Mrs. Claus visits Luverne Elementary

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

During a Dec. 12 visit to Luverne School, Mrs. Holly Jolly Claus, portrayed by Rachel McDaniel of Troy, delighted students from kindergarten to fourth grade, bringing the spirit of Christmas alive by reading her debut children’s book, “Mrs. Claus Saves Christmas Day.”

“The gift of reading is so important all year long,” McDaniel said.”I visited with Luverne’s elementary students today to read to them, and let me tell you, I had a blast.They’re definitely all on the nice list.”

McDaniel, a devoted wife, mother and self-proclaimed Christmas fanatic, shared her journey from guiding jets as an air traffic controller in the U.S. Air Force to becoming a children’s book author. Inspired by her first few experiences as Mrs. Claus, the very first being when she was asked to play the role for a children’s event at the Troy Country Club, McDaniel wanted to write a book that would hold the attention of children a little more than some of the common Christmas stories.

McDaniel poured her heart into “Mrs. Claus Saves Christmas Day,” a story that highlights the often-unsung heroism of Mrs. Claus and stresses the importance of bravery and love during the holiday season. According to McDaniel, every great Santa deserves an even greater Mrs. Claus, complete with cookies, Christmas magic and heaps of love.

“Realizing my dream of becoming a children’s book author has been an incredible lifelong journey,” McDaniel said. “I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to each and every person who has encouraged me, believed in me and supported my journey to become a self-published author. My hope is that my work will become a cherished Christmas classic, bringing joy to families for many years to come.”

McDaniel’s journey into the world of children’s books came after a personal trial when her husband battled extremely severe illness due to COVID. Though he made a full recovery, the experience reinforced McDaniel’s belief in cherishing every moment of life and spreading joy and the love of Jesus throughout the entire year.

The book itself tells the tale of Mrs. Claus stepping up to save Christmas when Santa falls ill on Christmas Eve. Filled with vibrant illustrations and joyful rhymes, the story takes young readers on an enchanting journey, highlighting the importance of bravery and love during the holiday season.

McDaniel’s book, available on Amazon, has received rave reviews with Tina Howe leaving five stars.

“I absolutely love this book!,” Howe said. “The story is well written in rhyme and the pictures are so fun and colorful. As a Mrs. Claus portrayal Artist, it is sure to be one of my favorite reads to children for years to come!”

Another review described the book as “such a cute story” with a meaningful message about the significance of love.

“I love this story and especially the story line,” said the reviewer. “It gives kids a great perspective that Santa is important but love is bigger than everything and that’s what matters the most.”

For those eager to add this heartwarming tale to their book collection, “Mrs. Claus Saves Christmas Day” is available on Amazon year-round. Local purchases can be made by reaching out to Rachel McDaniel via email at McDaniel can be found on various social media platforms under the moniker Mrs.Holly Jolly Claus.