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How To Catch Santa: A Holiday How To! – A children’s book review

Written By | Dec 14, 2018
How to Catch Santa, Jean Reagan, Holiday, Children's Book, Christmas Book, Santa Claus, Brighid Moret

Laurel, MD: Every year when December rolls around, millions of children around the world think about Santa. Most of them make lists of presents they want to bring. Some are excited to pay the big man in the red suit a visit. But some children think about sneaking downstairs on Christmas Eve to see Santa in person.

While many children have had the same aim for countless years, author Jean Reagan has taken that concept and given it life in her Christmas book How to Catch Santa: A Holiday How To…Book!.

Things to consider

This is an adorable book, perfect for a Christmas bedtime story. In the story, the children have been waiting for days and days, and now it’s time to try to catch Santa. The first step gives a practical consideration: what to ask Santa once you catch him.

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Followed by a list of suggestions of things to tell Santa.




While the goal may be to catch Santa, the children are not trying to steal everyone else’s gifts or keep Christmas from coming.

The third consideration is what to give Santa, and the gift suggestions are thoughtful, such as a headlamp for going down dark chimneys.

Methods of Capture

Next, the story moves on to way in which you can catch Santa. There are no boxes with strings here. The suggested techniques range from lassos to snow traps. After deciding on technique, the children provide advice on setting up lures that can give clues that Santa was there in the event he eludes capture.

Glitter bombs, carrot sticks, bells, and cookie lures are all viable options. The book recommends young people consult parents and grandparents for capture suggestions.

Patience is a Virtue

While the goal is to catch Santa, the story’s children recognize that patience is necessary. They recognize that Santa will not come if there is lots of noise, like laughing or playing games. They also know that Santa will not come until everyone is fast asleep. Listening for Santa sounds and leaving the tree lights lit so Santa can see in the dark further shows that the children mean Santa no ill-will.

They also acknowledge that success is not guaranteed, offering advice to be patient. There is always next year.

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How to Catch Santa Review

While this is a fun book for young children, parents can be assured that some children are actually going to try some of these Santa catching techniques. None of the suggestions in the book are going to cause trouble. And they may help clue parents into any possible antics of their children on Christmas Eve.

Suggestions like leaving a stack of riddles for Santa with a note to wake the child for the answers could be a fun tradition to add to preparations. However, the story children do willing go to sleep to ensure Santa’s arrival.



Illustrations by Lee Wildish

Illustrator Lee Wildish has brought this fun “how to” book to life with fun pictures that fit the story. Some are whimsical, some are just straightforward illustrations of the family enjoying their holiday traditions.

The editors have also used creative layout and text that bends, curls and tilts to fit around the illustrations or to reflect list making and brainstorming.  Also, make sure you read the letters to Santa under the dust jacket on the inside cover. At front are pre-Christmas wish list letters to Santa, reminiscent of the letters in The Day the Crayons Quit. On the back cover are thank you notes to Santa, which is a nice touch that so many children forget.

For children that are high-spirited or adventurous, the idea of catching Santa might be a thrill. This book seems like an instruction manual and makes parents appear as willing accomplices.

How to Catch Santa: A Holiday How To…Book! By Jean Reagan and Illustrated by Lee Wildish was published by Knopf Books for Young Reads on October 20, 2015. It is available as a hardcover picture book, and is recommended for children ages 4-8.

Brighid Moret

Brighid is a freelance writer, mother and reader. She holds an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. Find her on Twitter @BrighidMoret, or follow @BigReadsLittleH for the latest children's book reviews.