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A Family Christmas Hardcover – October 30, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 333 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; First Edition edition (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401322271
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401322274
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kennedy, who possesses a proven track record for bringing literary anthology into the publishing mainstream, offers a potpourri of her favorite stories, poems, essays, scriptures and songs associated with the holiday season. Though David Sedaris's performance of his whimsical monologue Six to Eight Black Men provides a notable exception, the narration duties fall to a rotating cast of veteran readers. Some standout performances include Barbara Caruso's rendition of Grace Paley's The Loudest Voice, Jeff Woodman's presentation of Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory and Saidah Arrika Ekulona's brief but riveting selection from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet A. Jacobs. Some listeners might have preferred a greater proportion of contemporary recordings from their original sources. Also, some of the letters, telegrams and other correspondences are choppy relative to the overall flow of the collection, and the musical selections sometimes serve as pleasant interludes rather than stand-alone works of expression. However, in an era when Christmas has become a polarized tug-of-war between religious and secular arenas, Kennedy strikes an appealing balance that celebrates diverse perspectives. The enclosed booklet is helpful for tracking down specific material.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“If your inner Grinch still awaits transformation, look no further than Caroline Kennedy's A Family Christmas, perhaps the best compendium of holiday literature and music to ever cross this audiophile's desk. . . . this is the real deal: classic stories and favorite carols juxtaposed against witty modern essays from writers known for sentiment and not sentimentality.”
— Rochelle O'Gorman, The Plain Dealer
(Winston-Salem Journal)

“The recording succeeds in its stated aim, which is to enrich your heart and mind with the spirit of Christmas.”
—Winston-Salem Journal
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Caroline Kennedy is the editor of ten New York Times bestselling books on American history, politics, constitutional law and poetry, including She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems and A Family of Poems. She works to bring the power of the spoken work to students in New York City schools. (photo credit: Ron Howard)

Customer Reviews

This collection of stories, songs, essays and poems is great.
Amanda L. Davis
This book will be packed away with our Christmas decorations to be brought out each year to read again and again.
S. Coons
It is very well written and the illustrations are beautiful--vintage looking.
DP

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am a sucker for any good book on the holidays and how people past and present celebrate or even endure them. Unlike some books this book also has some sad parts, which remind us that not everyone has a Martha Stewart style holiday with all the trappings. But that some past and present have worried and done with little. It's one of those books that will be put on the coffee table each year to be savoured. Am so glad Truman Capote is one of those mentioned since his story A Christmas Memory has become a classic in our home. It's what makes this book A Family Christnas also special. Such a nice variety of memories from so many people. And ideas you can start to make as a tradition in your own home.
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55 of 64 people found the following review helpful By evergreenreader on November 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Caroline always has been and always will be my hero. I'll never forget the image of her and her brother at their father's funeral. At a young age Caroline learned to be brave. She could have lived the life of a socialite, but instead she has chosen a life of service and productivity. All of her books are wonderful...and this one is the best of all so far. It is one of the most diverse collection of Christmas writings that I have ever come across. The book is a delight and should be included in everyone's library. My favorite part of the book are those personal items written by her father and herself.

Also recommended:

Story of the Other Wise Man--A Christmas favorite from my childhood.

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Voices--A new Christmas favorite.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"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

Oh, how I love this book of Christmas by Caroline Kennedy. It is filled with everything Christmas. Stories written by luminaries, poems, recipes for Christmas Cake that will feed an army, pictures, Caroline's own personal Christmas stories,lyrics and Christmas traditions. And, then, of course, we can fill in our stories of Christmas.

I remember receiving my first 'bride doll' for Christmas when I was 7. She was the most beautiful of dolls, and I had written a letter to Santa Claus requesting her and nothing else. I promised to be oh, so good and to obey my parents. I realized that this doll was very expensive and that Santa might not be able to come through. And, when I found her under the tree I was estatic. I wondered later if my parents had gone without something that Christmas in order to give me that beautiful doll. When I asked my mother, she told me that my father worked several overtime shifts at the post office to be able to give my sister and me the Christmas we wanted. The true spirit of giving from my parents, and one I will never forget.

Caroline Kennedy offers a great deal of information in this beautiful book. There's also a 1961 letter from her father, President John F. Kennedy, to a Michigan girl afraid that the Russians would bomb the North Pole and harm Santa.
Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Russell on December 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I bought 2 copies: one for my Mom who is 85, and one for friend Connie who was widowed this year. I always read my gift books before I wrap them. Caroline's collection is so delightful, so comprehensive. I live alone and I find myself with tears in my eyes, or sometimes laughing out loud. She brings me so many old memories and has presented me with many new gifts, too. Please thank her for me, from the bottom of my heart.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. Coons on December 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A great book to bring back the true meaning of Christmas. This book will be packed away with our Christmas decorations to be brought out each year to read again and again.
I purchased additional books that I gave to our two sons and their families.
Steve
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A Family Christmas is the best collection of Christmas scriptures, carols, poetry, letters, anecdotes, essays, short stories, sections from novels, and true stories that I can imagine being assembled in one volume. Caroline Kennedy makes the book special by including her own and her family's experiences with Christmas to make you feel part of her family. If you want one family-oriented book to add to your Bible for considering Christmas, I recommend this one very highly.

For weeks, my wife has been telling me stories about Christmas that I had never heard before. I was very impressed. Then, I read A Family Christmas and found all of the stories here, word for word. You, too, can be a Christmas expert!

Before starting on the book, I made a mental list of my favorite writing about Christmas. Sure enough, except for including the whole beginnings of Matthew and Luke, everything was here.

The best part, however, was finding that more than half of the writing was new to me. And I liked the writing I hadn't seen before as much as what was familiar. That's nice.

Part of the charm of the book is that it includes the origins of Christmas (both reputable and disreputable) as well as our favorite fictions (such as Santa Claus). I got a big kick out of reading Macy's directions for their store Santas. I suspect you will, too.

Now, you might think that January would be a bad time to buy a book about Christmas. I think it's the best time because now you have more time to think about the spiritual meaning of the celebration which A Family Christmas will reinforce. I play Christmas carols all year around. Why not read about Christmas all year around (and sing some of the carols in the book)?

May God bless you in the name of Jesus!
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