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Keeping Christmas: A Novel

Keeping Christmas: A Novel

4.5 18
by Dan Walsh

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Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Unfinished Gift and The Restoration Series with Gary Smalley. He has won three Carol Awards, and three of his novels were finalists for the RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for twenty-five


Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Unfinished Gift and The Restoration Series with Gary Smalley. He has won three Carol Awards, and three of his novels were finalists for the RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for twenty-five years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel. Learn more at www.danwalshbooks.com.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Judith Winters has spent years dedicating herself to her family. Imagine her surprise, and dismay, when her three children call to say they won't be home for Thanksgiving…or Christmas. A deep depression soon sets in. Christmas has always been one of Judith's favorite holidays, but even decorating the house seems like a wasted effort this year. It is through the selfless act of a loved one that Judith learns that she is appreciated more than she could ever have imagined, and soon she is able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. VERDICT Walsh ("Restoration" series) is a talented writer. Centered on a tough topic, his novel will appeal to empty nesters dealing with the same pain Judith endures. Fans of Tricia Goyer, Eva Marie Everson, and Harry Kraus will also be drawn to this title.

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Baker Publishing Group
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5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)

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Meet the Author

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Restoration Series with Gary Smalley, as well as The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery, and The Reunion. He has won three Carol Awards, and three of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews's Inspirational Book of the Year. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for twenty-five years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel. Learn more at www.danwalshbooks.com.

