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The Christmas Box Hardcover – November 2, 1995

296 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Richard Paul Evans originally wrote The Christmas Box as an expression of love for his two daughters, never intending for it to be published. Many Christmas seasons (and a rich publishing contract) later, this touching tale relates the meaning of Christmas in a profound but simple way. Rick, Keri, and their 4-year-old daughter, Jenna, are hired as caretakers and are welcomed into the home of Mary, an ailing widow, just in time for the holidays. Before long, it becomes apparent that Mary cherishes their companionship, and this young family begins to understand that their relationship to Mary is more special than any one of them could have realized. These tender relationships, fraught with real-life struggles, are the backdrop for unraveling a mysterious secret that gently propels the reader through this short story. Unlike most generic Christmas stories, Evans manages to bypass triviality, imbedding these pages with humble truth and emotion. This tiny treasure will cause you to rejoice in the blessings of the season while stirring up a childlike vigor as old profundity is revealed anew. In a season often shrouded in selfishness and materialism, Evans reminds the reader that the only way that we can genuinely love one another is by accepting the greatest gift of love ever given--that of a Father who "so loved His children that He sent His son, that we might someday return to Him." --Jill Heatherly

From Publishers Weekly

Self-published in paperback during the Christmas season 1994, Evans's first novel quickly gained national media attention. Now the cleverly told tale, which the author reputedly wrote for his daughters and which revels in sentimentality, is available in hardcover. The story relates how a young couple, Richard (who narrates) and Keri, accept a position to care for a lonely widow, Mary Parkin, in her spacious Victorian mansion. As Christmas draws near, Mary becomes anxious about Richard's obsession with success and his failure to make time for his family. She urges him to reconsider his priorities, but he is always too busy to heed her advice. It is only when Mary is on her deathbed and her secret sorrow is revealed through the letter-laden Christmas box of the title that Richard realizes what she has been trying to tell him. The message concerns love, of course, and the strings Evans pulls to vivify it should squeeze sobs from even the stoniest of hearts. It's notable, however, that unlike many well-known Christmas tales (such as Dickens's), which carry that message in a basically nonsectarian manner, this is steeped in specific Christian imagery and belief as the author draws on the drama of Jesus as God's sacrifice for the world's sins, and of his crucifixion and resurrection. 750,000 first printing; BOMC, QPB, BOMC Homestyle Book Club, BOMC Craft Books Club, BOMC Children's Book Club alternates; simultaneous S & S audio and S & S Libros En Espanol edition; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (November 2, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684814994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684814995
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (296 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #522,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Robin on December 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Thirty minutes ago, I finished reading this to my children (all in one sitting!) My four-yr-old fell asleep, but the other two kids kept telling me "Just one more chapter!" During the last chapter or two, we all started crying and couldn't stop. At times, I could barely read the words through my sobbing. It is such a POWERFUL story of love. Even though young children may get bored with the first few chapters, keep reading with them. By the end of the fourth chapter, they will be begging you not to stop reading. They have asked me to buy them each a book of their own. I plan to do so, so that they may share this beautiful story someday with their own children. I'm sure that my family now has a new Christmas tradition: reading aloud "The Christmas Box."
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is a "must read" for any parent, grand-parent, sibling, aunt, or uncle who has experienced the death of a child. One of my children died earlier this year, so my reason for reading the book may be different from other readers. While the book was sad, it was also filled with hope - hope that survives the separation of a parent and child, hope that never wanes or forgets! The story may be simple and short, but it is an enduring testimony (both personal to the author and for his fictional characters) of enduring love!
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on January 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I had enjoyed the tv movie of this with Richard Thomas and Maureen O'Hara, but never liking to read a book once I've seen the movie, I avoided picking this one up. Surprisingly, I won it while playing 'Dirty Santa' at a neighborhood party and felt compelled to read it. What a treat! This is one of the most heartwarming stories and probably the best by the wonderful Richard Paul Evans. Readers will be enchanted by the story of the young father who with his wife and daughter take up residence with an elderly lady in order to make ends meet. Instead of mere companions and housekeepers to the woman, they become dear and trusted friends. They, like the reader, are mystified by her past and want to know more about the Christmas box in the attic and the secret of the letters it holds.
This book answers the profound question, 'What is the first gift of Christmas.' As every parent knows, it is a parent's love for a child and without being overly sappy on the religion angle, this book beautifully illustrates God's love for His children in sending His Son.
Speaking directly to parents who have lost children, this book will appeal to everyone who believes in Christmas and the importance of cherishing family. For an uplifting renewal of your committment to yourself and to your family, read this book.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jay on December 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful little story that is just the right length to read in a single sitting. That is what I did, and then I went back and read it again. The message of the story is two-fold. First, to remind us that the first Christmas gift ever given was not wrapped up and placed underneath a tree, it had nothing to do with St. Nicholas, but it was placed in a box. That gift was the Son of God that He gave to us because he loved us so much. God knew what was going to happen to his son, but he gave him to us anyway so that we would be saved from the devil. The second lesson was learned by the father in this story - to spend less time at the office and more with his family.
There were times when I had to wipe away the tears while reading this book. It really is very touching to see how an old woman adopts the family she has hired to take care of her aging mansion. In return, they grow quite fond of her and share many things with her. She shares her Christmas Box however and reminds the family what the true meaning of Christmas is.
Why 5 stars?:
A very touching tale to remind everyone what the true meaning of Christmas: because God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that all who believe in him may not perish, but have eternal life. The tale is just the right length - easily read in one or two sittings. The lessons apply to all seasons and this book should be read all year round, not just at Christmas time.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Tianne Pierce on April 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not one for emotional literary melodrama and I've come across two reactions (mainly) to this book. Either one loves it and it brings a charming nostalgia or it is taken as a cheesy attempt at capturing Christmas via the tale of a bereft widow. Set in Salt Lake City, a family with young children moves into a quaint Victorian home (the likes of which I've never seen in dreary and overly suburbian Salt Lake) to care for an elderly widow, and discover this heartwarming old woman lost a child as a young wife. From there, the story loosely ties to the idea of life after death and how to heal through your grief of losing a loved one and how to appreciate your family while you have them. These are all appealing themes but I found this book to be quite commercial and a little too Disney meets the Lifetime channel. If you're into sappy books with overtly Christian themes this might be a good read. Otherwise, stick to Dickens for Christmas family narratives.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jody Maier "bookie" on December 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Jody Maier, Riverfront Book Club, Yonkers, New York

The Christmas Box was the December selection for the Riverfront Book Club. Richard Paul Evans writes a modern allegorical story in an empathic and sensitive prose style that appeals to a wide audience of readers. This touching story's central message of parental love is expressed through Christian imagery of God sending Jesus to live in the world. But one does not have to be Christian to appreciate the sequence of mysterious events that lead the main character to a transforming experience in which he is called to reorder his priorities.
Our group concluded that the popularity of this author's books, comes from the intense emotional impact they have on the reader and the desire of the reader to seek refuge from the anxiety, fears, and uncertainites of modern living. Mr. Evans has an ability to express human emotions and vunerabilities in ways that are understandable and accessible to the reader.
This book has become a Christmas classic because it is not rooted in fantasy, but instead in a realistic portrayal of the human quest for hope, connection, and fulfillment.
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