Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh {Christmas Book Review}

Contemporary Fiction / Christmas

Stan opened the ugly ornaments box and pulled out the top three ornaments, the ones wrapped in green paper, the kids' favorites, and set them on the coffee table. He picked up the first one, the biggest one--Anna's blue pinecone--and began to unwrap it. Without thinking, Judith walked up, stopped him, and gently took it out of his hand. She wrapped it back up, set it carefully in the box. Then picked up the other two ornaments, put them in the box, and closed the flaps.

"What's the matter?" Stan said. "Did I do something wrong?"

"I don't think I can do this."

Nothing is more beautiful than family

For the first time since their children were born, empty nesters Judith and Stan Winters spent Thanksgiving without the kids, and it's looking like Christmas will be the same. Judith can't bring herself to even start decorating for the holiday; her kids always hung the first ornaments on the tree, ornaments they had made each year since they were toddlers. Sure, the ornaments were strange-looking--some were downright ugly--but they were tradition.

With Judith refusing to decorate the bare spruce tree in their living room, Stan's only hope for saving the holiday is found in a box of handmade ornaments . . .


My Thoughts

Empty-nesters be forewarned . . . this is an emotional story targeted right at you! I've read many of Dan Walsh's books so I knew that this would be a book that would stir my heart and most likely bring me to tears. It did. What I wasn't prepared for was the stepping on my toes!

Stan and Judith are empty-nesters and for the most part they are okay with that. Until this year. This is the first year that none of their grown children or grandchildren would have a seat at their Thanksgiving table. To make matters worse they have already stated that they would also not be home for Christmas.

If you've never experienced this feeling, trust me it's hard. What is a person to do when all the family traditions are turned on their heads? Dan Walsh does a masterful job of depicting the emptiness you feel when the kids move on. I found myself empathizing with Judith and her helplessness in getting out of the slump that she found herself in.

Poor Stan. What's a guy to do when his wife feels as if everything she's done suddenly doesn't matter? It was so interesting to see the story play out from both of their perspectives. 

In my opinion you can't go wrong with a Christmas novella from Dan Walsh. It is sure to make you ponder your own life and then sigh with contentment when you close the cover. Be sure to pick this one up for yourself or a friend this holiday season.

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