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The Santa Shop

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  603 ratings  ·  113 reviews
Skip Ralstat is a man so steeped in grief and despair that life seems no longer possible. After the death of his wife and child, Skip blames himself. He has given up his friends, his job, and even his home. Now, homeless, he survives on the mean streets of Albany. He knows it can't go on, that life must end. But will it?
Come join him on his most unusual road to redemption.
Kindle Edition, 175 pages
Published (first published November 6th 2002)
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Community Reviews

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When attorney, Skip Ralstat loses his wife and baby on Christmas Eve, he blames himself for not being there and dedicates his grief-stricken life to one of misery and homelessness in memory of them. As thoughts of self-destruction continue to haunt him, he hears the story of a treacherous cliff (aptly named) Christmas Leap having a history of numerous Christmas Eve suicides......and so decides his fate.

While this short story has much sadness, it is not a joyless tale. It is filled with the kindn

Mark Reeder
From the very beginning the idea of a Santa Shop caught my imagination, but what kept me reading were the believable characters, simple truths and powerful themes wrapped up in a delightful package of irridescent prose. Tim Greaton is not just a writer, he's a consumate storyteller. His books should be on everyone's short list of must reads.

Mark Reeder
Susan Jane McLeod
What a joy it was to read this touching story. I love that the protagonist is a homeless man. It gives Tim Greaton the opportunity to show us the world from this character's point of view. The adjective that kept jumping out at me was "invisible." It is sadly true that this is the way "normal" people often treat the disadvantaged. It is easiest to turn away, not because we humans are inherently cruel, but, as Tim says, because we see what we fear we may become. How many of us are only a tragedy ...more
The Santa Shop
Author: Tim Greaton
Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Have you read a Tim Greaton novel lately? One reviewer called The The Santa Shop "...pure distilled emotions." Tim's mainstream emotional novels and fantasy books for all ages are available at all fine bookstores, or get discounted and signed collector editions at



Hope is something tha
Marla Blowers
I absolutely loved The Santa Shop. Many people look at homeless individuals as low life or lazy. This novel is from the eyes of a homeless man. He was well educated and a professional and yet he found himself homeless. How he was treated for the most part was not a surprise. It was nice to see that there were a few individuals out there that took the time to get to know him and show him some kindness. To consider suicide it has to be about as low as you can possible get. Greaton brought this cha ...more
Norma Budden
I read this book in one sitting and must admit that the story and emotions portrayed were very engaging and very real.

Living in Arctic Canada, where suicides occur more often than in the southern provinces, The Santa Shop provided a glimpse into the heart, indeed soul, of a person plagued by thoughts of suicide. I wrote a non-fiction book at one point dealing with this very subject and, when I release it as a Kindle version, I will be promoting The Santa Shop along with it.

Without giving away th
E.M. Walton
A beautiful and heart-warming story of grief and forgiveness. Greaton took me on a journey through our worst fears - the loss of those we hold dearest and a life of emptiness. You truly come to understand the world through Skip's eyes. All at once you recognize the harsh realities of life and the overwhelming kindness of an individual. This wonderful story will bring out a range and depth of emotions from the reader not possible with most novels. A must-read for those seeking to rediscover the t ...more
Beth F.
This was a very quick read of some enjoyable Christmas fluff. It ended a bit too abruptly for my taste so I wasn't left feeling fully satisfied at the end, but it wouldn't stop me from recommending the story to someone else who is in the mood for a heartwarming holiday story about Christmas magic, homeless man style.
I really enjoyed this story. It's perhaps a little heavier than I would normally like for a Christmas read, but it is well written & is very emotive & thought provoking.

Favourite quotes:

"We bigger folk try our best to be brave and strong. But inside we're all just kids. Sometimes seeing the sparkle of an adult's eyes over the right toy is even better than seeing that of a child. Children are surrounded with the magic of life, but so many of us forget all about it as we get older."

"It bec
Terry Crawford Palardy
The Santa Shop (an endearing store that so echoed my husband's own devotion to making wooden toys) held my attention and kept me wondering what would happen next. The beginning seems to be a haunting of sorts, which is not fully explained until the end of the story.

