cover-image-the-house-of-wooden-santas%22The Story

Jesse and his mother face the challenges of making a new life in a small town. But it’s hard. Jesse has no friends, and his mother’s carved wooden Santas aren’t selling. Will there even be a Christmas? Jesse wonders. But before it’s out, Jesse and his mom will discover the true spirit of the Christmas Season.

The House of Wooden Santas is a story about belief in oneself. It is magical and contemporary and traces the days of December like an advent calendar. With twenty-four chapters in all, The House of Wooden Santas is a rich, read-aloud experience for the whole family, each day of December, right up to Christmas.


“An amazing book, a beautiful book, and I just think it is going to be a treasure that will last for a long time.” CBC Book Panel

“A good picture book is a perfect marriage of text and art… Rarely do the two partners forge a union as strongly as they do in The House of Wooden Santas… The multi-level story provides a moving but never melancholy examination of a parent and child coming to terms with shifting emotions, finances and responsibilities… It’s Imelda George’s carved Santas, gloriously photographed by Ned Pratt, that will engage the whole family.” Toronto Star

“Booksellers agree that Kevin Major’s book …could become a Christmas classic.” Chronicle-Herald


Mr. Christie Award
Ann Conner Brimer Award

Author’s Comments

The Christmas season was always special and exciting when I was a child. Then when I had children of my own the excitement was renewed. I realized it was a perfect time to write a Christmas story.

I found inspiration in the wooden Santas carved by Imelda George. I first saw them in a shop window in Halifax, NS and, after collecting a few and spending time with them in our home, I approached Imelda with the idea of writing a story about a wood carver and her son. I asked if she would carve the Santas to go with the story, if and when I found a publisher willing to take it on. She agreed enthusiastically.

I started writing the story over one Christmas. It took about six months to complete the first draft and then to polish it up. My younger son was nine at the time, the same age as the boy in the book. He loved Christmas as much as I did, and some of his excitement for the holiday season found its way into the story. My son’s middle name is Jesse, the boy’s name in the book, and I dedicated it to him.

It is hard to believe, but I had trouble finding a publisher willing to commit to it. Five major publishers turned it down! Then, finally, Red Deer Press said yes. Great!


You could say I held to a belief in the story, even though others didn’t, just like Jesse held to his belief in Santa. The book won a couple of awards, got great reviews and has proven to be a fine success, especially here in Newfoundland.

For two weeks each December I go into schools and talk to elementary school students about The House of Wooden Santas. I bring along some of the original Santa carvings from the book, including Hockey Santa, who seems to be the all-time favourite. I love sharing the book with so many enthusiastic readers and telling them how I came to write it. It always fills me with the spirit of Christmas!


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