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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch-Anderson

Talk about receiving a wonderful early Christmas gift, I just got one. I’ve been privileged to review The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch-Anderson, and it really was a treat to do so. Here is a set of messages we all need to reflect on during the Christmas seasons, presented in a sweet and endearing way.

Take a moment to view this beautiful book trailer that portrays the heart of this book’s premise and message.

Did you catch the spirit of the messages this book contains? They really are beautiful and timely. No, the basic gospel themes aren’t really all that new and original. In fact, I can guarantee you have heard them before in many different Sunday School and Relief Society lessons, but I think you’ll “listen” a little more attentively this time. There is nothing here but a sense of love and a desire for everyone to know the peace of gospel truths at Christmas, or any time of the year.

The Santa Letters are all about healing and remembering the many blessings we each enjoy, whether they readily occur to us or not. Each “Santa” letter comes with a bit of inspiration, a bit of advice on how to understand the joys of life better, a bit of the gospel, and a lot of Christ-like love. They all work together to form an uplifting experience for anyone who might be feeling a little overwhelmed. I’d put it on the must read list for most of us, if only for the letters themselves. If your children are a little bit older, The Santa Letters might also be a great read-aloud kick off for your own family’s Christmas season.

There are times when the characters feel less than real to me, and times that the writing lacks the smooth, poetic flow that I appreciate with the type of poignant message The Santa Letters contains, but all-in-all it’s a very sweet book for a first time novelist. You can find Stacey’s own account of the inspiration behind this book and sample the first chapter on her website www.thesantaletters.org. (Word to the wise, however, mute your sound while browsing. The background musical flourish was a nice touch when I opened the site but not so much after it kept repeating every few seconds!)

As many of us start to look toward finding the Christmas spirit, I pray we can take a little of The Santa Letters into our own hearts and lives. We all need more McKennas and Santas in our lives. Who can you be for someone else this year?

My suggestion: buy a bunch of copies and you’ve got an instant Christmas present appropriate for almost anyone on your list. Need to do a little more than just a book? Go through and find the topic of each letter, wrap a small gift for each topic to include with the books and instructions to read the book together, opening their own gifts after reading that specific letter. Plus, the story, “A Strange Visit” that the book mentioned being given to the family is included in the back of the book for you, as well as a few ideas for simple goodie bags. Need more help? Then visit the Santa Letter Shop on Stacy’s site. You’ll find downloadable Santa letters to start you on your way.

There. Christmas is all done. You can thank me by sending massive amounts of chocolate. Errr, maybe you should send Stacy Gooch-Anderson the chocolate instead. After all, they are her words and thoughts that can touch just about any heart.

Stacy is on virtual book tour this month, promoting The Santa Letters. You can check in on her progress and say “hi” from here.

Return to the Neighborhood


Stacy G. Anderson said...

Thanks, Alison, for taking the time to be a part of this tour and for the lovely review.

SO where do we send that chocolate? ;-)

All my best,

Alison Palmer said...

My pleasure, Stacy.

I'm thinking we'll have to have a midnight chocolate party at the next Storymakers conference!