The Christmas Box, by Richard Paul Evans

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans: Book CoverFinished 12-20-09, rating 3.5/5, fiction/novella, pub. 1993

“Tell us, Richard, which of the senses do you think are most affected by Christmas?” 

I looked over a t Keri.  “The taste buds,” I said flippantly.  Keri rolled her eyes.

“No.  I take it back.  I would say the sense of smell.  The smells of Christmas.  Not just the food, but everything.  I remember once, in grade school, we made Christmas ornaments by poking whole cloves into an orange.  I remember how wonderful it smelled for the entire season.  I can still smell it.  And then there’s the smell of perfumed candles, and hot wassail or creamy cocoa on a cold day.  And the pungent smell of wet leather boots after my brothers and I had gone sledding.  The smells of Christmas are the smells of childhood.”

Chapter IV

Rick, his wife and four-year old daughter move into a mansion in Salt Lake City to take care of an elderly lady, only she seems to need companionship more than anything else.  Rick is just starting a new business and spends little time at home and when he does he is distracted by work.  Mary, their host and employer, strives to show Rick what is really important.

I’m sure most people have read this.  I put out my beautiful copy every Christmas.  But here’s a confession –  while I’ve  faithfully displayed  it every year for over a decade, until today it had remained unread.  I know, I know, how is this possible?  Well, I’m really not into sugary sweet stories that try too hard and I thought this to be the case with this short book.  And then today I counted how many books I’ve read this year and discovered that I need to read four more to reach my goal of 130 by the end of the year.  So, this book was read out of necessity.

This is a sugary sweet story that tries too hard, exactly as I expected.  Only I didn’t mind.  It didn’t take more than an hour to read and it put me in the Christmas spirit.  Not the frantic wrapping/shopping kind, but the what Christmas is all about kind of spirit.  I’m ready to finish up everything I need to do this week, only I’ll do it with a lot less stress. 

I think if you have a copy in the house you should take an hour to read it again and be reminded that Christmas is what we make it.

You will choose 50 of the books I will read next year.  If you help me you could win a $20 gift card to Barnes & Noble.  Go here to vote. (Right now there is a tie for the top vote getter between A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving and She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb)