I’ve read several books by Karen and she is a talented storyteller. This one does not disappoint. Having lost my husband on Christmas, I can relate to the heartache and grief that follows. The dreading for the next Holiday as that special person is no longer there to share it with you. Especially if you’re a family that loves the traditions of Christmas.
Tina is a very likeable character and we share her struggles as she tries to help her family come back to some form of normalcy. But no matter how tragic life can get, it always moves on. And new surprises help pave the way for new traditions. If only you will let them.
This is a must read for people who love Christmas and family, and as a short story, it’s easy to read during the busiest time of the year. I give it 5 stars.

A Moving Holiday Tale
I read the original version of this book in December 2019 and enjoyed it (see review HERE). Since then, Karen has developed the story into a fuller tale that runs you through a gamut of emotions, drawing laughter and tears. When she asked if I’d edit the manuscript, I was honored.
At this cold time of year, I am always thrilled by the warmth the holiday season brings. The magic is definitely captured in the lovely moments, traditions, and recollections of the protagonist, Tina, and her loved ones. Her descriptions and relationships are relatable because they’re so universal; most of us have felt the anticipation for presents and the afterglow of a much enjoyed family meal. The details just fill me with the delights of Christmas, even when tragedy looms.
The grief and coping aspects of the story are probably the most magical for me. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Karen does a wonderful job of sharing real pain. You know it’s a happily-ever-after (that’s Karen’s style), but how they get there is another layer of holiday joy that’s well written.
I recommend this for readers who enjoy shorter holiday tales, stories of support and comfort, sister fiction, family fiction, and just a good loving tale of kindness. I liked the original, but Karen’s rewrite of this amazing story blows it out of the water!

A Great Holiday Story
This was a bit of a surprise. I had no idea what this story was going to be about.
We had a year when my husband and I lost both of his parents and then my mom all within 30 days! When the holidays came around, it was so hard to face without them. This story basically gave me all the feelings from that time. You continue to move and function but always with your loss wrapped around your heart.
I loved Tina’s mom’s toast. That is how I look at the holidays now, enjoying whose there each time we are lucky enough to get together.
Thank you, Karen J. Mossman, for bringing my feelings to words and helping me realize that we are all celebrating with just a smidgen of sadness for the ones who aren’t there each year. I do love the memories, though!
I would recommend this short story to anyone who is struggling with finding the joy that Christmas is all about and to those who just love a good, heartwarming story.

Grief, family and holidays.
This is a sweet short story, showing the path of grief of a family. The holidays are a big part of many families. The traditions of a family are part of the season and occasion but part of the people involved. One of the difficulties of life is that life ends. When the family loses a key member it creates a whole not only in the day to day life of the family but the holidays. The traditions need to change. This story follows a family through this process. Not only showing grief realistically, but also is a heartfelt idea that hope is the link that brings the family through this difficult time.
I liked that the story was realistic. How a sudden death can affect a family. How one or more members need to buck up the other members through the funeral and recovery. I also like the idea that others give offers of help or advice that does not have to be followed even if appreciated.
I could see this used in the social workers book collection to help students deal with death, and changing family traditions. The holidays are a big and important part not only of family but society. This book can bring the children and social worker into the discussion without uncomfortable exposures.
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