I think I’m Skipping Christmas

Holiday celebrations are social constructs. True or false?

True. People have a tendency to feel more burdened than they do joyous when holidays involve Hallmark-imposed pressures (i.e. cheesy cards, overzealous gifts, gaudy decoration, etc.) However, the same aspects that make the holidays miserable for some people make them much more exuberant for others.

Sit on that concept for a moment. Now, consider the following: a husband and wife take a rain check on the jolly Dec. 25 hysteria, ignoring it altogether. This notion is enticing enough to exploit into a 177-page mini-novel. True or False?


John Grisham accomplished the task, but to say he constructed an entirely intriguing story would be a stretch of the truth. Skipping Christmas tells the brief and jocose tale of a husband and wife (Luther and Nora, respectively,) who, upon learning that their only daughter will not make it home for Christmas, decide to analyze the amount of money they spend pointlessly during the holiday season. Logically, the two decide to contribute their funds elsewhere. After donating $600 to charity, the couple decides to neglect the holiday altogether and escape the frenzy by embarking on a Caribbean cruise. But wait, the madness doesn’t stop there! The duo’s cartoonishly aggravating neighbors strongly object to their harmless decision to abandon any and all Christmas festivities— a decision which, simply put, is about as deep as shallow water .

In case the novel’s premise isn’t explanation enough, Skipping Christmas falls into the humor genre. This placement is fitting, considering the utter absurdity of the trials the characters face.The story reads like a sitcom episode: cheesy, annoyingly yet comfortingly predictable, and simply cute. One could garner the same general feeling by watching Uncle Jesse and Joey have a disagreement, or spectating as Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski’s romance goes awry once again.

That being said, for its lighthearted subject matter, Skipping Christmas is not a bad read. To be completely fair, Grisham spends the novel exploring the repercussions of a family’s decision to skip Saint Nick’s holiday, posing a question that I didn’t really care to uncover an answer to in the first place: what will happen if Christmas is intentionally skipped? His writing style is simplistic, which gives the tale a “bedtime story” tone; this made it a bearable read, but it is only that: bearable. I cannot confidently say that I would revisit Skipping Christmas, though I wasn’t necessarily displeased to have been reading it in the first place.

Grisham is an excellent novelist, but this work of his is, plainly put, not my cup of cocoa. It would suffice to skip this particular installment of Christmas.