It’s beginning to look a lot like… there aren’t enough books!

There are many reports in the media these days about shortages: not enough loo rolls during the pandemic (due to hoarding), empty supermarket shelves because of a lack of delivery drivers, and too few workers to fill an abundance of job vacancies.

But one report that caught our eye at Happydesigner was this: a shortage of paper. And one consequence of a shortage of paper is a shortage of books!

No way! A shortage of books at any time is bad news, but at Christmas – just when Santa’s sack should be bulging with the latest children’s paperbacks – it seems they might have to make do with an orange in their stocking!

But hold on… maybe it’s not as bad as it first appears. Because although some of the bestsellers may be in short supply, you only have to pop into the nearest book store to see the shelves are literally bursting with books.

So, if you can’t get the book you are looking for, then how about trying something else? Now may be the time to think outside the box and just pick something at random, from the genre you are interested in (or even a totally new genre).

Should you judge a book by the cover?

Which leads us nicely on this thorny question: should you judge a book by the cover? 

Answer: probably not, but let’s be honest, it is the cover, and then the blurb, which first attracts the eye to a book, when we are just browsing rather than looking for a specific title or author.

So if you are shopping around for a book to buy this Christmas, one with a great cover will have a better chance of being bought than another that’s not so appealing.

This is where Happydesigner come into our own, of course, because we are children’s book illustrators and know exactly the type of imagery that will complement the book, the story and its cover.

Our illustrations really stand out, and we have lots of them to see all through this website. Please do feel free to browse our web pages (no paper needed here) and then maybe you’ll be inspired to pop out and buy a book we’ve illustrated.

children's illustration

A bit more about Christmas

Not many sleeps to go now, and if you get as excited about Christmas as we do (even with the worries that Covid and new variants bring) then here are some strange but true facts to get you feeling even more festive.

  • Did you know, Christmas Day wasn’t always December 25? Well, we’re teasing you a bit here. Christmas Day is December 25, but this of course marks Jesus’s birthday and his actual birthday was never recorded in the Bible. 

Many historians believe Jesus was born in the spring, but December 25 ended up being the chosen day because it coincides with the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which honours the agricultural god Saturn with celebrating and gift-giving.

  • Most of us are familiar with the fact that Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort, introduced the tradition from Germany of bringing a fir tree into the home to decorate. But using evergreen to mark the season goes back a long way. 

The tradition goes all the way back to ancient Egyptians and Romans, who decorated with evergreens during the winter solstice to signify that spring would return. So that’s a great excuse to deck the halls with boughs of holly, if ever there was!

  • If you’re reading this blog aloud then make sure no children are listening because – spoiler alert – Santa Claus wasn’t always a jolly, rotund man in a red suit. 

In fact, Santa Claus has evolved from St Nicholas, a fourth century Christian bishop who gave away his large inheritance to the poor and to women rescued from servitude. In Dutch, his name is Sinter Klaas, which later morphed into Santa Claus in English.

But don’t worry children, he is now definitely a man with a white beard and red suit, lots of elves and reindeer, and he lives at the North Pole.

  • Why do we leave treats for Santa and the reindeer? At Happydesigner we’re quite traditional, and pop a mince pie and carrot by the chimney. 

The idea originates from Holland, where Dutch children used to leave a snack for St Nicholas on his feast day, on December 6.

  • Despite the hype around Black Friday, it isn’t actually the busiest shopping day of the year. This award goes to the last Saturday before Christmas, which this year is December 18. 

The next busiest days are the day before Christmas Eve (23rd) and the penultimate Saturday before Christmas, which this year is December 11. So, despite the retailers’ best efforts and the fact that Christmas seems to start straight after Hallowe’en, we still prefer to do our shopping in December.


What are your plans for Christmas and what do you most enjoy doing? At Happydesigner, it’s all about family (and that of course includes the Erik the cat), putting our feet up and having a little break.

But then we will be right back to it, drawing pens (well, drawing board) at the ready, poised to create the next series children’s book illustrations. 

So have a wonderful Christmas and, if you are inspired to write a book and are looking for a brilliant illustrator, please get in touch. See you in 2022!

Written by Jo Smyth (

Some of our previous clients

happydesigner clients