The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle

The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle

by Joanne Huist Smith

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553418552
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 10/28/2014
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 11,143
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Joanne Huist Smith is a native of Dayton, OH. She earned a bachelor's degree in English at Wright State University and worked as a reporter for the Dayton Daily News. She is the mother of three and grandmother of two.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The 13th Gift"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Joanne Huist Smith.
Excerpted by permission of Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
GreatoneKU More than 1 year ago
Seldom do you learn how hard it is for a young mother with three young children who has just lost her husband, especially when it is just  before Christmas, to cope with all the seasonal happiness and  keep up with her work duties and family duties. The loss has to be greater than most of us realize. Joanne Huist Smith has captured the reality of it all in her unique Chistmas story that puts everything in perspective. We laugh and cry with her and suspensefully wait for each new gift left on the family's front porch. It will capture your heart and let you see how people can help and hinder one another. The blessings of one can help heal the loss of another. A true Christmas is one of sharing and caring.  Don't miss this one. It's a keeper. One to read and pass on to someone else you know. Let the chain of goodwill live on...Thanks Joanne. 
JLLloyd More than 1 year ago
This book was a nice holiday read for my book club. I thought it may be too sad for this time of year but it wasn't. I'm not sure the odd (I thought) gifts would have had the same affect on me but whatever works for a family in need . . . it had the desired outcome.
Judeyblu More than 1 year ago
Review: The 13th Gift (Smith ISBN 978-0-553-41855-2) October 2014 This book is packaged like a holiday chicklit novel, but is actually a true story of a grieving family machining it through the first Christmas after the death of their father/husband. The author is a reporter in Dayton Ohio, and her skill at developing a story and sprinkling in just enough detail to make it authentic is noticeable and appreciated. After reading the book I found myself wanting to know more, so went against my usual habit and read the afterward, too, to find out what happened next. I suggest this as a holiday endcap title in a bookstore, a church book club title, and even as a gift to an older teen. Use it to open discussions: how can we look up out of our own pain, life, habits, routine, and find a way to help others? Even a small, thoughtful act done with love can make a big impact on others. (This title was provided in exchange for a fair and honest review.)
Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
Just about everyone has heard of the Secret Santa tradition. One where we get together. give gifts anonymously, and throw an office party. But this Secret Santa was something really special and very unique. They reached out to a family falling apart. A family that didnt seem like it was going to survive through the Christmas season without some very serious emotional fallout. When gifts start showing up at their doorstep (along with cute little verses that I lvoed), the mom is initially quite upset. Upset in a way that I really didn't understand until about half way through the story. These gifts from strangers brought a holiday to her that she was trying desperately to erase from her life. A holiday that brought so many bittersweet memories with it. Thankfully, her youngest won't let her throw the gifts away, and even manages to make a game of trying to catch Santa in the act. Slowly but surely these gifts - one for each of the 12 days before Christmas - begin to draw the family not only into the holiday spirit, but it brings them back together. For the first time in a long time, they find themselves working on a common project - a who-dun-it (in a good way) type of mystery. In the end, things are still not normal, but the family has learned to come together to deal with all the things life throws at them. They have also built some amazing memories together that they continue to share through the years. This is what a Christmas story should be all about.*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
adpa More than 1 year ago
I love Christmas stories and that is probably why I got this book several months ago. I just got around to finally reading it and I hated to put it down. It was inspirational in that it proves how we all can help in little ways when friends (or strangers, too) have to deal with grief during holiday seasons. In this particular case, it helped the family to change focus from bottomless grief to a way to deal with upcoming Christmas and resuming life when a major life character is gone. It was an enjoyable read and I hope the inspiration lasts in me for a lifetime.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful look at the special love and miracles that a family Christmas is all about.
KDeo More than 1 year ago
Every year, I choose one book to read to put me in the holiday mood. I read this book in two days. I was grabbed from the first chapter by the events in this book. I couldn't put it down. It was excellent. I would highly recommend reading this book, not only at the holidays but all year round. It will give you ideas for acts of kindness in your own community and restore your faith in humanity, especially during the hoiday time of year which can be difficult for some people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow I loved this book such a wounderful warming feeling each page you read. This is a must read for anyone. such a true blessing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy, good book for Christmas reading.
gametime More than 1 year ago
This book is one that I will pick up every Christmas to read again. The lessons learned (for children as well as adults) would help all of us to better live together on this planet. The writing is easily read quickly and kids would benefit from this being read to/for/with them. Happy New Year, Avid Reader
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love that it's a true story...so very heartwarming. Nice to know there are such people in the world; people who will go out of their way to help brighten another' day and lighten their burden of sadness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic book of healing through the spirit of gift giving at Christmas time.I recommend this book for you as a friend to buy and give as a gift to someone who has suffered a loss.I read it and bought another for a friend .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What do you do when you've lost someone you love, and it's almost Christmas? Sometimes a little help is needed to bring you back to where you can enjoy life again. I'm glad to say that this inspiring story is true.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a great and easy read, an inspiration for everyone.
KVM 26 days ago
This is a true story and you will cry! But you will also rejoice in this wonderful, powerful story. If you think doing something nice for someone will not make a difference, if you think you have to spend a lot of money on gifts then you need to read this book. Losing a loved one anytime is hard, but to lose them so close to a holiday (especially Christmas) is beyond hard, especially when you have 3 kids. I could not put this book down, it pulled so many emotions out of me and that is what a good book is supposed to do! Thank you Joanne Huist Smith for sharing your story with us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read and story of compassion
