Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh

The Synopsis:

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.

Fan-favorite Dan Walsh invites readers to enjoy this nostalgic Christmas story that celebrates all of our most cherished seasonal traditions, especially the importance of family. Readers will join in remembering the things that make their own Christmas season so special.

I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.


Keeping Christmas

Children growing up and leaving the house is difficult on any parent, especially when the holidays come around and traditions seem to just, stop.

In Keeping Christmas, our focus is on Judith and Stan as they go through the holidays without their kids for the very first year. But instead of finding a way to make new traditions or keep Christmas, Judith buries herself into depression because she feels like she has no purpose without her kids and would rather not participate in Christmas at all.

Personally, I had read the title (Keeping Christmas) and the back of the book as if there would be a show of overcoming this depression. The title implies that “despite the unfortunate turn of events, Judith is still able to keep Christmas”, however, that is not the story I read. Keeping Christmas, though understandable in its setting, is very depressing. As I read it, I felt my own joyful spirit being deflated, just like it would if I were around someone who were on a pity party.

I kept waiting for a climactic, turn-around in attitude from Judith, but I was sorely disappointed that in the end, after over twenty-something long “woe-is-me” chapters, her attitude had only mildly improved. Sure, I’m glad that there was some improvement in her character, but to drag a reader through this type of story without an overall ending message of strength or reclaiming of joy, I wonder what the point was? To depress the readers? To make one’s adult children ashamed for growing up and having their own lives? I’m quite sure that was not the author’s intention, so it just makes the lack of morale that much more disappointing.

I struggled to make it to the end and when I finally got there, I felt as if I had wasted my time being sad when I could’ve read a predictable, sappy romance and could’ve at least laughed or smiled. Even if this book had been written to be a “relatable” story for others currently in the situation, I fear that it would do nothing to help improve one’s own outlook on life, but would actually make the reader feel worse in their situation.

However, I will mention that it is a clean book with no cursing, sexual content or violence of any kind. It also has some spiritual content.

So, unfortunately, I give Keeping Christmas 2 out of 5 stars and do not recommend it.

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