Jeremy Seal

22 October 2015
304 pages


Santa Claus began as Nicholas, a Byzantine bishop whose anonymous acts of nighttime charity would turn him into the most popular and enduring of all saints. Jeremy Seal’s journey follows Nicholas’s all-conquering expansion west from Turkey to the Crusader ports of Bari and Venice, and thence to 16th century Amsterdam. Seal records his subject’s 20th century rebirth in the advertising boardrooms of Manhattan, and his own children’s encounter with Santa in his new Lapland home. This high adventure spans early-Christian relics and Italian chicanery to reindeer, chimneys and chocolate coins, in a riveting narrative that combines epic sweep with cameos of childhood innocence. From the nature of belief to the settling of modern America, this is an extraordinary tale, triumphantly told.

'A treat whatever the season' Traveller Magazine

'Funny, touching and absurd . . . a charming and original book' Sunday Telegraph

‘A highly original, historically engaging and enchanting book’ Geographical Magazine