Yultide Page-Turner

Locally produced children's book puts a new spin on the 12 Days of Christmas

Published online: Dec 22, 2017 Articles, Holidays
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Since he was five years old, Brett Parson wanted to write children’s books and have his sister illustrate them. Over 30 years later, his dream became a reality with the publication of The Twelve Hats of Christmas.

Parson, author of The Twelve Hats of Christmas and owner of Direction Marketing and Design, worked on the book for eight years. He did most of his writing during winter and Christmas time.

Since he was a little child, he always loved when his mother read him children’s books and that gave him the desire to help other children feel the same way he did.

“It feels good when your mom reads to you or your dad, but that’s what it was,” Parson said. “(Writing was) just something I wanted to do and took me a long time.”

Parson’s inspiration came from the book The Twelve Days of Christmas. He decided to write a different version of the book.

“Every winter, when it got time for Christmas season, I’d put on my Christmas music and listen, and get into the mood, and just start to write and I … rewrote a version of that story line,” Parson said. “Like 50 or 60 pages, a lot of different pages and it never really clicked.”

After around five years of trying to make the story click, Parson laid awake in bed frustrated because it was Christmas season again.

“It’s a window,” Parson said. “You have to kind of be in the zone or the mood to be able to do that, and I was talking to my wife and I was like, ‘I just can’t get this to work.’”

His wife then gave the idea that inspired the original story, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Parson said she helped him focus his Christmas story on giving, instead of receiving.

“That sound a little cliché, but I changed it to The Twelve Hats of Christmas and it clicked and I started to write it,” Parson said. “It still took me a year from that point to get it, plus my sister took another year to illustrate it.”

Parson said he is the number one fan of his sister, Holly Parson Nielsen, who is an award winning illustrator.

The book tells the story of T.W. Elf, who is a “Hat Elf” who wants to give Santa a gift for his birthday, which is Christmas Eve.

“Maybe I invented that,” Parson said. “Santa’s birthday is on Christmas Eve and what does he do on his birthday? He flies around the world and gives presents to everybody else. Even though the elves that work for him in the shop or this guy who doesn’t, but he is a hat elf, he makes hats … he gives them to Santa to distribute. They wanted to give him a birthday party and bring him gifts, and they did have a party, but Santa doesn’t receive gifts, he gives gifts.”

Parson said his love for Christmas was a main reason for him to decide to write a children’s Christmas book.

“I love everything about Christmas -- the decorations, the trees, the lights, the colors, everything,” Parson said. “I listen to Christmas music throughout the year. I don’t really stop. It gets me in the zone. I call them my ‘Christmas jams.’ I love everything Christmas. … I think that Christmas really makes people feel like a kid. It brings out the child in all of us. Writing a book that is about Christmas for children, I think it makes sense, because when I think of Christmas, I feel like a child. I go back to my childhood memories of how I felt when I saw the lights on the tree or remembering the present and the warm feeling because it’s cold.”

Parson said that when The Twelve Hats of Christmas was published last year, they donated part of the money earned to the Primary Children’s Hospital, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Parson will do the same this year. The books will be available in eight different stores and online.

To purchase The Twelve Hats of Christmas and for more information visit

Photo by Leanna Kotter/Idaho Falls Magazine


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