Stan opened the ugly ornaments box and pulled out the top three ornaments, the ones wrapped in green paper, the kids' favorites, and set them on the coffee table. He picked up the first one, the biggest one--Anna's blue pinecone--and began to unwrap it. Without thinking, Judith walked up, stopped him, and gently took it out of his hand. She wrapped it back up, set it carefully in the box. Then picked up the other two ornaments, put them in the box, and closed the flaps.
"What's the matter?" Stan said. "Did I do something wrong?"
"I don't think I can do this."
Nothing is more beautiful than family
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, the ornaments were strange-looking--some were downright ugly--but they were tradition.
With Judith refusing to decorate the bare spruce tree in their living room, Stan's only hope for saving the holiday is found in a box of handmade ornaments . . .
My thoughts: This was a charming Christmas story. Kind of slow and depressing at first as Judith is having a hard time coping with the empty nest. She has no life outside her family and now all of them were gone, ,except her husband. Stan and her best friend, Betty, try to cheer her up but nothing seems to help. Judith doesn't even want to decorate for Christmas and it's her favorite holiday. Stan is at wit's end. He's trying to come up with brilliant ideas and plans to brighten Judith up, even helps her decorate, but no. Nothing. Not even a glimmer. There was so much I could relate to in this book. The tradition. The time working moms and children don't have together anymore due to jobs and school (unlike those of us raised with stay-at-home moms). The technology erasing family time. I think we can all point to a recent holiday when no one looked away from their smart phone or tablet. Conversation? Gone. Kids playing outside? Gone. Everyone is too busy staring at a screen. I love Mr. Walsh's Christmas books (fell in love with him with his first, The Unfinished Gift, and highly recommend KEEPING CHRISTMAS. So many wonderful Christmas stories out this year, and this is one of them. I absolutely loved Stan. I connected with Judith. This is a not to be missed story. And Mom? If you're reading this, I'm sorry for the years I couldn't come home. So glad you were able to come to me.
Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Unfinished Gift and The Restoration Series with Gary Smalley. He has won three Carol Awards, and three of his novels were finalists for the RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for twenty-five years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel. Learn more at www.danwalshbooks.com.