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book
Ariesgrl More than 1 year ago
Joanne Huist Smith’s husband passed away a few months before December. Depressed and unable to participate in the Christmas cheer, her youngest of three children worries that there won’t be a Christmas this year. One night, a mysterious package arrives on the doorstep, a gift from some their True Friends. Each night, a small present arrives in tune with the classic song, “12 Days of Christmas.” The blessing she receives from her anonymous friends, allows her to come to terms with the Christmas spirit, and to not only accept happiness, but also to look forward to participating in the excitement of this holiday. Readers, especially those who have suffered loss, will be able to relate to the author’s desire to stay in bed and shun the happiness in the world. It isn’t a desire to hide from loved ones, but more a need to hide from the cheeriness of the universe. Kind of like the gift givers choosing the “12 Days of Christmas,” readers will want to take time to absorb the words and value each lesson, by reading only a chapter or two a day. This is the kind of book that helps restore the faith in humanity. Notes: This review was written for Sasee Magazine and My Sister's Books. This review was posted on the Ariesgrl Book Reviews website.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a truly unique and heart warming anytime read .
TeresaKander More than 1 year ago
This is a book that will now be one of those I read EVERY December. I've been planning to read it since it came out last year, but it got lost in the shuffle of my TBR pile, so I saved it for this Christmas season. The fact that the author is a local resident was also a drawing point for me. This book deals with a family grieving the death of their husband and father, and their first holiday season without him. It is a very touching story, and shares the true spirit of the season. The gifts that show up on the family's doorstep each day not only help them to get the holiday spirit back in their lives, they also bring the family back together. I couldn't stop reading this book, wanting to get to the next chapter to find out about the next gift. By the end, you will realize that the thirteenth gift is the most meaningful one of all. I'm going to be recommending this one to everyone, and probably gifting it to people next year.
GranbyLibraryBookClub More than 1 year ago
After the death of her husband, the author, Joanne Huist Smith struggled to stay strong for her three children. Their first Christmas after the loss would be very difficult. Twelve days before that Christmas small presents begin mysteriously appearing on their doorstep with notes from their "True Friends." These daily gifts in turn draw the family not only into the holiday spirit, but it brings them back together as a family. The book is subtitled "a true story of a Christmas miracle", with the focus of the story on the impact that human beings can make by being kind to one another. This is a nice heartwarming story of making a difference in other people's lives. Our Granby Library Book Group enjoyed "The 13th Gift" as our holiday read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a true story of one families journey from heartache to Christmas miracle. Joanne's husband passed away in the sept and she feels they're doing okay. They're functioning. In the most basic way. But with Christmas approaching, the heartache at the loss is taking a toll and the last thing she feel capable of doing is celebrate the season. As a mother, Joanne is torn between the loss of her children's father and their need for this special season to be a celebration. To make new memories more than just get through the month. She's blind to the real problems. The family is pulling apart. Then something magical happens. Twelve days before Christmas gifts start showing on her doorstop. They are simple gifts with cards signed from your True Friends. The 13th Gift is a well written book about life. The audio version couldn't have been better. My opinion, the best narrator is generally the author. In this case, there could have been no one else who would have done it justice. Would I recommend this book? I have and do. Was there anything I didn't like about the book? besides the fact that it started with a tragedy, no. I was pulled in and forgot to look, yes writers often look for issues.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jaina_ireadtilldawn More than 1 year ago
I am so jealous of the Smiths. No, wait, that came out wrong. The Smiths had a horrible, terrible thing happen to them when Mr. Smith died. Joanne is heartbroken and limp, unsure if she is even capable of continuing on without her husband. I don't envy that! But what I do envy is the joyous mystery of the Twelve Days of Christmas gifts. How exciting it would be to have a different kind gift show up on your doorstep the twelve days before Christmas! What a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit! And, of course, that's what the gifts were for. They were given because the Smiths were in mourning, and they needed some holiday cheer. And while Joanne may have begun the twelve days of Christmas covering her ears at the hint of a Christmas carol, she certainly ended them in much better shape. This book reads like fiction, and well-written fiction at that. Joanne is a reporter and you can definitely tell that she's got a way with words. She wrote this book almost fifteen years after the events it describes took place, so she had time to step back and analyze her own condition and the conditions of her three kids at the time, and portray them brutally honestly. That brings me to the children. I feel so bad for those kids! The youngest girl, Megan, was only ten when her father died. How horrible. She is actually the one who deals with it the best, though, as she gets wrapped up in the excitement of Christmas and acts as peacemaker between her mother and her oldest brother Ben. Ben was seventeen when his father died, and you can see how hard it was for him to lose his male authority figure at such a difficult time. He struggles to deal with his emotions, and (especially early in the book) winds up hurting his mother with his rebellious behavior more than he means to. Nick, the middle child, was so cute! He spent most of the book rotating between being a kid who just lost his father, and a kid who wants a new computer, a new bed, a new room, and a new video game console for Christmas. All three kids are drawn realistically with the eye for detail only a mother can furnish. A word of warning to those who want to read it for the heartwarming Christmas book that it is: there are, like, three instances of bad language in the book, all toward the beginning. I think there are two or so uses of the word "damn" and in one instance someone in the parking lot yells "a-hole" at a rude driver. I really wish she hadn't put these words in, because the book could have flowed just as well without them, and it makes me leery to wholeheartedly recommend the book to many people who would otherwise love it. Besides that, though, it's a beautiful story and a heartwarming read that I am very glad I was able to spend a few hours enjoying. If you don't mind the minor amount of language, then you should find nothing at all wrong with this story of love, loss, family, and Christmas. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago