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Christmas, Present

3.10  ·  Rating details ·  784 ratings  ·  131 reviews
A fourteenth wedding anniversary is nothing to sneeze at, Elliott Banner knows, but it's not exactly a landmark year—like fifteen, or twenty, when he plans to take his wife, Laura, to Paris. But when a headache on the drive home from their anniversary date—two days before Christmas—turns out to be more than a migraine, he wishes he had celebrated every year as though it we ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published October 21st 2003 by Harper (first published October 9th 2003)
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Average rating 3.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  784 ratings  ·  131 reviews

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Jennie Louwes
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
I haven't read a book, I could read in one sitting, in quite some time; in that, this book was an excellent read for me. I was able to pick it up, and put it down (once fully read), feeling accomplished. The above was the highlight of "Christmas, Present" for me - its brevity.

I know, that sounds harsh; but, what's a good review without telling the truth?

I gave this book a 2 star rating and have deemed it "okay". In a sense, this book was wasted time; but, for me, it served to cleanse my reader'
Feb 17, 2009 rated it did not like it
Listened to the audiobook. The author's voice is irritating and whiny. The story does not ring true and the ending is annoyingly predictable. ...more
M.M. Hudson
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a marvelous story that can be read in a few hours. I do caution though that this is not a sweet, sappy, or even happy Christmas book. The truth is, the only real "Christmas" thing about the book is it is placed during this season.

No, in fact, it is a sad book and reminds the reader that even though there may be a holiday in the mix of things, that life and death still go on. It reminds to be grateful for life and to live in the "present" and to enjoy it as it is now.

It also reminds
❀ Susan G
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
This was a quick but melancholy Christmas read telling the story of a young mom saying good bye to her family. It is a sad tale of a family struggling with loss over the holidays. It makes readers stop and think of others who may have experienced loss during the Christmas season while others celebrate.
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So maybe not the best book to read during the holiday the summary first and don’t let the title fool you.
Abby Brown
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
This in not a lighthearted Christmas novel. A good story but very sad
Dec 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
This was a disappointing audiobook. The reader's voice was annoying, the plot was depressing and tedius; the elements seemed to be much too loosely joined. The characters were cardboard, and their actions not realistic. ...more
Jan 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is a poignant reminder of the brevity and preciousness of life.
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
If you're looking for a Christmas book filled with good cheer and happy tidings, Christmas, Present by Jacquelyn Mitchard is NOT for you. Reading the premise from the back cover promises that" a family comes together during the holiday season as they learn a powerful lesson about love and how to live each day of their lives as if it were their last." This is NOT a happy story, while there might be a message tucked inside that tomorrows are never a guarantee and that we should embrace the present ...more
Nicole Smith
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas-reads
Favorite Quotes

