Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Samantha's Surprise: A Christmas Story” as Want to Read:
Samantha's Surprise: A Christmas Story
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Samantha's Surprise: A Christmas Story (American Girls: Samantha #3)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  5,421 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
The books in this collection tell the stories of six American girls who lived long ago:
Paperback, 68 pages
Published March 1st 1988 by American Girl Publishing Inc (first published January 1st 1986)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Samantha's Surprise, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Samantha's Surprise

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Things to love about this book:

1. Handmade snowflakes
2. Nutcracker
3. Dolls
4. Papier-mâché box
5. Box of chocolates
6. Her red dress

Things I associate with Christmas even today:

See all of the above.

Seriously, when I was a girl, the year I read this, I thought: That's my dream Christmas.
That year, all I asked for was numbers 1-6. And I got all of those. My grandmother made me a red polished cotton dress just like hers on the cover. I got my first nutcracker, which started my obsession with them, and
Kaley Catron
Jul 10, 2017 Kaley Catron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awww much too adorable!! I love Samantha so much! Lol
Jun 04, 2017 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a young girl in Victorian times who wanted more than anything a nutcracker doll for Christmas, but felt she couldn't ask her Grandmother for the doll since she had given her previous doll to her orphan friend. In the end everyone celebrates a Merry Christmas! (Sophie, Age 9)
Feb 06, 2017 Darlene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Three books in, and this was by far mine and my daughter's favorite so far. At this point we feel we really know the characters well and can imagine the way they're speaking. The magic that is Christmas also helped this to be a more engaging story.
Nov 12, 2011 Rebekah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story begins with Samantha being really excited for Christmas. Her best friend invited her to a Christmas party and she had a new dress to wear to it; she also really wanted a nutcracker doll. Her grandmother gave her permission to go to the party which made the excitement grow. Samantha also had all her presents and decorations made and she couldn't wait to decorate the house. Her grandmother tells her that her uncle is bringing a friend for Christmas so she'll have to make things extra sp ...more
Amanda Caldwell
Review from The Book Babe.

Samantha's Surprise is the third book in Samantha's American Girl series. Just like the first book, this book also is focused on a doll which Samantha wants. Samantha is eager for Christmas. She has made Christmas decorations for Grandmary's house, has a special holiday dress to wear, looks forward to making a gingerbread house, and attending her friend Ida's Christmas party. All of these things are cancelled though when Grandmary learns that Uncle Gard will be bringing
Jul 26, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was younger, about the age Samantha is in this book, I loved my American Girl Doll. My doll was in fact a Samantha doll. In this story about Samantha she has everything for Christmas planned out. She has made decorations for the whole house, been invited to her friend's Christmas party, and has presents made. All that seems to change when Samantha's Grandmary finds out that Uncle Gard is bringing his friend Cornelia. Grandmary orders decorations and Samantha is upset by this, then Samanth ...more
Sarah Crawford
Jan 15, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this story it's about Christmas time and Samantha wants to help decorate the house, but a professional decorator has been called in and she ends up using the things she has made just in her room, feeling quite upset.

Then it turns out her Uncle is going to be coming with a woman, Cornelia, and everyone wants everything to be special for her, again leaving Samantha feeling left out of things.

She also wants a certain doll in a nearby toy store, but feeling she can't ask for it since she gave he
I'm kinda over writing reviews about Samantha. This series had its good points and its not so good points. Ready to move on to something else. I let my daughter write this review:

In this American Girls Book, ten year old Samantha is invited to a Christmas Party by her friend Ida Dean. Samantha was very excited to go to the party because of all the wonderful games they planned on playing; activities such as magic tricks and charades were some of the things that Samantha would definitely not want
Dec 23, 2009 Dolly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We are just starting to read stories from the "American Girls" collection. We just happen to be on the third "Samantha" story, which lucky for us, has a Christmas theme. It's a nice tale and describes how people, specifically wealthy people, celebrate Christmas just after the turn of the twentieth century. I like these stories a lot; they are entertaining and have some historical and educational content that make them more than just a story. I'm afraid, however, that they don't always hold our g ...more
Jan 27, 2013 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Samantha, an orphan, lives with her wealthy, formal Grandmary in 1904. Her home includes servants and prestige.