The existence of the homeless in our cities is explored through the eyes of a man who has lost his wife and infant son in a tragic Christmas Eve fire. His guilt in not being with them that night ends his successful career and leaves h
This story was fascinating. It gripped my heart from the start. I enjoyed the main character, Skip Ralstat, who I thought was writing his memoirs, that's how real the story felt to me!

Tim Greaton definitely knows how to tell a good story and his awareness of homelessness and suicide is appreciated.

Here are a few mustard seeds I felt were some of the main points you could get from reading the book
His wife and child needed their father home and Skip needed to be with his family but because of neg
Stephanie Dagg
There’s a tendency for Christmas novels to dwell on its joyful, glittery aspect, but here is one with a difference. It deals with the darker side of Christmas - the side experienced by lonely, deprived and ill people, the homeless and the bereaved, who find this time of good cheer and happiness hard to bear.
Our hero is Skip who lost his family in a Christmas Eve fire. He was at a boring office party and so escaped the same fate. However, he’s consumed by guilt and falls apart, ending up on the
This is a touching story about an attorney, Skip Ralstat who lost his wife and child in a fire on Christmas Eve. Filled with grief and guilt for not being there at the moment of the fire, Skip gives up his job, becomes homeless and loses his will to live, thinking that it would be an act of justice to die like his family.
He decides to go to a small town in Vermont to commit suicide by jumping of a bridge, and it is there where he finds The Santa Shop, who at first sight is just a shop with toys
Mistress of the Dark Path
I normally have a set outline for reviews, but this book has left such an impression on me that I felt compelled to deviate from that format. There is a good reason for this and I will explain. This story is about a man who had a horrible Christmas experience that brought him to a suicidal state one year after that tragic incident. For me, I have never been suicidal, but Christmas has always been an emotional time for me due to similar reasons. My mother died just two weeks before Christmas when ...more
I thought this book was wonderful. It was up lifting and very heart-felt. I loved the characters and the mystery that it kept you on through out the novel. I also like the writting style very much and thought that it put an extra spark to the story. I really enjoyed how Tim made you feel a very strong connection with his character and made the life experiences so real that you can feel the emotions just as strong with the character. This story had very natural life like resemblances to what you ...more
R.C. Drake
This review is from: The Santa Shop (The Samaritans Conspiracy - book 1) (Kindle Edition)
A traumatic experience pushes Skip Ralstat beyond his breaking point, and he is unable to find the willpower to go on. Guilt almost destroys him, but hope finds its way into his life, in the form of strangers. Several caring people are placed in his pathway. Kind bighearted individuals, with an overwhelming capacity for love. These complete strangers put their own needs aside, to be able to attend to their f
Nicole Storey
It doesn't happen for me often, but every once in a blue moon, I read a story that touches my heart and soul. This beautiful story by Tim Greaton is such a book. It is a "Christmasy" story to an extent, but it can be enjoyed any time of year. Greaton's book teaches a few very important lessons about love, understanding, forgiveness, hope, and acceptance.

Unlike some who have commented, I was able to connect with the main character, Skip, right away. I rode the tide of pain along with him as he sp
Jelly Bean
Many have long given up on Santa. To know that he is alive and well in each us is a treasure. I wish for others that get in the state of mind that this character did that there would be someone to come along and given the direction that was needed. Just goes to show that God can place the right people in your life at just the right time. Others affect our life but we in turn affect those we encounter. Pays to be on your toes and be mindful of what you say and do. You just might be the angel or " ...more
Jeff Dawson
Apr 26, 2012 Jeff Dawson rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone enduring hard times

Not just for Christmas

What happens to an up-and-coming attorney when he chooses to attend the firms Christmas party without his wife and son who perish in an apartment fire? What strange road leads him to standing on the ice laden metal bridge in Gray, Vermont on Christmas Eve staring down at a torrent of black cascading, rushing water hoping to redeem his self-worth (in some bizarre way) to atone for the untimely death of his wife and son? You'll have to read this fine work to obtain the answer
The Santa Shop was an inspiring Christmas read with a happy ending. It is the story of Skip Raslett who became homeless after the death of his family. The guilt at not being there to help and also surviving has driven him to adopt a feeling of hopelessness. The book has a magical quality about it and a great message of hope and redemption.

I don't know what I thought this book was about, but it turned out to be a delightful read and a real steal considering in was free. I have checked out a couple more books by the author that perhaps I will get one day.