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Keeping Christmas: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous 26 days ago
Definitely could be made into a Hallmark Christmas movie! Loved every chapter...
SarahSundin More than 1 year ago
Keeping Christmas tells a touching story of a couple dealing with the painful changes of life, and how they find hope in friendships and each other. As always, Dan Walsh portrays characters who feel like friends, and the moving ending may make you reach for tissues! An excellent read, especially for those facing the empty nest.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
In this Christmas story we meet Stan and Judith, empty nesters. The story starts with Thanksgiving and the fact that none of the children and grandchildren are able to make it home for the holidays and they will not be able to get there for Christmas either. Judith takes this very hard. She does not want to decorate the house or do any Christmas type activities. Stan, on the other hand, goes about business as usual and is puzzled with the way Judith is acting. Being in that same age bracket, I can really understand what Judith is going through, but I did not like the way she responded. This story shows how love will help you make the decisions necessary for those you care about. There is also mention of church and the true reason for the season but it is not overly preachy. There are some solutions at the end of the story about overcoming empty nest syndrome but I wish there had been more. I did enjoy the story and the happy ending certainly saved the book for me. It was a quick read that really showed how families are becoming strangers to one another (electronics, other interests etc.) and that we need to make an effort if we want those family bonds to remain and become stronger. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Fitzysmom More than 1 year ago
Empty-nesters be forewarned . . . this is an emotional story targeted right at you! I've read many of Dan Walsh's books so I knew that this would be a book that would stir my heart and most likely bring me to tears. It did. What I wasn't prepared for was the stepping on my toes! Stan and Judith are empty-nesters and for the most part they are okay with that. Until this year. This is the first year that none of their grown children or grandchildren would have a seat at their Thanksgiving table. To make matters worse they have already stated that they would also not be home for Christmas. If you've never experienced this feeling, trust me it's hard. What is a person to do when all the family traditions are turned on their heads? Dan Walsh does a masterful job of depicting the emptiness you feel when the kids move on. I found myself empathizing with Judith and her helplessness in getting out of the slump that she found herself in. Poor Stan. What's a guy to do when his wife feels as if everything she's done suddenly doesn't matter? It was so interesting to see the story play out from both of their perspectives. In my opinion you can't go wrong with a Christmas novella from Dan Walsh. It is sure to make you ponder your own life and then sigh with contentment when you close the cover. Be sure to pick this one up for yourself or a friend this holiday season. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
BookReviewerNicole More than 1 year ago
_______________________________________________ *My Thoughts* Keeping Christmas is a gift to readers, it truly is. One reviewer put it this way: "An Ending as Feel Good Cozy as a Yule log". I could not agree more! This is an empty nest story. You know the drill...the kids move out, the father makes the most of it by doing everything he couldn't do when the kids were home, the mother slips into a sort of depression remembering the days when they were a family under one roof. It's sad, and it makes the reader feel the mother's sense of heartbreak from the beginning yet they still understand the man's point of view. It's one of those stories that you feel everything from beginning to end. This is one of those stories and yet it is so much more! I am an avid crafter so when Judith started her little hobby to keep her mind occupied, it had me jumping with joy but still, something was missing. I found Stan quite admirable and found myself gushing over his attempts at giving his wife a special Christmas. He truly tried to understand and when he finally got it, I was sighing with relief and shaking with excitement at what I was sure was coming. I was not disappointed! Dan took an ordinary story and turned it into something that feels like magic! It was a beautiful story and left me sighing with happiness. And yes, dear reader, this book is every bit as warm as that simple, aw-inspiring cover. ____________________________________________________ *My overall thoughts* Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh is such a perfect family Christmas story! Beautiful outside and in, this book will leave you with the yule tide warmth you love. _______________________________________________________ *My Rating* I give Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh... 5 stars!! *I received this book from the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review, which I have given. All thoughts were my own and I was not compensated in any other way.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This is a sweet Christmas story. Judith and Stan are now empty nesters and none of their children are able to make it home for Thanksgiving or for Christmas. This puts Judith in a bad funk. She doesn't know how to handle having no children at home any more. Stan doesn't know what to do. Stan and Judith's friends try to cheer her up with different ideas to do. I really enjoyed this story. I received this book from Revell reads for a fair and honest opinion.
Moonpie72 More than 1 year ago
The subject of this book is one that is very unique and that I have not seen addressed before: the empty nest and holiday traditions. Judith Winter is very disappointed. Her whole life has been her family, and holidays are especially meaningful since the have all married and moved away. Due to finances none were able to be there for Thanksgiving and called to say they won’t make it Christmas either. Judith falls into a deep depression and feels there is no reason to keep any of the family traditions with no children or grandchildren coming. Her husband Stan does everything he can think of to cheer her up. He even enlists her best friend to help. Nothing works. He tries to recreate their old traditions together, but that just seems to stir more pain in seeing other families together. I know holidays can be a painful time for many. At first I got really aggravated with Judith for being so selfish and having a pity party. Then as I continued to read, I realized we don’t always choose depression and sometimes it is hard to find our way out. I guess I was aggravated because she had her husband with her still, and mine died 2 years ago. When the kids couldn’t always be there, we had each other. Stan is a jewel of a husband. He doesn’t become irritated with her for her attitude. Quite the contrary he is very concerned and wants to help but not in a pushy, “snap out of it” way. You will be surprised at the courage he shows and the sacrifice he makes to make his wife happy. Have Kleenexes on hand! A remarkable book! It will bring a smile to those facing the changes that come with an empty nest, and give insight and understanding to children who have not yet experienced. This book stays in my personal library! I received a copy of this book free from Revell Publishers . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Blooming-with-Books More than 1 year ago
