No one likes getting up early for work, not even Santa Claus, who only works one day out of the year. Raymond Briggs’s comic-style book begins with Santa waking up on Christmas Eve. He has a full day of deliveries ahead, and he is cranky about every step of the journey. Throughout the day, he complains about being up early, cold weather, climbing stairs, tripping over cats, and other job hazards.
The book is packed with cheeky humor. In one panel, Santa puzzles over how to access a trailer home. According to Wikipedia, Briggs received a letter of complaint because of a scene of Santa on the toilet.
A sense of melancholy hovers over all Briggs’s works, the bittersweet realization of reality. In this story, Santa is human like all of us, crotchety and peevish instead of holly and jolly. But by humanizing this larger-than-life figure, Briggs makes him not only more lovable — but believable.