Judith and Stan Winters have just spend their first "empty nester" Thanksgiving. Actually while their three children have been adults for quite a bit already, only recently have all left their home state of Florida. The obligatory Thanksgiving day phone calls from each child did nothing to lift Judith's mood, especially when she learned that not one of the families could make it home for Christmas either. While Stan follows his day-after Thanksgiving tradition of fishing with his buddy, Judith sits looking at the boxes of decorations he has taken down for her. Her depressing funk only deepens as she thinks of decorating the house alone. One thing she knows; she will never be able to hang those special handmade ornaments, the ones made by her children when they were little, the ones Stan has always called the uglies.
It's December 20th as I write this review, and almost all of us are in the midst of those holiday traditions we hold dear. Anyone who has faced having significant changes in what seems to be the only way to celebrate Christmas will feel an immediate connection with Judith. Perhaps we've handled the change better than Judith does, but certainly we can empathize with her. And that Stan, one of those guys well settled into his routines -- fishing with a best bud, dinner on time, etc., is wise enough to notice his wife's pain is a wonder to behold. KEEPING CHRISTMAS is just over 200 pages so it will be a quick, entertaining read. I make it a point to read a few Christmas novels each season and Dan Walsh had delivered another one that touched me. I received a copy of this book from Revell for my honest opinion.
Christmas for our extended family won't be on Christmas Day, but we will be together soon after. That we had a Thanksgiving Day with everyone here, including all 6 grandchildren was a true delight. My dad died this past April at age 96 and that has brought another one of those life changes that seem so much stronger at the holiday time. Today had me looking at my parents' old photo albums searching for a certain photo. What I found were decades of family Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthday celebrations. I could almost taste my great aunt's famous Parker House rolls, Mom's wonderful sugar cookies and angel food cakes (from scratch), and that glossy fudge. And the smiles on our faces. What a joy to have been able to "keep Christmas" with these people.