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The Christmas House: How One Man's Dream Changed the Way We Celebrate Christmas Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library (September 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577314743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577314745
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 9.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,812,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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As an avid reader, I am always looking for books which are well written and interesting to read.
TheComputerDoctor
In addition, The Christmas House is a poignant story of enormous dedication, creativity, resilience, forgiveness, love, and community spirit.
Janet Boyer
In The Christmas House, the profusion of illustrations enriches the story tremendously, and this is an integral part of the story itself.
Archivist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Janet Boyer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"My father was passionate about Christmas. He believed Christmas was the perfect time to celebrate all the joy that comes with living, and he did his best to spread good cheer...His zeal came from an unlikely place: the polio epidemic of 1934." - Georja Skinner

On May 22, 1934, a robust twenty-two-year old college named George Skinner was swimming laps at the Los Angeles City College pool. Reading a book at poolside, his girlfriend Allison realized that an unusual quiet had descended. She looked up from her book and was horrified to discover that George was quickly sinking to the bottom of the pool-spread-eagle, motionless, and eyes wide open.

After arriving at the Los Angeles County General Hospital, the doctor immediately recognized George's symptoms: poliomyelitis. In the early 30's many were stricken with polio and, at the time, there was no known cure or prevention for the virus. The only treatment was isolation, rest, time spent in the iron lung, and morphine to relieve the pain.

As he lay in the polio ward, George received a dire prognosis. The disease had spread through 80 percent of his body and there was a strong possibility that he would never walk again. Unable to speak, George blinked his eyes in acknowledgement as the doctor relayed the shocking news. Albert, George's talkative happy-go-lucky Dad, was stunned into silence. Because the ward was under quarantine, the hospital staff asked Albert to leave-leaving George alone.

Although George was inducted President of the Optimist Society in 1932, he still struggled with the question "Why me?" After all, he thought, I believe in God. I go to church. One minute I'm playing varsity sports, in love with my college sweetheart, and the next I'm paralyzed, on the verge of death.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Archivist on October 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The Christmas House by Georja Skinner

New World Library

In the literature that celebrates the tradition of Christmas, Clement C. Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas" and Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" stand out as enduring classics. Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales, while perhaps not as popular, continues the literary tradition of reflecting on the cultural meaning of Christmas through the eyes of the individuals who celebrate the season.

Georja Skinner's The Christmas House is a worthy successor to these perennial classics, not because it is fictional (it is not), but because it plausibly explains the origin of a very common American tradition - house decoration during the Christmas season. However, this remarkable story is far from a dry exercise in social history, for in its unobtrusive lesson about the meaning of Christmas we find both the recovery of the origin of a tradition and the reconstruction of a family's history through the historical marginalia of a personal archive.

The Christmas House is at once a search for roots, an inducement to preserve history and memory, and the fascinating re-telling of one man's struggle with a devastating disease - poliomyelitis.

The story is a simple one, simply and directly told, and that is its great strength. The author's father, George Skinner, separated from his family in Canada and resettling in California with his father Albert, contracted polio at age 22 in the epidemic that struck Los Angeles in 1934. George was hospitalized, confined at times to an iron lung that enabled him to breathe, and, greatly weakened and disabled, released to re-join his father at their Boyle Heights home in 1936. He had spent over one year recovering in the Los Angeles General Hospital.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TheComputerDoctor on November 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As an avid reader, I am always looking for books which are well written and interesting to read.

This book met all of my requirements for a great read.

Ms. Skinner presents a moving family story because she includes 'secrets' which many families try to deny or avoid discussing. Including the 'secrets' makes us see the individuals as human being with flaws who managed to succeed and help start a tradition which we all enjoy in the present day.

The enjoyment which I received from reading this book far exceeded the price of the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gnormb on November 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A charming, heart-warming, inspirational story. The world needs more stories like this - now more than ever. The world also needs more people like George Skinner, the man behind the Christmas House and Georja Skinner, the woman and gifted storyteller behind this book. I wholeheartedly recommend THE CHRISTMAS HOUSE.
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