matter of time that he discovers magic and hope.

"Of course elves' reindeer can fly," pointed out the Truth Pixie.

"They've been drimwicked."

"Drimwicked?" Nikolas remembered. Drimwick. That was the word that Father Topo and Little Noose had used to bring him and Blitzen back to life. It was a magical word.

"A drimwick is a hope spell. If you have been drimwicked it gives you powers, even if you are only a reindeer." said the Truth Pixie. 

What kind of powers?
"It takes all that is good in you, and makes it stronger. It makes it magical. If you wish for something good, the magic will help. It is a very
boring kind of magic. Because being good is very boring."

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig is a story of believing in the impossible. It will make you feel like a kid again. It inspires and uplifts, as it charms your socks off. But keep those socks on because this book is a delightful read and perfect for the holidays. Illustrations by Chris Mould just liven up the book and make A Boy Called Christmas even more endearing.