Samantha is excited about the forthcoming Christmas. She has crafted her Christmas gifts and decorations. She has her heart set on an elaborate nutcracker doll at Schofield's toy Store.

When Samantha attempts to decorate the house, she is rebuffed by Hawkins and Elsa;it appears that the house is being professionally decorated for Cornelia's visit. And no one has time to assist Samantha w
Dec 23, 2008 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was 7 my cousin had the doll and complete collection of accessories etc. We didn't have much money but when the Scholastic book order came around Mom splurged and thank God she did. I bought 'Samantha's Surprise' and every Christmas since 1989 I've read the story. It isn't terribly brilliant and it isn't as saturated with yule as Dickens but the moment of imagination or escapism is more than enough for me. I clipped the mail order tag from the back of the book and taped it above my bed so ...more
This book is another great Samantha book. This time it is Christmas and Samantha wants a nutcracker doll. She feels bad for wanting it, because of Nellie. Also Samantha is excited because her Uncle is coming, but she is disappointed when she hears that he is bringing a friend with him. They ruin the party and Samantha is upset because this Christmas wont be like all the others. The best surprise is that Cornella ends up being super nice and save Christmas when they get to do all their fun things ...more
Oct 05, 2009 F rated it liked it
Buddy-read with my grand niece. Samantha's favorite Uncle Gard is bringing his girlfriend, Cornelia for a Christmas visit. Samantha resents all the fuss Cornelia's visit brings, including Samantha cannot go to one of her friend's Christmas party. In my opinion there are other American Girl paperbacks that are more appealing. I did investigate recipes for quince jam and plum pudding. The "Look into the Past" section at the back of the book was very interesting, including that no one counted calor ...more
Becky Keir Grace
It's almost Christmas, and Samantha is excited for the holiday. Her Uncle is bringing Cornelia with him for Christmas. Samantha's friend, Ida, is having a big Christmas party that Samantha is excited to attend. The family has their home decorated for Christmas and Samantha is eager to make a gingerbread house. But then Cornelia's arrival causes some of Samantha's plans to fall apart. She blames Cornelia.

Samantha learns a valuable lesson this Christmas.

It is fascinating to read about Christmas ov
Samantha Glasser
Samantha's Surprise is a Christmas story. Nellie is very poor and her family cannot afford the lavish celebration that Samantha's family can, but Samantha is determined to share the wealth as much as possible so everyone has a great holiday. Uncle Gard comes to town and spoils his favorite niece with an extra special gift.

This book really concentrates on the variances between social classes, and the way things have changed in only 100 years. It made me appreciate what I had and also more curious
Alternate title- The one where she gets her doll.
The American Girl books are rather formulaic. Book 1 we meet the girl and her world. Book 2 we see what school is like during that time period. Book 3 How that girl and her family celebrate Christmas (and of course that girl gets a doll as a present). And so on and so forth.

