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The Santa Shop

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  755 Ratings  ·  126 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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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
May 12, 2011 Mark Reeder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 23, 2011 Fran rated it it was amazing
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
Susan Jane McLeod
Sep 27, 2011 Susan Jane McLeod rated it it was amazing
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
Marla Blowers
Dec 15, 2011 Marla Blowers rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 19, 2012 Norma Budden rated it it was amazing
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
May 31, 2011 E.M. Walton rated it it was amazing
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.
Mistress of the Dark Path
Mar 03, 2013 Mistress of the Dark Path rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 18, 2011 Jacqueline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Terry Crawford Palardy
Dec 20, 2011 Terry Crawford Palardy rated it really liked it
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
Stephanie Dagg
Dec 01, 2011 Stephanie Dagg rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 28, 2012 Darrena rated it really liked it
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
Nov 18, 2014 Jules rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas
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
R.C. Drake
Oct 16, 2012 R.C. Drake rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 05, 2011 Nicole Storey rated it it was amazing
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
Jeff Dawson
Apr 26, 2012 Jeff Dawson rated it really liked it
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
Dec 17, 2011 Therese rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas

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
Jelly Bean
Jan 21, 2013 Jelly Bean rated it really liked it
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
Patricia Puddle
Nov 09, 2011 Patricia Puddle rated it it was amazing
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
B.J. Robinson
Dec 04, 2011 B.J. Robinson rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 20, 2011 LadyCalico rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 28, 2013 Kirstin rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 31, 2011 C.E. Jr. rated it it was amazing
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
Marilyn L
May 15, 2011 Marilyn L rated it it was amazing
When the reviews said this book would make you laugh and cry, they weren’t kidding. A really terrific story that was all that much better for the smooth, easy-to-understand writing. I liked the main character and was really struck by how real his grief felt to me. In truth, I hated to see this story end (but recently learned there is new extended ending available!). Read this book for its heart and straightforward storytelling. You won’t be sorry.
Whitebeard Books
Dec 02, 2013 Whitebeard Books rated it really liked it
The Santa Shop is a well written and solid holiday season story. Don't read it expecting anything other than exactly what you get. The tale leaves a trail of breadcrumbs and hints that leaves little if any doubt as to the final outcome. I find that reading in this situation really lets me see the quality of the writing. I know where the story is going and yet the trip through the writer's eyes is remarkable.
Lynn Hallbrooks
Jul 04, 2011 Lynn Hallbrooks rated it it was amazing
Shelves: now-on-my-kindle
Tim Greaton's book, The Santa Shop, was given to me by a really good friend. It is one of those books that has a mix of emotions. The reader is given an inside look at the main character's inner most thoughts. As the story unfolds, I kept wondering what the connection between the first and subsequent chapters is. It isn't until the very end that all the pieces fall together.

I personally love the book and I hope that others will love it as well.
Sep 16, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
This was an amazingly touching story of a man at the brink of suicide. After Skip loses his wife and child he finds nothing left to live for and commits himself to being homeless on the streets. He decides to end it all on the one year anniversary of their deaths.

Can anyone or anything change his mind? Does he really deserve to live? This feel-good story will story will answer that question and make your great swell. Pick it up and read it Christmas Eve (it's short).
Rebecca Forster
Nov 13, 2011 Rebecca Forster rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 31, 2014 Odette rated it liked it
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.
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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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