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'The Great Mrs. Claus' debuts

Posted: November 26, 2008 9:35 p.m.
Updated: November 27, 2008 4:59 a.m.

Co-owner Ede Eichmann Holds a copy of the book titled "The Great Mrs. Claus" inside her Valencia Ma Maison gift shop. The store was formerly known as Madalian.

 
From his jolly belly to his favorite Christmas Eve snack, just about anyone can give you the full story on Santa Claus.

But who exactly is Mrs. Claus?

Thanks to Chris Shoemaker of Saugus, Mrs. Claus will no longer be the mysterious woman behind Santa's success. Shoemaker recently wrote "The Great Mrs. Claus," a children's book that takes its readers into the mind of Mrs. Claus.

"This is her book and it explains her life and where she's coming from - her point of view," Shoemaker said. "She's a very strong, powerful, independent woman and very modern."

The Ma Maison gift shop at 24266 Valencia Blvd. will host a partial reading of Shoemaker's book for the community from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Store owners will provide hot chocolate and cookies.

Co-owners Ede Eichmann and Katie LaKamp knew Shoemaker since he started writing the book.

"He started shopping at our store five years ago, so we feel like we've been on the journey with him," Eichmann said. "We've seen the process and I love to see local people have a success story and to make something geared toward kids."

Shoemaker, who has an academic background in drama, and his wife, Suzanne Shoemaker, have performed Mr. and Mrs. Claus shows for 25 years. Through these performances, Shoemaker developed the book idea, which will be the first of his series, "The Claus Diaries."

"(The viewers) understand Santa but they don't know much about Mrs. Claus," Shoemaker said, referring to those who watch the Claus performances. "They get the idea she's the matron, but they don't really know what she does. So I've had great fun fleshing that out and further describing those roles and duties of the North Pole arena."

Shoemaker formed a publishing company, Claus Family Christmas, LLC for the book series.

His first book focuses on the love story between Mr. and Mrs. Claus from her point of view, he said.

At the Ma Maison event, Shoemaker will read a poem from the book.

"I just love the atmosphere - they create a real experience in their shop," he said.

Since he decorates his office with Christmas ornaments all year long, Shoemaker is a fan of the hand-blown art glass ornaments he finds at the gift store.

For those who do not recognize the Ma Maison name, the store was formerly the Madalian gift shop. When the store hit its five-year anniversary in August, the owners decided to re-vamp.

The Madalian name never quite stuck in people's minds, Eichmann said. They kept the bold "M" topped with their signature crown logo and went with a more common yet catchy French name.

For parents looking to get some holiday shopping done while their children listen to the Mrs. Claus poem,
Ma Maison offers an array of hand-made and creative items.

Aprons adorned with original prints and patchwork fur throws made by Eichmann herself, customized art tablets and baby-girl onesies that read "Diva (in training)" are just a few of the items for sale.

Eichmann said they feature as many as 150 vendors at one time to provide more variety to their customers.

"I love what we do," she said. "It's therapeutic. I think it's a passion for us as opposed to a career."
Limited exclusive advance copies of "The Great Mrs. Claus" are available in the Ma Maison gift shop.

Proceeds of the book go to the Los Angeles Mission, a nonprofit organization serving the homeless.

For more information, visit the store's Web site at www.ma-maisonandgift.com or call (661) 799-7983.

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