Kids Say The Darndest Things To Santa Claus Volume 3

25 Years of Santa Stories

Non-Fiction - Humor/Comedy
197 Pages
Reviewed on 08/24/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Don Kennedy lives in Makaha Valley on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. He was a long time resident of Nevada: Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe. He's a member of the Hawaii Writer's Guild.
Kennedy was born and raised in Wisconsin and is a graduate of Concordia College in Milwaukee . He was a Congressional Page in the U.S. House of Representatives, staff assistant to the Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor and an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors.
A radio and television on air personality for a decade, Kennedy also worked for many publications as an editor in Nevada.
He was as a Casino Resort Marketing executive for 35 years in seven states: Nevada, California, Oregon, New Mexico, Louisiana, Indiana and Oklahoma.
The Hawaii Writers Guild also featured Kennedy on their YouTube Talk Story/Book reading EP 25 in June 2021.
Kennedy is the author of the 2019 book Kids Say The Darndest Things To Santa Claus, the 2020 book, same title, Volume 2, and now Volume 3 in 2022 which chronicle his 25 years as a volunteer Santa Claus for hospitals, shelters, military bases, boys & girls clubs, churches and schools. Volume 1 won the Readers' Favorite 2020 International Book Awards Honorable Mention Award for Non Fiction - Children. Volume 2 won the Literary Excellence 2021 International Book Excellence Awards Finalist Award for Non Fiction - Humor as well as the Silver Award in the 2020 Kops-Fetherling International Book Awards for Humor. All 3 books have received 5 Star Book Reviews from Readers' Favorite.
Kennedy enjoys reading, music, sports and travel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

Kids Say the Darndest Things to Santa Claus by Don Kennedy is Volume Three in the 25 Years of Santa Stories series. A collection of lovely, humorous, and heartfelt stories serves as an inside perspective on what children say to Santa, which ranges in tone from funny to off-the-wall unexpected to critiques to sweet. The book features chapters centered around specific locations such as military bases, hospitals, and women's and children's shelters. These locations blend humorous stories with heartbreaking situations that are eye-opening to different situations such as the loss of a military parent, human trafficking, and the loss of a home. The book also features letters to Santa, the jokes kids tell, questions about being Santa, playing the role of Santa in Hawaii, and what it was like being Santa during a pandemic. On the surface, this is a collection of simple stories of moments spent with different kids and the darndest things that they say, but underneath is a lovely collection with humor and heart set against our current climate.

These stories are set in Hawaii which creates an interesting background to playing Santa in a sunnier climate. As with previous books in this series, this one has a conversational tone as Don Kennedy shares these stories from his personal experiences with various insights and interjections of commentary throughout. The stories in Volume 3 are set during our present reality with Kennedy sharing stories about being Santa in a COVID world and with the war in Ukraine. Though these elements aren't the focal point of the book, you see the effects in the backgrounds of the stories which provide deeper meaning to some of the stories shared. Letters are incorporated which provide humor that can only come from the minds of children such as commenting about Santa's budget, promising to be “super better” next year, recommending a Santa letter app, and even emotional ones such as a child with nothing asking Santa for anything he could give right now. Each story ranges from heartwarming to humorous to can't-believe-that-kid-said-that which showcases the wide range of personalities and how kids can literally say the darndest things. Certain themes carry over with children's comments to Santa such as critiquing his fashion sense, pointing out his advanced age, and asking about his weight.

As a whole, this collection will put a smile on your face with a few favorite moments being when a child gave Santa a bag with masks and hand sanitizer so he won't get sick, a boy confused about "missletoes" (and if rockets have feet), a kid whose mommy is counting backward with her age, a kid struggling to figure out what zip it means (when his zipper is up), and one kid with his pants on backward. Kennedy also includes different questions about being Santa in a fun Q&A section which includes how much his suit cost, how many times he gets his beard pulled, being Santa during the pandemic, and being Santa in Hawaii. These stories are short and sweet and Kids Say the Darndest Things to Santa: Volume Three succeeds in its purpose of making you smile with wholesome, unfiltered, humorous, heartfelt, and honest looks at the attitudes and quips of children that Santa meets.

Philip Van Heusen

Art Linkletter made a good living interviewing young school-age children and recording their humorous answers for over twenty years. It’s time to move over, Linkletter. Santa Don is continuing the exposé of children’s humor. Don Kennedy has spent over 25 years as Santa Don and has authored Kids Say the Darndest Things To Santa Claus Volume 3: 25 Years of Santa Stories, which is a collection of things children tell Santa. Besides the stories, Don explains the history of Santa around the world. Kids tell the truth as they see it, although their version is often skewed but funny. This book also has sad stories as Santa Don visits children affected by disasters. He takes encouragement, hope, kindness, unity, caring, and good cheer to families who have been affected by horrific events and are living in temporary shelters.

