Books are a favorite gift both for giving and receiving. This Christmas season there are a large number of books to choose from and will be welcomed by almost everyone on anyone’s list. There also are new books to enhance the season and invite the spirit of Christmas. These books make great gifts for home and visiting teachers to give their families. They are great for those much needed breaks from holiday preparations, and they make fun stocking stuffers. The first book I’ve listed is also a way to support a worthy charity. There are other new books by big name authors, compilations of Christmas love stories, and fun Santa stories for children. This is just a sampling of this year’s new Christmas books.
THE HOPE OF CHRISTMAS is a collection of seventeen short Christmas stories written as a project to support Primary Childrens’ Hospital and currently is only available at the Festival of Trees. The Festival is held each year to raise funds for the hospital and is held this year at the South Towne Expo Center, Dec. 2-5 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The authors contributing to this benefit are Loretta Livingstone, Karen Pellet, J. Lloyd Morgan, Jaclyn Weist, Loralee Evans, Shauna E. Black, Tifani Clark, Jennifer Garvin Jensen, kirsten Osbourne, Taylor Hart, Rebecca Rode, Elvis Bray, Robyn Buttars, Michael D. Young, Marcia Mickelson, Jenn Adams, and Tayson Meanea. The stories cover a wide gamut of genres, but each carries a message of Christmas of hope, magic, and charity.
THE HOPE OF CHRISTMAS by various authors, published by Trifecta Books.
IT’S ALL ABOUT CHRISTMAS, by various authors
Remember the stories that were part of Christmas when we were children? The songs? The poems? And even the cookies? Then there are the new stories and activities that combine the feelings associated with memories with the excitement of something new. It’s All About Christmas is that kind of book. From The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson and O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi to Michele Bell’s Candle in the Window and Jerry Borrowman’s One Christmas Eve, this book shares Christmas stories old and new. It begins with the beautiful scriptural story of our Savior’s birth, combining the accounts given in the Bible with those of the Book of Mormon. The book isn’t just stories. It includes interesting facts concerning various Christmas traditions, poetry, carols, quotes from various Church leaders and prophets as well as secular leaders, and recipes. The art work is beautiful and reminiscent of the paintings, illustrations, and Christmas cards of earlier generations. This would be a great book for families to share during December Family Home Evenings or to glean ideas for fun activities to enhance the understanding of this special holiday.
IT’S ALL ABOUT CHRISTMAS by various authors, Published by Covenant Communications, 232 pages, hardcover $19.99
Words of Christmas is an advent compilation of scriptural quotes and brief comments that clarify the scriptures concerning the birth of Jesus. Each one is focused on one word associated with the nativity such as Christ, Joy, Peace, etc. The idea is to read and ponder one word, one page each day between the first of December and Christmas day. Families may want to do this together preceding a meal or family prayers.
WORDS OF CHRISTMAS by various authors, Published by Covenant Communications, 25 pages, hardcover $14.99
A Rare Nativity by Sam Beeson with photographic images by Nina and Terral Cochran is an unusual take-off on the popular Twelve Days of Christmas. Written in first person it relates the spiteful giving of discarded trash to an enemy during the twelve days of giving. Then the rendering of the bits of broken glass, twine, crumpled paper and other trash into works of art are re-gifted to the narrator. The final photo is the assembled pieces forming the holy crèche. The story is a lovely illustration of Matthew 5:43-44. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love they neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. This short story suggest that Christmas should not only be a time of giving, but a time of forgiving.
A RARE NATIVITY by Same Beeson, illustrated by Nina and Terral Cochran, published by Shadow Mountain Publishing, 32 pages, hardcover $17.99
Cherishing Christmas by Toni Sorenson is one of those small booklets that appear each Christmas. They’re great stocking stuffers, work out well for Family Home Evenings, or just help individuals get into the mood for Christmas. This one is the story of Santiago, a man who is alone, who misses his deceased wife, and who anticipates an empty, lonely Christmas. In a dream he is promised he will feel the joy of Christmas again if he acts on three truths that once held great meaning for him. When he awakens he can’t remember what the three truths are. One by one he remembers and as he does and acts on those truths, he also remembers the reason Christmas is celebrated and the promise given in John 14:18 that He will not leave us comfortless.
CHERISHING CHRISTMAS by Toni Sorenson, published By Covenant Communications, 20 pages, Booklet $2.49.
