TOYHEM: Santa says it’s OK to color outside the lines!
Welcome to TOYHEM! For the fourth straight holiday season, we’re bringing you a series of features and columns celebrating the toys of our youth, which often made for the best memories this time of year. Click here to check out the complete index of stories — and have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays! — Dan
By JASON YOUNG
No matter who you talk to, everyone has their own specific Christmas traditions they fondly recall from childhood. Opening one present on Christmas Eve or receiving a certain type of treat in your stocking each year are examples. For many of us, Christmas morning always meant a brand new Christmas-themed coloring book and box of crayons.
For our generation, there was always something endearing about getting a brand new coloring book and crayons. Maybe it was the smell of that pulp paper or wax. On Christmas morning, kids want to tear open their wrapping paper and open presents rather than patiently sit and color. However, after the gifts are opened and initial play time has passed, after you sit down for your turkey meal with family, things tend to slow down. With a full belly the impact of waking up so early tends to hit you and the evening sees a much slower pace.
Often it was then that we revisited the new coloring book and dug beneath the tree asking “Where’d I toss those crayons?” If you were lucky, you got the 64 pack with built-in sharpener; the Cadillac of Crayola. It was time to flip through the pages and select just the right page to color first. For me, a tree or an elf or a gingerbread man just wouldn’t do; it had to be Santa.
Whitman Publishing produced countless Christmas themed coloring books over decades, many of which featured the incredible artwork of Florence Sarah Winship, who created the image I still hold today as the true likeness of the “real” Santa. Her images were so impressive, I recall my brother ripping off the cover of one (“The Night Before Christmas”) and hanging it on his bedroom wall like one of those die-cut cardboard decorations of the era.
Christmas and coloring books go hand in hand for me, much like the Smurfs (but that’s another story). This holiday season, why not buy the child in your life a brand new coloring book and crayons as a little extra?
— The Complete TOYHEM INDEX of Stories and Features. Click here.
— The TOP 13 Classic WHITMAN Coloring Books — RANKED. Click here.
Jason Young is the author of the new book Whitman’s World of Coloring Books, which is not only fabulous, it includes a chapter that looks back at Christmas coloring books. Copies are available here.