• That was Laura, though, contradictions all over the map, fitting sweetl =y into an amiable, slightly off-center jigsaw. (p18)
• “Laura calls herself a practicing Catholic, practicing to get it right,” said Elliott (p34)
• “It is comforting, sometimes, to give up our doubts at such occasions,” said Dr. Campanile (p35)
• “In my experience the worst deaths are the deaths of those who have failed to love their lives.” (p59)
• At last, Laura asked a nurse for a sheet of plain paper and w
Angie Fehl
Dec 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Family history is explored in the course of one fateful night while Laura & Elliot Banner are out celebrating their 14th wedding anniversary. Laura starts to have intense head pain during dinner which she assumes is a migraine. Hours later, she's noticeably showing a shift in personality. Elliot, scared and concerned, quickly calls for an ambulance. Laura is rushed to the hospital where she is diagnosed with an inoperable brain blockage. She has only hours to live. Suddenly, the family is slamme ...more
Sep 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: finished, own
One of my Friends of the Library gave this to me because she knows I load up on Xmas stories before the 25th and I hadn't gotten around to reading it last year. I wanted something quick to read after I finished my last book with hours to spare before bedtime so I started it and finished it that night.
The story has little to do with Xmas, its meaning, or the holiday spirit. Its about the impending death of a woman who has a brain artery explode on Xmas eve and is told she has 12 hours to live. S
Sep 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
THE worst Christmas themed book I've ever read...a solid author, but I think she wrote this while sitting on the toilet, constipated.
Unrealistic and depressing, hurried and rather shallow, I can not in good conscience even give it away. Laura and her husband have celebrated her anniversary in Boston and on their way home the car stalls out and she has an aneurism burst in her brain.
Twelve hours to live, to say goodbye, do Christmas shopping (via her brother), and remain level-headed for her
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
It started off interesting but somewhere along the way, I lost momentum. Maybe it was the self-absorption of the daughters or Laura's mother who dragged things down by her insistence on having things just so. Laura was bigger than life and meant a lot of things to various family members but the story focused more on the passing than on the rest of the family healing from their loss. I would have liked to have seen the entire family grow and change instead of seeing snippets. ...more
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is not Mitchard's best book. The Deep End of the Ocean made her famous via Oprah's book club. Her following books never impressed me as much as this one. Although as the title implies, is set at Christmas time, it is not a Christmas story. It could have been set at Easter time or any other time. ...more
Mary Kinnick
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this book and enjoyed it. But I made the mistake of taking it to book club as one of my favorite reads and never got it back. It was a hit. I learned my lesson and purchased the e-version. Now I can read it over and over again. It's not very long but sometimes, you need to get swept up in a story and have a good cry. ...more
Dec 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: christmas, dec-20
A short story, detailing the very quick illness that began with a headache. Two days before Christmas, on their 14th anniversary, all Elliot can think of is how he wished he would've celebrated every anniversary like it was their last, not waiting until a 'special' date came along. This isn't a happy Christmas story if that's what you're looking for, but it is well told. ...more
Kitty Tomlinson
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it
A married couple out just days before Christmas is fractured by a headache that turns out to be more than a suspected migraine. Touching book which reminds us all to be grateful for what and who we have in our lives. Sad but makes you think.
Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Although this book was on the sad side, it reminded me to enjoy each moment. It made me stop and think about how precious my family is - especially at a time when we are all so busy.

Since this book was so short, some of it felt rushed and the ending came a little too fast.
Edwina Callan
A sad little tale about dying.
Didn't love it, but, didn't hate it.
I did find it somewhat unrealistic ... who would send their husband out in a snow storm to buy a bunch of assorted cards after they were told they had only 8 to 12 hours left to live?
Lisa Lou
Apparently I read this book 13 Christmas seasons ago but do not recall the story. Maybe the reason I didn’t want to remember this story was because it was so sad and depressing. Not an uplifting, joyful Christmas read but I can understand the sentiment it may hold for some.
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was pretty good. It is a very short book and a quick read. It really makes you think about how you value you life and all the things you have in it. It is an emotion trauma. This book is a feel good book, but it will also make you wanna cry. If you are looking for a quick seasonal read, I would most definitely recommend this book. I hope you enjoy "Christmas, Present" by Jacquelyn Mitchard as much as I did. ...more
Kim Goff
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Not the best book I've read this year but s nice reminder to cherish every minut. I listened to the audio book but would have rather read it...the voice and emotion portrayed by the author was horrid. ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
Ugh. I DO NOT recommend Christmas, Present by Jacquelyn Mitchard. It doesn’t matter what the present is at the end of the book. The book was so unexplicably sad and crushing. I can’t get over it. The details, oh my.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it
average read. will be reviewing for
Sandy Clifton
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
#2 of my “Hallmark movie” Christmas books. A quick read — sad but sweet.
Dec 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Short little novel about a family whose matriarch develops a brain aneurysm.
Dec 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xmas-stories
A very short story. It was a cute easy read.
Rebecca Dougherty
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Geesh, pretty depressing for Christmas, but I appreciated this quick read.
May 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Totally depressing.
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Jacquelyn Mitchard’s first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was named by USA Today as one of the ten most influential books of the past 25 years – second only to the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (but second by a long shot, it must be said.)

The Deep End of the Ocean was chosen as the first novel in the book club made famous by the TV host Oprah Winfrey, and transformed into a feature film p

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