Changed by Christmas by Elizabeth W. Watkins picks up the story following Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol. Christmas is approaching and for Charles the season is a dismal reminder of all he’s lost. Once able to comfortably support his family, he is now destitute because his small business was destroyed by fire. Desperate to avoid being sent to the poorhouse along with his wife, he seeks a loan to rebuild his business. Discouragement dogs his steps as he travels through the financial district seeking help. Then he spots a sign that reads Scrooge and Marley. He makes one last stop. This is a story of determination and hope. It’s also a reminder of the incomparable power of redemption.
CHANGED BY CHRISTMAS by Elizabeth W. Watkins, published by Covenant Communications, 11 pages, Booklet $2.49.
Regency Christmas Gifts is a trio of short stories by popular and much loved Carla Kelly. Library Journal describes Kelly thus: “Kelly has the rare ability to create realistic yet sympathetic characters that linger in the mind. One of the most respected Regency writers.” She proves the truth of these words in The Lasting Gift, Faithfully Yours, and Lucy’sBang-Up Christmas. All three stories are set in the early 1800s in England. The first features Thomas Jenkins, a retired sailing master who with the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars has retired and is bored with life and wishes to return to sea until an impoverished Army widow, Mary Ann Poole, and her young daughter call to return a package he mistakenly mailed to them. He makes improving their lot his Christmas project only to discover somewhere along the way he no longer dreams of returning to sea, but dreams instead of a lovely widow and a bright-eyed child.
Faithfully Yours is the story of John who left Scotland an impoverished boy determined to make his way to Canada to make his fortune. As a joke Margaret, the daughter of a wealthy merchant promises to write to him, but never does. Instead she persuades the minister’s daughter, Sally, to write to John, pretending to be Margaret. Ten years later, John returns as a successful, well-to-do businessman. He arrives just days before Margaret’s Christmas wedding.
The third story, Lucy’s Bang-Up Christmas, features 18 year-old Lucy who wishes to observe Christmas as her recently deceased mother did, but is told not to bother since the entire household is involved in preparations for her older sister’s Christmas Eve wedding. Her aunt has taken over the household, the cook threatens to quit, her sister spends all her time crying, her father is distant and distracted. The only one she can relate to is her cousin Miles who has come to straighten out her father’s accounts and assist him in estate affairs. Well, that is his official reason for being present, but actually he’s very much in love with Lucy and has come to hopefully get her to fall in love with him. The two launch a project to provide Christmas baskets for the poor and in the process discover her mother did much more than provide baskets, leading them to take on a major project that not only draws them closer to each other, acquaints Lucy with her mother in a new way, but also teaches them the deeper meaning of Christmas.
REGENCY CHRISTMAS GIFTS by Carla Kelly, published by Camel Press, 195 pages, mass market paperback $13.46
North for Christmas by Christina Dymock
Ruby wants to spend Christmas in Italy with her boyfriend, but when she asks her mother for money for the trip, her mother says no. Ruby’s mother is the CEO of a large corporation and Ruby’s boss. She could afford to pay for the trip, but prefers to use the money for a large donation to her favorite charity. Ruby is angry over her mother’s refusal and the month long assignment she is given to check on a Santa’s village her mother’s company is financing. It’s bad enough to have to wear tights and dress as an elf, but she discovers her mother’s accountant, North, is there too, shooting photographs of children with Santa. She suspects he’s really there at her mother’s behest to spy on her. Visits to a women’s shelter, to schools, and to a mental health home impact Ruby’s view of Christmas and of North.
NORTH FOR CHRISTMAS by Christina Dymock, published by Sweetwater Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc., 166 pages, soft cover $12.99. Also available for e-readers.
Christmas Wonders by Robyn Buttars
A nine-year-old boy, Luke, and his fathermove to a small town and take up residence in the back of a boot shop after the boy’s grandfather dies and the bank repossesses the ranch where they lived with the old man. They are both mourning the death of the boy’s mother who passed away five years earlier. Luke makes friends with the various merchants on the small street and is entranced by the decorated boxes he finds at each place of business. He learns of a little girl who once lived in the town and began the tradition of writing down “wonders” on scraps of paper and placing them in the boxes, a tradition that has continued to the present day. As Luke learns about the “wonders” of Christmas, he discovers a few wonders of his own.
CHRISTMAS WONDERS by Robyn Buttars, published by Familius LLC, 123 pages, hard cover $18.95 Also available for e-readers.