This was probably my least favorite Samantha book because she was fairly bratty about not getting her own way for Christmas. She does snap out of it but for a couple of chapt
A simple story with nice pictures. But after addys Christmas story, it was let down. It was much more selfish & really focused on Samantha judging a woman before she met her & wanting a doll. Boring. I guess she learned her lesson, because corlaine turned out alright. But it was all to perfect. She got the doll. The lady was nice, but I don't feel anything was really learned. No spirit of giving here. Just a kid whining for half the book. Only good for American girl fans.
Callie Stillion
Samantha is angry when she hears that Uncle Gardner is bringing his special friend, Cornelia, is coming over. Of course, in one of Samantha`s short stories, they get married, and in this book, Uncle Gard asks her to marry him. Cornelia quickly says yes... but she knows that he was going to ask her, because they already had a date planned. But Samantha is longing for a Nutcracker Doll, and Aunt Cornelia gets it for Samantha. This turned out to be the best Christmas for her. ...more
Dec 08, 2014 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the American Girl books when I was a kid. And the dolls. And the accessories. In December, I pulled out my baskets of Christmas books and this was among them. Finn picked it out to do as a read-aloud and thoroughly enjoyed it. While the story is just so-so, the "Peek into the Past" at the end (the nonfiction part of the text) was great. We had an awesome time comparing Christmas today to Christmas in 1904.
Apr 05, 2009 Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
samantha has high hopes for the best Christmas ever! things begin to go wrong when uncle Gard anouncesw he is bringing his beautiful Corneliea home for the holidays. Everyone is paying so much attention to her and no attention to Samantha, and her wish for the doll on the window of schofeild's toy store. But when christmas morning FINALLY comes she has a little surprise waiting for her!! This book brings the holiday joy to you and make you want it to be Crhistmas right when you are reading it!!
I have a crush on Uncle Gard. He drives a car, which is ultra-badass for the time period, and when Samantha gives him clues about what the gift she got him (smaller than a breadbox, cannot sing or do handsprings, is part green, can close up, cannot be ridden, and would look silly on my head in the summer) he says that he is certain she's bought him a baby turtle. Full of win!
Jan 05, 2011 Bree rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
I read this aloud to my four year old over several nights as part os our Christmas reads. The story didn't quite keep her attention, and she had difficulty keeping teh characters straight (even with teh handy pictorial guide) but she was very interested in the drawings, and the photographs in the historical details at the back.
Jun 04, 2014 Teri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-girl
Tons of fun Christmas activities to go with this one! We made gingerbread houses and decorated small boxes with tiny magazine cut outs of flowers with glue and modge podge (note--use the real stuff, not shiny spray). Can make scented pillows, or cut snowflakes, or stuffed angels--could also plan a sledding trip.
Chris Novotny
Oct 08, 2015 Chris Novotny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My 5 year old daughter loves this series. She said this one was great, but not quite as good as the second book in the series. In addition, she laid still and listened and looked at all the pictures and tried to read some of it while I read to her. So that's big praise, as she is quite particular about what she will sit still for...
Dec 23, 2012 Lindsay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have memories of reading this book as a child to my dad and have kept my childhood copy ever since. Samantha was my favorite American Girl. I even have her doll somewhere.
It's a cozy Christmas book that does teach people what it was like for people back in 1904. I would like to find the rest of the books if I could.
Jul 15, 2014 Miri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Samantha's Uncle Gard is in love with a woman named Cornelia and brings her home for the Holidays, this upsets Samantha, who is jealous of the time they spend together. Soon though Samantha learns that Cornelia isn't so bad.
Jun 02, 2012 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Samantha was my favorite American girl growing up. I wish they hadn't retired the classic girls to make room for the new girls. It would have been nice if they could have kept them, so readers could examine the different perspectives of girls growing up in the same era.
I really enjoy Christmas and I love families that go all out. I love that Samantha took the time to make everything that she was going to give each person. I always did that when I was younger. I am also glad that she realizes that Cornelia isn't bad at all. She actually is a lot of fun.
Jun 23, 2014 Skylar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Christmas is my favorite time of year because I get to play in the snow and get presents, tons and tons of presents. I can relate to this book because Samantha gets tons and tons of presents from her family too.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Changes for Samantha: A Winter Story (American Girls: Samantha, #6)
  • Samantha Learns a Lesson: A School Story (American Girls: Samantha, #2)
  • Kirsten's Surprise: A Christmas Story (American Girls: Kirsten, #3)
  • Addy's Surprise: A Christmas Story (American Girls: Addy, #3)

Other Books in the Series

American Girls: Samantha (6 books)
  • Meet Samantha: An American Girl (American Girls: Samantha, #1)
  • Samantha Learns a Lesson: A School Story (American Girls: Samantha, #2)
  • Happy Birthday Samantha!: A Springtime Story (American Girls: Samantha, #4)
  • Samantha Saves the Day: A Summer Story (American Girls: Samantha, #5)
  • Changes for Samantha: A Winter Story (American Girls: Samantha, #6)

Share This Book