If your Christmas already seems to be spiraling out of control into a materialistic black hole, take a quiet afternoon to sit down with "The 13th Gift" to bring it back to the true meaning of the season.
Author Joanne Huist Smith's husband died in October, and when December rolled around she wasn't much feeling like celebrating (can you blame her?). She and her three kids were keeping it together, but only just. And then, 12 days before Christmas, a poinsettia appears on their front porch with a note signed, "From your true friends." The next day another gift shows up, and on and on. These small presents (a bag of Christmas bows, three rolls of wrapping paper) don't seem like much, but they are enough to get this family back on the right track, creating new memories and a "new normal."
This was a sweet, inspiring book. My only complaint about this book is that it was too short - I felt like it could have easily had more meat to it. It's a very straightforward, easy read that most people could finish off in an afternoon (preferably curled up by a fire with a cup of hot tea). Anyone who has ever lost a family member, especially near the holidays, will understand this family's grief, and the anonymous gift givers make you believe in the goodness of humanity.
The Verdict: I give this book 4 stars out of 5. I think it could have used a little more meat, a little more detail, but its simplicity doesn't detract from the overall book.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.