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A Family Christmas

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  229 Ratings  ·  53 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 to ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Hyperion
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Full of poems, short stories,and Christmas carols.....some familiar, others not , (at least to me.) I refer to this book every Christmas season, since I received it as a gift from my makes me think of her, as she passed away several years ago. It makes me feel as if I am close to her, because she tried so hard to make the Christmas season special.

If you love Christmas.....pick up this book.....
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 02, 2016 added it
This large octavo book could properly be called a "Treasury" for it is a collection of Christmas poetry, prose, scriptural readings, and lyrics, drawing on authors as diverse as Vladimir Nabokov, Harper Lee, Longfellow, Nikki Giovanni, Martin Luther King Jr., Billy Collins, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and Charles Dickens. This diverse and unique anthology will become a timeless keepsake, and will convey the lasting history and spirit of Christmas. A Family Christmas includes selections from: Josep ...more
Pris robichaud
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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

Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas-books
An interesting and diverse collection of Christmas carols and songs, poems, short stories, scripture and other narratives relative to the holiday season. Cross cultural, some modern and many classics. Not all stories are feel good holiday reads. Unique illustrations. A nice coffee table type book for a holiday gift.

Some of my favorites are:
*A Christmas Tree - Piri Thomas
*The Old Scout: The Season of Letter-Perfect Families - Garrison Keller 12/12/2006
*The Stable - Gabriela Mistral
*The Puppy Who
Dec 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Barbara M
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book of poems, songs, and stories about Christmas compiled by Caroline Kennedy. Some old favorites were included, as well as, a lot of new material I had never read before.

Caroline seemed to do a lot of research in putting together this comprehensive book about Christmas.
I appreciated all the work she put into it. I am familiar with Christmas poems, songs and stories and was delighted to find so many new ones in this collection that I had not read before!

I enjoyed reading a chapter
Barbara Lohr
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Brittany Z
Dec 29, 2015 rated it liked it
I've seen this at the library before and thought it was about a Kennedy family Xmas. Instead, it's a compilation of holiday poems, lyrics, letters, and short stories that Caroline Kennedy picked out. It starts with a brief discussion of the history of the holiday before getting into the book. The holiday poems are mostly lame, the holiday songs are always nice to read the lyrics but nothing new, and some of the letters and short stories need more context or are just not new. I glossed over the r ...more
May 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-finishing
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
Dec 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: holiday, unfinished, owned
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
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: christmas, anthology
A good anthology, and since I suppose there are people who will only own one Christmas anthology, (I'm not one of those people), I guess it's OK that it includes a lot of the classic old chestnuts. It's good in that it has not only stories, poems and carols, but some history and other non-fiction as well. This is a well-designed book and worth considering to add to your collection or to be the only anthology on the subject that you buy. Recommended.
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A wide ranging collection of Christmas reflections. I especially like the inclusion of President Kennedy's letter to a little girl assuring her that the Soviets' atomic testing could not hurt Santa Claus. That little gem gives us so much history in one small paragraph. It would be nice to read a story a nice for each day of Advent and see how many years it takes to get through the whole book.
Nov 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: but-unowned
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.
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this thoroughly. It is a collection of tales, prayers, hymns, Bible passages and reminiscences. Bittersweet in its portrayal of the Kennedy family, sweet in its traditions. Another excellent Christmas read.
Linda Chudej
May 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kennedy
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!
Mom - Joanne
Dec 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas-books
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.
Jan 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a charming holiday read that was funny, sweet and inspiring.
Dec 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
A beautiful collection of Christmas stories from poets, authors and songwriters.
Nov 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Very interesting -- this book provides history, stories, poems and song lyrics all relating to X-Mas.
Jennifer Salazar
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
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Librarian’s note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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 19
More about Caroline Kennedy...

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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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