Keeping Christmas

Keeping ChristmasKeeping Christmas by Dan Walsh
Genres: Christmas, Contemporary
Published by Revell on September 9, 2015
Pages: 224
Also by this author: The Legacy

 

About Keeping Christmas (from the back cover):
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 they were strange-looking–some could be called downright ugly–but they were tradition. A tradition she’s heartbroken to miss this year.

With Judith refusing to decorate the bare spruce tree in their living room, Stan knows something must be done. And his only hope for saving the holiday is found in a box of handmade ornaments.

Beth’s Review:
Keeping Christmas has a lovely nostalgic feel to it. Dan includes a lot of familial detail, and it reminded me of Christmas’s growing up. My mom always put up a tree specifically for all of our handmade ornaments, and much like Judith, my mom and I loved unwrapping them each year. Much like the ornaments in this story, let’s just say some of them were very unique.

Keeping Christmas has a lovely nostalgic feel to it.

Judith’s story has several heartwarming moments, but also some realistic moments as well. Even though I haven’t experienced an empty nest, I have experienced changes in the holidays growing up, and I think the disappointment and readjustment might be similar in both situations. Judith’s disappointment and resulting despondence were entirely understandable and true to life. Where the story lagged for me was in the pacing of the plot. Despite being a shorter novel, I think that perhaps the nature of the story would have been better suited to a novella. There were times when Judith’s character was a bit of a downer. Though that is a main focus of the story, I think it could have been shortened and still have had the same impact.

Judith’s story has several heartwarming moments, but also some realistic moments as well.

My favorite moments are when Judith realizes she could be her own person and that she can have an identity outside of being a wife and mother. I wish that aspect of the story would have been explored even more. Though the ending is a bit predictable, it’s also happy, and readers looking for an uplifting conclusion will be pleased.

Although not something I will re-read every year, Keeping Christmas is a light, touching read well-suited to the Christmas season.

Although not something I will re-read every year, Keeping Christmas is a light, touching read well-suited to the Christmas season. Many readers will relate to the feelings and emotions that Judith portrays and the also the theme of putting family first. Fans of Dan Walsh’s previous novels will appreciate this addition to their holiday reading.

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