Source: purchased from Amazon
Formats available: ebook
Genres: holiday fiction
Published by Stephanie Osborn on December 21, 2022
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Amazon
Santa's cat, the Gingerbread Cat, has been around as long as Santa and knows a few things; a magical cat, he's one of Santa's oldest and most important helpers.
So when Ginger tells the elves a story about one Nikolai Kristoffsen and his involvement with the Magi at the first Christmas, there's more in the story than meets the eye.
How did Kristoffsen find the Anointed Child? What is his relationship to Santa? And how did the Gingerbread Cat help?
It’s all the cat’s fault. Both in the story and that I’m reading the story. I don’t read a lot of Xmas stories, but, well, it’s all about the cat and told from the cat’s perspective. And I read it on Xmas Day. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
But about this story, it’s also all the cat’s fault. As things so often are. That’s why they call them CATastrophes. Or, as often occurs in so many households with one or more cats in residence, “CAT-ass-trophies”.
(Sorry, there’s a cat clawing the chair behind my head as I type this. She’s reminding me to talk about the cat IN the story. She’ll get her due later, I’m sure.)
The Gingerbread Cat takes a bit of historical fantasy stirs in more than a smidgeon of magical realism, a hint of romance and a heaping helping of wish fulfillment, and cooks up a sweet story about the man who was supposed to have been the FOURTH magi.
His name was Nikolai Kristoffsen and he had come from the frozen Northlands to Ur of the Chaldees to study magic with the great mages and sages of that famous Biblical city. After many years of study, Nikolai and his teachers read the coming of the Child in the stars, and planned to greet the prophesied one with gifts upon his birth.
They intended to follow the star. They also intended to all travel together. BUT Nikolai’s cat, Ginger, who was still very much a kitten at the time, spooked Nikolai’s animals. Over and over again.
Nikolai was late to the meeting and the rest of the expedition set out without him.
This turned out to be the story of both Nikolai’s journey AND Nikolai’s life. He spent decades hunting for that Child, well into the Child’s adulthood, and had always just missed him. Over and over and over.
It was fate. His, the Child’s, and as it turned out, Ginger the cat’s as well. How that tale of always arriving after the “nick” of time led to Nikolai becoming the Santa we all know and love, with the help of Ginger, of course, well, that’s the rest of the story.
Escape Rating A-: This may not be my holiday, but I still found The Gingerbread Cat to be a lovely little holiday story. And it is all because of Ginger the cat. Not that the rest of the story isn’t entirely cute, because it is. This is such a completely different origin story for the being we know as Santa Claus that it is hard not to fall in love with this tale of the patient but sometimes exasperated man who spends his life in pursuit of both a dream and a calling, only to find it fulfilled in the most surprising way imaginable – at least from his perspective.
But what made this story shine for me – and brought a tear to my eyes at the end – was the way that Nikolai’s entire found family was granted the gift of long life so that they could help him in his appointed task. There are entirely too many Santa stories where Santa loses an endless series of Mrs. Clauses and that’s just so sad.
Ginger gets not one but two gifts. As someone who has been owned by a series of cats, the gift of speech is absolutely a gift for Ginger’s benefit. (I know cats judge us, I’m just not all that willing to hear said judgment every day.) The other gift is a long life to match that of his person, a gift that feels like it’s a bit more for Nikolai than just for Ginger. And that’s what’s putting dust in this review right now.
It’s just the kind of holiday miracle that every pet person would give ALL their presents, forever, to receive.