Keeping Christmas By Dan Walsh Dan Walsh is superb when it comes to delving into the heart of the family and Keeping Christmas is no exception. The Winters family has just spent its first Thanksgiving with the kids all grown and away from home. A two person Thanksgiving is not Judith's ideal holiday celebration and Christmas is promising to be the same. With just her semi-retired husband Stan around, Judith can't seem to find any holiday joy this year. Her decorating was always shared with the kids and grand-kids, but this year it is just her. Judith's depression has Stan worried, but he comes up with the perfect present to help her. Keeping Christmas examines and celebrates family and the love that they share. Often what we have is enjoyed, but until it is no longer a certainty in our life we often do not fully appreciate what we have. Keeping Christmas takes us from Thanksgiving to Christmas. All too often there are those around us and in our daily life who struggle with Christmas, not because they hate Christmas but rather because they miss what they once had. This is a lovely and touching story that you'll want to share with friends and family. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher, Revell, in exchange for my honest review.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Dan Walsh in his new book, “Keeping Christmas” published by Revell takes us into the lives of Judith and Stan Winters. From the Back Cover: Nothing is more beautiful than family For the first time since their children were born, empty nesters Judith and Stan Winters spent Thanksgiving without the kids, and it’s looking like Christmas will be the same. Judith can’t bring herself to even start decorating for the holiday; her kids always hung the first ornaments on the tree, ornaments they had made each year since they were toddlers. Sure, the ornaments were strange-looking–some were downright ugly–but they were tradition. With Judith refusing to decorate the bare spruce tree in their living room, Stan’s only hope for saving the holiday is found in a box of handmade ornaments . . Without any doubt Dan Walsh is one of the best writers out there. He consistently writes books that go right to the heart, have wonderful characters that deal with issues that affect all of us. “Keeping Christmas” is no exception. “Keeping Christmas” is all about a family. Judith and Stan Winters are empty nesters and this is the first Christmas that they will be without any of the children. Judith was able to survive not having them for Thanksgiving but not having them for Christmas is hitting her hard. So Stan comes up with a way to boost his wife’s spirits. Christmas is a time when we are supposed to be out celebrating, giving gifts and receiving gifts and all those parties. That is all well and good but there is a significant number of people out there that do not do any of those things and Christmas isn’t easy for them. Mr. Walsh gives us a great story and shows us how these individuals can be touched. This is a wonderful book that shows the power of God to heal and restore. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
JuneMJ More than 1 year ago
Oh, how I enjoyed the warmth and caring concern that permeated this story! Stan and Judith Winters have been married for forty years, and this is the first year all three of their children (and their spouses) and grandchildren will not be coming home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Judith is depressed, and nothing can shake her out of her gloomy mood. Even though he misses his children and grandchildren, Stan is admittedly 'clueless' about understanding how deeply and why this situation is affecting Judith's traditional love of everything Christmas. Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, he tries everything he can think of to bring his wife out of her funk. He even gets some coaching from Judith's best friend, Betty. Much to his surprise (and frustration), nothing seems to work! Betty does her best to get Judith involved in something--anything--that will bring the sparkle back into her friend's eyes. Finally, a visit to a craft shop inspires Betty to approach the shop's owner. A plan is hatched to engage Judith to teach some mother/daughter craft classes where the attendees will learn how to make some simple Christmas ornaments. {Note: Since I love all things handmade, I particularly enjoyed this theme in the story. Families gathering together to make something pretty to decorate their home or to give to someone special.} Stan's love and concern for his wife were well portrayed by the author. Mr. Walsh's heartfelt glimpse into the changes a couple experiences in the various stages of their married life was realistic and handled with care. Many surprises and selfless acts of kindness are revealed in the final few chapters, but you'll have to read the book to discover how Stan comes through to be my hero of the story! I highly recommend this book to fans of holiday fiction, inspirational fiction, and family sagas. I believe this would be an excellent read aloud book for families with children ages six and up. ________________________________________ NOTE FROM REVIEWER: I received a free hardcover copy of this book from Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. I was not compensated to post this review here or on any other site.
Britney_Adams More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this nostalgic Christmas story! Empty nesters Stan and Judith Winters are well-crafted characters and their thoughts and emotions feel very true-to-life as they spend their first Thanksgiving without their children and grandchildren. When it looks like Christmas will find their nest empty as well, Judith becomes despondent over the traditions she and her family will miss. The holidays are a difficult time for many people and this story is filled with realistic moments as Judith experiences disappointment and discouragement. However, it is also a tale filled with tender, heartwarming moments that made me smile, and I loved the emotional conclusion. Keeping Christmas is a meaningful story that tugged at my heartstrings! I received a complimentary copy of this story in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts expressed are my own.
LovenGod More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much, my heart felt the pain Judith was experiencing. I loved reading about the tradition of making the ornaments. The faith message in this book was very subtle, and not overbearingly religious. God is mentioned, church attendance and messages failed to cheer up Judith as she struggled with holiday depression. I enjoyed the story and think it is an important reminder to all, that depression is a major issue for some during the holidays. Be thoughtful of that. 4 stars for a very well written story. This book was provided for review purposes only, no payment was received for this review.
ksnapier475 More than 1 year ago
Dan Walsh has written another book that will put the reader into the Christmas spirit. This is not a long book but it will touch the heart in a large way with hope and joy. The Winters' holiday time is going to be very empty. None of the family, including the children are going to come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Both Stan and Judith feel this, but Judy feels it a little more. Now they need to figure out how to find the Christmas spirit without the usual dimension of family. This story hit home as I love to have my family at my home for Christmas but I live the farthest away from my siblings and my daughter is in California. Praise God that we still have our father-in-law's house to meet in along with our son. But I do understand the depression surrounding this time of the year. Dan Walsh was able to meet this head-on in a way that would be helpful for all family members. I was given this book by Revell Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