Hope and encouragement are often renewed when Santa shows up after all hope is gone. Even after traumatic events, children’s lives are brightened by a visit from Santa Don. Don Kennedy has spent many years collecting what children visiting Santa have said. He shares some of those statements in Kids Say the Darndest Things To Santa Claus Volume 3. Can you imagine the impact Santa’s listening ear and caring attitude can have on a child who is spending Christmas in a women’s shelter because of domestic violence? Santa Don serves these families with love and compassion. Interestingly enough, of all the kids he has seen, not one girl has mentioned being worried about being on the naughty list. Of course, many of the boys are afraid of that list. The jokes from the children Santa Don includes may be corny, but at least they are clean. This book was a joy to read and eye-opening.

Joy Hannabass

Author Don Kennedy is back with volume 3 of his series, Kids Say the Darndest Things to Santa Claus: 25 Years of Santa Stories. Don Kennedy got started as Santa when he filled in for a friend and volunteered to be Santa for him. After playing Santa, he was hooked on Santa and has been Santa in many states, including Hawaii, for 30 years or so. The opportunities were endless, and he always found venues to take on his role as Jolly Old Saint Nick and make children as well as adults happy for a few hours. I was surprised at the many places Kennedy had the opportunity to play Santa Claus. Some of the places are military bases, women's and children's centers, as well as many hospitals. Kennedy also was the Santa Claus for schools and churches, and so many more places it's impossible to mention them all.

I had so much fun reading what kids said to this Santa. You never know what is coming out of their mouths next. You can just imagine the questions kids would ask Santa and the things they would say. Lots of kids would pull his beard and hair asking if it was real. A five-year-old boy told Santa his dog just had puppies, and, leaning in, he said, “I didn’t even know she was married, just saying.” A six-year-old boy asked Santa if he could run some bad stuff by him to see if it was bad enough to go on the naughty list. Guess he hadn't been a good kid that year. Santa was asked how many suits he wears out in a year, which is one or two, and did you know a quality suit costs a whopping $500.00? I've only touched the surface of what is in this adorable book. I highly recommend this for your home library, and it would make an excellent gift.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Do you believe in Santa Claus? There are a lot of doubters out there, including an eight-year-old boy who approached Santa Claus at a charity event and asked him if he was the real deal. When Santa Claus answered with his own question, “What do you think, young man?” Figuring that was too much stress for his young mind to handle, he finally responded, “You know, let’s just go with you’re the real deal ‘cause I don’t want to be taking a lot of chances this early in my young life.” Some kids have the smartest comebacks while others are either sweet and complacent or downright unsure. Kids really do say, and do, some of the most unexpected things when meeting Santa Claus at some Christmas event; they even have little accidents, resulting in poor Santa Claus needing a break to change his costume. It can be a challenge to don that special red suit every Christmas season and bring cheer to children of all ages, but it’s also very rewarding and, sometimes, downright funny.

Don Kennedy’s book, Kids Say the Darndest Things To Santa Claus Volume 3, follows the light-hearted, humorous, tender, and compassionate stories of the first two books in his series. After decades of donning that special suit, and volunteering to be Santa Claus for some charity event, the author, a.k.a Santa Claus, has some wonderful stories to share. After each event, he made notes on the children (and adults) he met and he’s woven these notes into engaging and entertaining stories that will definitely have you believing again in that jolly old soul from the North Pole. The stories are told in the gentle, comforting voice of a seasoned storyteller. There’s a fourth book in the works that will bring together all the stories from the first three books as well as new stories and observations, illustrations, and photographs. This is a book to cherish and enjoy every Christmas season. And, yes, I still believe. Like Santa Don shares in his stories, Santa Claus is the heart of the spirit of giving and of caring.

Edith Wairimu

Don Kennedy recounts his humorous experiences and encounters while playing the role of Santa in his heart-warming book, Kids Say The Darndest Things To Santa Claus Volume 3: 25 Years of Santa Stories. Though hesitant at first, Kennedy agreed to fill in for a friend as Santa twenty-five years ago. After the event, he realized that the experience had been one of the most meaningful in his life. This was the beginning of wonderful experiences as a volunteer Santa Claus in different states in the U.S. He shares many humorous remarks and jokes that children have made while talking to him. He includes the amusing questions children ask and the funny experiences he has had. Some stories also incorporate adults. He also tackles sensitive, important topics and the moving situations he has encountered.

The third installment in the series, the book is a lovely collection of a volunteer Santa’s real experiences. I loved that it offers insight into what the role entails and its significant, positive impact on the lives of vulnerable people and children. I also appreciated that the accounts are narrated from first-hand experiences and that each chapter is different and humorous. I loved the many special and inspiring moments included in the work. I also liked that the book tackles hard topics involving children with warmth. It also contains important reflections about how giving one’s time to uplift others adds meaning and joy to a person’s life. Kids Say The Darndest Things To Santa Claus is a wonderful book that children will enjoy. Adult readers will also find the book entertaining and insightful.