In this book Skip Ralstat is overcome with depression, grief, and guilt after losing his wife and baby boy one Christmas Eve when he was working. His life spirals downwards until he is on the streets and feels his only answer is to end his life since he was not there to save Ta
Kathy Worrell  ツ
I wouldn't call this your typical happy Christmas story.

The Santa Shop is about a man whose wife and child are killed on Christmas Eve while he was at his office Christmas party.

Wracked with guilt he is determined to commit suicide to honor them.

It's a very dark and sad story.
B.J. Robinson
Dec 04, 2011 B.J. Robinson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the hopeless
Tim Greaton's The Santa Shop is well worth the ninety-nine cents you'll pay for an inspirational Christmas story of hope. A young attorney on top of the world goes to a party to build his career and leaves his family home alone. Will they be waiting when he returns? One party changes his life forever. A homeless man contemplates suicide on Christmas Eve on the Christmas Leap Bridge. He has gone over the edge, but will he literally? Available at Amazon or Barnes and Don't miss this Chr ...more
Patricia Puddle
Nov 25, 2011 Patricia Puddle rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all readers, grieving people, depressed people, alcoholics, the homeless.
Recommended to Patricia by: Goodreads
Another great book by one of my favourite authors, Tim Greaton. A wonderful inspirational story about a man who thinks he doesn't deserve to enjoy his life, or even live because his wife and baby died in a fire one Christmas eve while he was away. The story pulls at the heart strings as you travel on the journey with Skip as he lives on the icy-cold streets as a homeless man, sleeping in doorways or wherever he can.

This story gives an insight into the lives the homeless, the reasons why some be
A nice Christmas feel-good story.

Categorising as suspense or thriller is wrong though, so if that is what you're looking for skip this one. It's good fiction, with a collection of decent characters (maybe a little one dimensional, very few flaws or dilemmas), but a nice read that makes me want to look i to more by this author.

I found this while looking for some light Christmas themed reading, and almost skipped it because of the thriller tag. I found the characters likeable and the story enjoy
C.E. Jr.
The Santa Shop by Tim Greaton is simply a wonderful read. I couldn't put it down. Tim weaves this story in such a smooth, masterful way. Its message is simple and meaningful. His descriptive writing will paint pictures on the walls of your mind. I've never really had a strong desire to visit the Northeast, so I couldn't believe how much he had me wishing I could take a trip to the small Vermont village he describes. The only thing which could have made it better was if I'd read it on Christmas E ...more
I just loved this sweet Christmas story told from the POV of a homeless man who has given up all hope. My one complaint was the Prologue that removed a lot of dramatic tension from the story that followed--it gave away too much of the outcome too soon. I would have gotten more engrossed in Skip's angst if the story hadn't started with its own spoiler. Nevertheless, this is one of the best Christmas stories I've read in a long time, with an interesting range of characters that Skip meets on his w ...more
Diane Lybbert
This was a short book, but an interesting premise. The main character, Skip, tells the story. He was a successful up-and-coming lawyer, but he worked too much. His wife wanted him to stay home with her and their child on Christmas Eve, but he had an office Christmas party to attend, in order to shake more hands and make more impressions. While he was at the party his house catches fire and his wife and child are killed. Deep grief and guilt rob him of his ambition and focus, and before long he f ...more
Rebecca Forster
I loved this book. Tim Greaton never got in the way of telling the story of a man so overcome by grief and guilt that he despaired of living. The story unfolded seamlessly, touching my heartstrings without pulling at them relentlessly, made me hope for the best outcome but prepared me to accept something lesser. I truly appreciate an author who does nto worry about how long the book is, but how well the story is told. What a great reading present no matter what time of year you pick it up.
Beautifully written....

.....and the message is perfectly clear! Don't give up on life, no matter how heartbreaking and difficult it can be. I look forward to reading Book 2!
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I live in Maine with my beautiful wife and three amazing children. We share seven acres with one dog, two cats and a population of ducks that varies with the weather. I'm is a full-time corporate writer and novelist. My fiction and nonfiction have appeared in forums all around the globe. You can find my novels in paperback and ebook formats at all quality book retailers.

Though I'm sometimes referr
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“You can't belittle a person in one breath and then expect them to grow self-respect and self-reliance with the next.” 0 likes
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