Bookworm_Debbie More than 1 year ago
This is a new Christmas favorite! I absolutely LOVE this story! The main characters are some of the most well written ones I’ve ever met. I felt an almost immediate connection especially with Judith. My heart was breaking for her throughout most of the story. There were some wonderful discussion about how disappointments in how family relationships can develop. They can affect people for the rest of their lives. This is so much a part of life for everyone. I found the way it was handled and how close friends stepped in to help very encouraging. We can all learn something from this wonderfully heart-warming story. I may very well find myself re-reading this book every year. This story would make a great Christmas movie. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
The empty nest syndrome hits Judith Winters hard this years, Stan and her first Thanksgiving that they have been alone since they had children. Now a call of all three of her children informs her that they cannot make it home for Christmas. The story revolves around the reminiscing of past holiday season moments, remembering how each year she helped the children make new ornaments for their tree, and how they are in a box marked Ugly Ornaments. The story tells about the ornaments and how the family jokes and cherishes these, to the point that Judith can’t stop mourning and put them on the tree. A fun Christmas read and one that makes you keep turning to find out all that is happening here. It almost felt like I was reading an O. Henry, and hoping it wouldn’t end up like that one did. This one would make a great holiday movie, and I recommend this sweet read. I received this book through Revell Reads Blogger Tour, and was not required to give a positive review
tmurrell2 More than 1 year ago
Stan can't seem to get his wife, Judith, out of her depression. She's lived for her children and grandchildren. When they weren't able to come home for Thanksgiving she didn't know what to do. So she puts off putting out the Christmas decorations, since that is what they've always helped her with. But when she learns they can't afford to come home for Christmas either, she sinks into a depression. Stan doesn't understand, but loves his wife and will do anything to help her feel okay again. There isn't anything dramatic or suspenseful about the story. The reader knows almost immediately what is going to happen in the end. From there it's just reading how the characters arrived at the main point. As a person who suffers from depression, I didn't feel like that aspect of the story was portrayed correctly. I really liked Stan, the husband. But I couldn't connect with any of the other characters. The story has the elements to be a feel good, heartwarming Christmas story. It has a fairy tale ending and some sweet family moments. Overall, I enjoyed parts of the story while reading, but didn't love it enough to keep the book or recommend it to anyone else. I received this book free of charge from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.
StacyA64 More than 1 year ago
Judith is a middle-aged woman who has just experienced her first Thanksgiving with none of her children or grandchildren there. Christmas is coming and it’s going to be the same story. Judith is not taking it well. She’s not sure she can handle another holiday meal where the only sound is her husband’s horrendously loud chewing! Dan Walsh’s new book, Keeping Christmas, grabbed me right from the start. It was just a couple of years ago that I experienced a very similar Christmas. I didn’t take it well, either. Aside from just missing her family, Judith is facing a couple of other facts. One, it’s pretty boring at the dinner table with just her husband for company and two, she has no idea what to do with herself after a lifetime of devoting herself to her family. A family that is no longer there. As Judith slips into a deep funk, her husband and best friend get to work trying to pull her out of it and cheer her up. They cajole her into attending Christmas events that she’d loved in past years. It doesn’t help as all Judith sees is happy families all together which reminds her that her family is not together. Of course, in the end husband Stan, whose attempts to cheer Judith have been bumbling at best, comes through in a most amazing way. Any woman who has experienced the shock of the first empty-nest Christmas or who sees it looming in her future will appreciate this story. The book is a quick, easy and enjoyable read.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh is his Christmas book for 2015. Judith Winters is in a funk. She just experienced her first Thanksgiving without her children or grandchildren. She is used to having them around, but now they have all moved away. Judith just found out that none of them will be coming for Christmas. Her normal tradition for Black Friday is to decorate the house in the morning and the tree in the afternoon (with the help of her children and grandkids). This year she just does not want to do it. Her husband spends the day after Thanksgiving fishing for bass with his friend, Barney and then he comes home to a lunch of leftover turkey. He puts the tree up and gets out the decorations for the tree. Stan (her husband) then heads to Big Bass Pro to take advantage of the deals (so helpful). He arrives home at lunch to find none of the decorations up. He does not understand his wife’s attitude (he actually enjoyed the quiet Thanksgiving). He proceeds with his plans completely oblivious excited to check out some great equipment that he and Barney would like to get for the new boat they are planning to get. Judith’s funk is just getting worse. She feels like her life is meaningless without her family around. She said that she is not a mother or grandmother anymore (that did not make sense). Her friend, Betty (Barney’s wife) tries to cheer her up. Slowly Stan notices that his wife is not improving. He tries to get her interested in a new hobby, helps her decorate for Christmas, and takes her out to eat. Betty gets Judith involved in starting a create-an-ornament class for mother and daughters at the local craft store (they sell ornaments and materials). Stan talks to each of his children to see if they can come home. None of them have the extra money to pay for airfare. Stan knows he is going to have to do something drastic to help his wife. I found Keeping Christmas to be extremely depressing. This book put me in a funk! Dan Walsh has a great writing style, but I just did not enjoy the book. I was hoping there would be a good lesson on getting pasty empty nest syndrome and not relying on your children to define you as a person. There is a little at the end as Judith tries some techniques she read about in a magazine, but overall I was disappointed with Keeping Christmas. This book definitely did not put me in the mood for Christmas (I am actually glad Christmas is still a few months away). The ending was predictable. You know what is going to happen from early in the book. I received a complimentary copy of Keeping Christmas from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my won.