Posted by: counselorcarmella | December 20, 2011

Counselor Carmella’s Christmas Reads for 2011

I don’t usually read Christmas books because I think most of them are too sappy.  This year I decided to and there were several I enjoyed.  Most of them are quite short, which is nice. 
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
I heard about this book from my Grandma.  It is the story of how a  couple decides to  take the money they’d usually spend on Christmas and go on a cruise.  They opt out of gifts, decorations, parties, and all the usual  activities.  But  they have to regroup at the last  minute due to a surprise visit from their daughter who  left to join the Peace Corps.  Funny and entertaining.
The Christmas Blessing by Donna Van Liere
By the author of The Christmas Shoes (popularized in  song and movie), this book  is about that little boy all grown up. It describes his  struggles as a med student and  how he  continues to process his mother’s death and finds love.   Kind of sappy but still a good read.  The next book in this series is “The Christmas Hope” and I’m hoping to read it before Christmas. 
Shepherds Abiding: A Mitford Christmas Story by Jan Karon
Features Father Tim and the  rest of the  characters in the popular Mitford series. Father Tim secretly restores a  set of Nativity figures while other townsfolk  are  working on various projects and agendas to get ready for Christmas.  Good read.    
Christmas in Harmony by Philip Gulley 
Part of a series of books about fictional Quaker minister Sam Gardner and the quirky  church members and townsfolk of Harmony.  This book describes  a controversial change up from the usual Christmas Eve service and other  entertaining happenings in Harmony.  I love  these books.  They’re funny  and  thought provoking and  very well written.
The Christmas Scrap Book by Phillip Gulley
Another Christmas story set in Harmony.  Sam is working on a secret Christmas gift for his wife.  His  mysterious disappearances every Wednesday evening have his wife and the church folks wondering what he’s up to. A very good lesson about assumptions.  Comical and  entertaining.
A Simple Christmas by Mike Huckabee
Before  becoming governor of  Arkansas and then running for President, Mike Huckabee was  a pastor and  worked in the   Christian communications and promotions arenas. This was not a  political book.  Huckabee describes meaningful or memorable Christmasses from chhildhood and as an adult.   Very  little space is spent on his political life.  Rather, he talks about  how much he wanted a guitar for several years, how he and his sister would unwrap their presents to play with them and get them back in the packages every day before their parents came home, and the year his wife had a dangerous medical condition when they were newly married.   I found this book touching and entertaining. 
The Christmas List by  Richard Paul Evans
This author had tremendous success with his first  Christmas book “The Christmas Box.”  He also wrote a memoir about  how  that book went from being a little self-published Christmas gift for loved ones to a best seller and a movie.  I read those, but actually liked this book much better.  The Christmas List  describes the changes  a businessman makes after his obituary is published by mistake.  Realizing what people really think of him  leads him to  change his ways and seek to write the  wrongs he’s committed against  loved ones and those he took advantage of in business.   I appreciated this book because  things didn’t just go smoothly for him in the process and he had to deal with  consequences and losses.  Good book.
Chicken Soup for the Soul:  Christmas Cheer
Okay, I admit it.  I like some of the  Chicken Soup books.  Do I think they can be a little too mushy?  Absolutely.  There are five or six at least out for Christmas now and I  recommend them.  The stories are heart-warming and thought-provoking.  Its Chicken Soup, so the  cheese factor is inevitable.
The Red Suit Diaries by Ed Butchart
Stories from the life of a man who spent years playing Santa at malls, stores, hospitals, churches and other venues.  He describes his experiences.  Some are funny. Some are touching.  He makes it clear that he plays  Santa to bring cheer and  to show God’s love.  He also  spends a lot of time engaged in ministries to help those with disabilities.   Interesting and entertaining.
I’m also planning to read a book about the true story of St. Nicholas and  another about  the stories behind popular Christmas songs.

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