Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

I think it is safe to say that for many of us, this Christmas was anything but ordinary. My Christmas traditions usually consist of traveling home to see my parents, attending Christmas Eve church services, and celebrating the evening and following day with a large family gathering. Thanks to COVID-19, this was the first Christmas that I spent away from my family. There was no traveling, and holding our usual party was simply out of the question. Still, we managed to find ways of adapting our traditions to adhere to this new normal. Instead of attending church together, I watched it virtually. Instead of gathering around the Christmas tree to unwrap presents, we shipped gifts to each other and opened them during a FaceTime call. Fortunately, one of my personal traditions stayed exactly the same. As Christmas Eve turned to Christmas morning, I stayed awake, reading the final pages of a good book. 

When John Grisham, known more for his legal thrillers than Holiday-themed fare, published Skipping Christmas back in 2001, the idea of foregoing the holiday probably sounded absurd. In fact, Luther Krank's money-saving scheme of taking a cruise instead of practicing the family Christmas traditions raised ire and disbelief across his entire neighborhood. Krank did little to appease his community perception as a modern-day Ebenezer Scrooge. In fact, he relished in the opportunity to smugly rub his nonconformity in everyone's face. As such, he isn't the most likable character. But like the aforementioned Scrooge, Krank goes through a transformation. Through the power of a community coming together to bring the spirit of the season to an outsider, Luther Krank embraces that Christmas magic and learns to appreciate the smaller wonders of the holiday. 

I've read this book before, but this year saw the novel take on a deeper meaning for me. Sure, you'll have to overlook the unlikable main character and the all too convenient plotting, but there is something to be said about the idea of skipping Christmas this year. While we didn't skip our observance of the holiday, the way in which we approached it was vastly different. I think that Skipping Christmas mirrors our reality in some ways. How easy would it have been for us to simply put a halt to our celebration? In a year that has seen so much tragedy and despair, I'll admit that it felt a bit silly falling into the commercialism of decorating my home and buying gifts. But those are just trivial parts of what this season truly means. Like the neighborhood in the book, countless friends and families came together to keep the spirit of community that flows through this season alive. While 2020 certainly hasn't looked or felt like any other year that I've experienced, I'm glad that we made the effort to persevere through it all. More importantly, I'm thankful that we didn't skip Christmas. 

For more information visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads

(2020, 51)

This entry was posted on Saturday, December 26, 2020 and is filed under ,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

14 Responses to “Skipping Christmas by John Grisham”

  1. Yes, it was a very different Christmas, for sure. I love his books and was thrilled when he put this one out. It was a fun read.

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  2. I remember when this one was released, and even though I've enjoyed several by Grisham in the past, I just never got to this one. I'm glad it was an enjoyable, and timely, reread. And while Christmas certainly looked different this year in many ways, I'm so glad we found ways to adapt and adjust.

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    1. It is certainly a different take from Grisham, but it has grown to become one of my favorites.

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  3. Love this post! And I so agree about the importance of persevering this year in holding onto those things that are truly important...even if we have to find a way to do them differently. Glad you were able to make it a merry Christmas this year despite the vagaries of 2020.

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    1. Thank you! I agree that it was so important to persevere this year. Hope you had a Merry Christmas

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  4. I think I used to own this! I really need to check if I ever read it, lol

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    1. Even if you've read it before, I think it is worth a reread!

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  5. It was a different Christmas but I didn't mind the toned down holiday. This is one of those books that I have thought that I should read but just never seem to pick up. I do remember watching the movie that was based on the book, Christmas with the Kranks, years ago.

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    1. The movie is actually a pretty faithful adaptation!

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  6. We haven't done extended family holidays for a long while, so our's wasn't that different (other than church), but it sounds like you and your family made the most of it and found a way to connect despite the separation (yeah for technology). I bet it was interesting reading this book during our COVID Christmas, where the choice to be together was taken out of our hands.

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    1. It really was interesting to see someone voluntarily give up parts of the holiday when we didn't really have a choice this year.

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  7. Yep, this holiday season has definitely been different. Love the deeper message communicated by Grisham's story, and I like your tradition of reading late Christmas Eve into Christmas Morning. :)

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    1. It really is one of my favorite traditions!

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