The 13th Gift by Joanne Huist Smith

The 13th Gift - Joanne Huist Smith

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.