Do you believe in Farmer Christmas? This magical book series, featuring Farmer Christmas and his tractor and trailer full of presents, will make you believe. We caught up with creators Catherine and Sophie to discover the inspiration behind the character, their journey in publishing their own book, and what they're currently working on.
What was the inspiration behind Farmer Christmas?
Catherine and Sophie credit their rural upbringings as the inspiration behind 'Farmer Christmas'.
Catherine explains "Growing up in a farming family I was constantly surrounded by the hustle and bustle of farm life, the changing of the seasons in the countryside and the characters in our rural community. I then found myself living on the family farm whilst on maternity leave and the idea for Farmer Christmas really started to develop, especially as I started thinking about my own mini farmers!". She says however, that it wasn't until she met Sophie at their local playgroup that the story really came to life.
Sophie, who lives locally with her two children adds, “My own children always mispronounced Father Christmas as Farmer Christmas, so when Catherine and I met, we talked through the concept and it immediately got me excited!" Over the next 12 months Catherine and Sophie met almost every week to create the first book, overseeing the printing and inadvertently taking a crash course in publishing. "As we worked on developing the concept it became clear that we both wanted to create something that allowed everyone to experience the nostalgia and magic of Christmas in the countryside, and we hope the book series really gives a sense of that sentiment”.
What’s it like to publish your own book?
“ So exhausting, but so exhilarating! Every book in the Farmer Christmas series has been produced locally, from the website, to our photography and graphic design work, so we have a lot of people to thank. A particular highlight was that because the book was actually printed in nearby Exeter, we were invited to go and watch the first batch come off the press, which was really special.”
“There has been so much support from the farming community, both locally and more widely across the UK and beyond. The wonderful thing about publishing the book ourselves is that we get to meet many of the fantastic people who buy the book and we get to enjoy all the lovely reviews and pictures that people send of their children reading the book too. It really does make all the stress beforehand worthwhile!
“It started off as something we thought we would just do for our own mini farmers, so we count ourselves incredibly lucky that people seem to have really taken Farmer Christmas to heart. “
What has been your favourite review so far?
We had a wonderful review from a nanny, who was looking after children aged six, four and one years old – she said they all absolutely loved the book and were still asking her to read it to them in mid February!
We also had a wonderful write up in the national farming paper, Farmers Guardian, by the lovely Emily Ashworth, who said it was her book of choice for all families at Christmas, which was fantastic!
What are you working on next?
Sophie and I have been hard at work behind the scenes on the fourth book in the book series. Sadly, it won't be ready in time for Christmas 2023, but it's well on its way! However, we are excited to announce the release of some beautiful Christmas cards featuring the charming illustrations from our books. Be sure to check them out.
And finally, what question do you wish someone would ask you about Farmer Christmas? And what's the answer?
Q: What would Farmer Christmas most like to receive as a Christmas present?
A: A nice big red tractor and trailer to play with in his workshop, probably ordered from Farm Toys Online!
What age do you recommend Farmer Christmas for?
The books are designed for children from preschool to primary school age. Younger ones adore listening to the rhyming text and looking at the bright illustrations, while the older children enjoy reading the book and spotting Rusty Robin on every page!
Which Is The Most Popular Book In The Series?
All of them are quite popular, with the best-selling book being the original Farmer Christmas Book, closely followed by the Farmer Christmas Festive Farmyard Book.