30 November 2015

Brown Pants for Christmas and Other Stories


Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!, edited by Amy Newmark
So what better place to start Christmas reading than here, 101 (like the Dalmatians) of short, inspirational stories for the holidays (and I mean both, since Hanukkah features many times in this edition, while other Christmas stories have Jewish protagonists participating in the festivities).

What's really to say about these stories? Some are funny, like the one about the woman determined to make the perfect dinner, even though she's not much of a cook, who has the unexpected happen with her Christmas turkey. Others are about people discovering the joys of giving (my favorite part of the holiday!) rather than getting, or about getting through Christmas after a beloved relative or friend has passed on or because they are alone. We learn about a Christmas tree full of heart ornaments, and another in which for a long time all the decorations were simple love notes from a husband to wife and vice versa. There are stories taking place in sunny Arizona, in snowy mountains, on a cruise ship and on a boat. Along the way a dog comments on Christmas cookies, people look at gifts a whole new way, a few marriages change, others cope with a whole new way of life, grandchildren grow and carry on traditions, with the common factor being the Christmas spirit. You can have it with no decorations, or a twig hung with the most unexpected of ornaments, or a tree that won't fit in the space properly, because that's really all that is needed: not gifts, expensive china, turkey dinners or snow.

It's sentimental. Gruff "I hate sentiment" folks are warned. Buy something else that you love to read. But if you want a nice warm fuzzy throw of love, hot cocoa in print, this one will do it for you.

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