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A Family Christmas

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  260 ratings  ·  42 reviews
"When I began assembling [this] collection, I was skeptical that I would learn anything new about Christmas, but reading and reflecting on the history and spirit of Christmas brought back many memories, and taught me a great deal. . . . The literature of Christmas ranges from the miraculous to the tragic, the profound to the ridiculous, but always represents the connection ...more
Hardcover, 333 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Hachette Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 409)
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Deborah
I love Christmas collections, and this is one of the best I have read. Caroline Kennedy chose a wonderful variety of styles and perspectives. Some were expected, but some were surprising. I especially liked Martin Luther King's "Christmas Sermon on Peace," which I had not read before.
I also enjoyed the research about Santa Claus in the Introduction.
Pris robichaud
Sowing A Few Seeds of Happiness, December 27, 2007
"Are you willing ... to own, that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness ... to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings ...? Then you can keep Christmas." Henry van Dyke

O
...more
Ann
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Barbara Lohr
This Christmas book offers a delightful range of Christmas offerings, from poetry and rap lyrics to short stories and emails. Although the expected “Gift of the Magi” makes an appearance, the collection also includes “A Chaparral Christmas” by O. Henry. Who knew that Macy’s actually has a Santa Guide? You don’t expect to find a Christmas story by Truman Capote. The organization is lightly themed and moves back and forth through time periods, but that doesn’t matter. This is a great melting pot o ...more
Sandra Kinzer
My favorite story of the compilation is the "Yes, Virginia" one. It reminds me of the movie Prancer, where the dad reads that excerpt to his kid when she is doubting whether there is a Santa Claus.
Michelle
I read a bunch of these stories last year--there are some new ones that aren't in normal collections (like by David Sedaris). I really love this book, and am reading some more this year. This is a really nice Christmas collection. Read Recollections from a Slave Woman last night, which was written by a former slave. Good but sad, and obviously, a good one given that we've just elected our beloved Obama.

I'm probably done reading this for this year, but more stories to read for next year. We read
...more
Shelley
I LOVE Christmas books. I hated this one. The title is misleading, the only thing I wanted to share were the lyrics to Christmas carols and the one Laura Ingalls excerpt. It wasn't family oriented to me, at least in the very long and fairly awful first half of the book. There was no loving, joyful, inspiring, giving vibe to it.
Usually when I don't like a book I will finish it in hopes that it will get better at some point or that I will find a little nugget of inspiration in it. I'm hoping to fi
...more
Kathy Stone
I liked this unusual collection of Christmas stories and poems. Some of the stories may not appear Christmasy on the surface, but all contain some element to the season.
Brian
I had purchased this book when it first came out and even gave it as Christmas gifts. I had read bits and pieces of it since then, but this is the first time I read it cover to cover. What made it even more special is that I read many of the poems and stories aloud to my wife and dog at bedtime.

The standard Christmas classics are in here: "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus," "A Christmas Memory," "A Visit from St. Nicholas," "The Oxen", and many traditional Christmas carols and songs.

This bo
...more
Diana Qureshi
A wonderful collection of Christmas art, stories and songs published under one compilation and edited by Caroline Kennedy.
Jaksen
Love this book and me, not a sentimentalist. Especially enjoy the short story, 'A Christmas Memory' by Truman Capote, which reflects so much on the kind of person he became, how much he loved his elderly cousin and how special she made the holiday for him, and with so little. I read parts of this collection every year, just me alone with my Christmas tree on and the house quiet. It's truly a collection that warms the heart, and with me...not a sentimentalist...feeling very sentimental whenever I ...more
Nancy
This is a collection of short stories, poems and songs about Christmas. I bought this book for my mother, probably when it was published in 2007. I found it at her house a few years ago. Perhaps it was my attitude (I never really got into the Christmas process this year...), but I couldn't get into this; none of the stories, poems, songs that I read really grabbed me and I didn't feel like reading some of the standards (like Gift of the Magi) again. So, I am putting the book back on my Christmas ...more
Jo Ann
A nice collection of Christmas stories and poems to help get you in the Holiday spirit.
Marlene
There were some very interesting stories in this book, but also what I would call a lot of fillers. I saw Caroline Kennedy interviewed about this book and she made it sound very interesting. I wish she had given the same dissertations in her book; explaining about each of the stories. I do recommend the book however.
Voracious_reader
Collection of Christmas-related poems, songs, letters and short stories--I would have appreciated some additional critical analysis and Christmas history in addition to the original texts included. It has some interesting excerpts in it but it lacks any organization. I enjoyed it...but was underwhelmed.
False Millennium
She obviously learned from her mother in how to put together a physically attractive book (with satin ribbon marker.) As a compliation, I could see families going to this, over time, in reading favorite pieces as the holiday season evolves.
Mom - Joanne
The variety in the collection is just what I needed to gain perspective. Truman Capote's story of his Christmas with his cousin; Russian story of loss and butterflies and Catalonia song of the birds touched my spirit in different special ways.
CYNTHIA
A truly heartwarming compilation of Holiday classics and family stories. Written with a underlying warmth and love of family and tradition that gives one a feeling of hope and a certainty that the human spirit will never be daunted.
Linda Chudej
This book is very special indeed. Ms. Kennedy tells of the Christmases shared with her family and she gives us stories that mean something to her (and probably to most of us!) about Christmas. I cannot recommend it highly enough!
Roberta
I can't say that I've read every single page of this book, but I own a copy that I like to look through every Christmas. It has nostalgic illustrations to accompany the stories, poems, and songs. Every family should have one.
Liz
A beautiful keepsake of beloved holiday poems, prose, and short stories. I place it on my coffee table in the family room each Christmas season, and try to read a few pages as often as I can during this hectic time.
Rita Schmitz
This book is a collection of stories, poetry, scripture, songs and letters to and from Santa and to the author’s father, John F Kennedy. It is a unique Christmas anthology and an enjoyable read.
Marlene
I try to read stories from this book every Christmas season. Some are enjoyable, others are not but it keeps me in the holiday spirit throughout December.
Jennifer Salazar
Great collection of Christmas stories, poems & carols. One to pass onto my daughter; read her her first Little House on the Prairie excerpt from this book.
Patricia
This is such a great anthology! We read it nightly, as a family, during the Christmas season. I've got to purchase myself a copy!
Kathy
Perhaps the version available from Audible.com is better. I did not care for the narrator of the version available from BARD.
Jane
I didnt really enjoy the book.... It was more a collection of poems, song lyrics and personal memories.
Amy
This combines short stories, poems, songs, Bible verses, etc., in a nice collection of Kennedy's favorites.
Heather
Got this last Christmas as a gift -- read some then and am enjoying the little stories this year as well.
Amy
Very interesting -- this book provides history, stories, poems and song lyrics all relating to X-Mas.
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Caroline Bouvier Kennedy is an American author and attorney. She is the daughter and only surviving child of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. An older sister, Arabella, died shortly after her birth in 1956. Brother John F. Kennedy, Jr. died in a plane crash in 1999. Another brother, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy died two days after his birth in 1963.
More about Caroline Kennedy...
She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children Poems to Learn by Heart In Our Defense

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“Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you and to think what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background and your duties in the middle distance and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground; to see that your fellow men are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own that probably the only good reason for your existence is not waht you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness - are you willing to do these things for even a day?

Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and the desires of little children; to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you and ask yourself whether you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to try to understand what those who live in the same house with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front of you so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open - are you willing to do these things for even a day?

Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world, - stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death, - and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas. And if you keep it for a day, why not always?

But you can never keep it alone.”
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