Interview | The Creators of Farmer Christmas
Have you heard of Farmer Christmas? It’s the most beautifully illustrated Christmas story. It follows three children setting off on a festive countryside adventure, with lots of fun pictures along the way of Farmer Christmas and his tractor and trailer full of presents! We caught up with creators Catherine and Sophie about the inspiration behind the character, publishing their own book, and what they are working on next.
What was the inspiration behind Farmer Christmas?
Catherine and Sophie credit their rural upbringings as the inspiration behind ‘Farmer Christmas’.
Catherine says “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 husband and two children says; “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 book, overseeing the printing and inadvertently taking a crash course in publishing. “As we worked on developing the book 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 really gives a sense of that sentiment”.
What’s it like to publish your own book?
“ So exhausting, but so exhilarating! Everything about the book 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?
This year we have been working on another book to add to the Farmer Christmas series, which we hope people will read and love just as much as the first. “Tractor Travels” follows Farmer Christmas’s journey around the globe on Christmas Eve and is available now. It has been another busy year so far at Farmer Christmas HQ, but very exciting, and we hope it will continue”.
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!