If you think Santa is a jolly old elf, consider this statistic: "Seventy-five percent of children from eleven months old to age three scream and cry at the sight of Santa." Ed Butchart learned this fact the hard way during his 13 years as a professional Santa, donning his red suit and listening for weeks on end as children divulged their Christmas hopes and dreams. Butchart spills a few secrets of his own in the funny and inspiring memoir The Red Suit Diaries, a behind-the-scenes peek at the life of a shopping mall Santa. Of the thousands of children placed on his knee each season, Butchart finds that some are screamers, some are kickers, some are "Mama climbers," and some are perfectly adorable. Despite the trials, he manages to keep his Christmas spirit intact, using his position to reflect the love and joy inherent in the season.

Linda Stankard admits to making her own mincemeat one jangled Christmas.


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