Norfolk couple publish Santa diaries

He is the jolly old elf with a little round belly who will be receiving wish lists from children across the world very soon.

And a Norfolk couple has been granted exclusive access to the life of Santa Claus by printing the diaries of the man behind Christmas.

Whilst he is only in the mind of families one season a year, John and Juliette Atkinson have spent the last 18 months researching and illustrating the history of Father Christmas.

The couple's new book 'All About Me', which went on sale last week, gives readers an insight into the life of St Nick, how he is regarded across the world, and how his image has changed over the centuries.

Santa look-alike Mr Atkinson, who is a graphic designer and artist, came up with the illustrations for the book at their home in Burston, near Diss, whilst his wife researched the material and wrote the words.

Mrs Atkinson, 45, who also writes children's books, said it was 'odd' to be writing about Father Christmas during the spring and summer. She added that the coffee table book would appeal to the whole family.

'We have had so much fun doing it and have been to toy fairs and museums and gone to different shops at Christmas time.'

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'The reception we have had so far has been phenomenal. It is very traditional and appealing to people at a time of austerity,' she said.

The hardback diary includes the secrets to how Santa does his deliveries, how reindeers fly, a copy of the 'sleighway code' and his different fashions over the years. The book also includes present, toy and cracker making ideas and pudding recipes.

Mr Atkinson, 63, added that the couple had been given access to 600 Father Christmas diaries after meeting him whilst on holiday in Southwold two years ago. He added that his studio at their Burston home was bursting with Santa costumes and memorabilia.

'No one has done anything like this before. There are Christmas books, but nothing like this and it will be a book that people will get out year after year,' he said.

The couple added that they had more than enough material to release a second Father Christmas book next year.

The Father Christmas diary, published by international firm Michael Neugebauer Publishing, is being sold at local shops such as Jarrold's in Norwich, Diss Publishing, Fredericks Fine Foods in Diss, St George's Distillery at Roudham, and Bakers and Larners of Holt.

See the December issue of the Norfolk Magazine for more.