Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on Hemlock Street without a rooftop Frosty, they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash, they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences—and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.
A classic tale for modern times from a beloved storyteller, John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition. (courtesy of Random House)
John Grisham (Author’s Website)
John Grisham (LitLovers)
John Grisham (Academy of Achievement)
John Grisham (Wikipedia)
John Grisham Interview, 1995 (Academy of Achievement)
John Grisham Interview, 1997 (Book Reporter)
Meet the Writers: John Grisham, 2004 (Barnes and Noble)
John Grisham: By the Book, 2012 (New York Times)
John Grisham at the Houston Celebration of Reading 2014 (Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation via YouTube) video
Review at Book Page (Book Page)
Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal Reviews (Barnes and Noble)
Amazon Reviews (Amazon)
Goodreads Reviews (Goodreads)
Entertainment Weekly Review (Entertainment Weekly)
Christmas With the Kranks (Movie):
Christmas With the Kranks Tropes (TV Tropes and Idioms)
Creating the Kranks’ Neighborhood (How Stuff Works)
Simplifying Christmas…Complicating Matters (Circle of Moms)
Saying No, No, No to the Ho-Ho-Ho (NY Times)
Skipping Christmas This Year?! (Saint Anthony Messenger)
Giving Up Christmas (The New Humanism)
Just Say No to Christmas? (USA Today)
Simplifying — Not Skipping — Christmas (Insight for Living)
I’m Not Skipping Christmas, But I am Simplifying It (Dallas News)
When Christmas Isn’t So Merry (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)
Christmas Traditions, Past and Present (History.com)
Celebrating Christmas and the Holidays, Then and Now (Pew Research)
Having an Intentional Christmas (The Intentional Family / William J. Doherty) pdf
Some Christmas Traditions Just Need to Die (The Street)
How to Let Go of Old Traditions During the Holidays (Huffington Post)
Traditions: When is it Time to Change? (Reluctant Entertainer)
How Technology is Changing Christmas (Business Technology)
6 Holiday Traditions Fading Into Obscurity (The Street)
Christmas Traditions Shift (Seattle Times)
Commercialization of Christmas:
Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas (Center for a New American Dream)
A Traditional, Commercialized Christmas (Christian Century)
Stop That Christmas Griping (Los Angeles Times)
Holiday Traditions Based on the Religion of Consumerism (Postconsumers.com)
The True Meaning of Christmas is Consumerism (VU Trailblazer)
In Defense of Christmas Consumerism (Relevant Magazine)
Advertising and Christmas (Advertising and Society Review)
Christmas and Mental Health:
Holiday Stress: A Resourceful Survivor’s Guide (PsychCentral)
Nine Ways to Beat the Bah Humbugs (PsychCentral)
12 Tips to Keep Joy in the Holidays (Psych Central)
How to Survive the Holidays (Mental Health Today)
For Women, It’s the Most Stressful Time of the Year (Washington Post)
Stress, Depression and the Holidays: Tips for Coping (Mayo Clinic)
What Makes a Book a Classic? (Scholastic)
What Makes a Book a Classic? (Go Teen Writers)
What Makes a Book a Classic? (Salon)
What Makes a Book a Classic? (History Press)
What Makes a Modern Classic? (Publisher’s Weekly)
What Makes a Classic? (The Guardian)
Canon Fodder: Denouncing the Classics (New Yorker)
Top 100 (Modern Library / Random House)
The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time: The List (The Guardian)
Top 100 Children’s Books of All Time (Children’s Book Guide)
100 Best Children’s Chapter Books of All Time (Children’s Book Guide)
50 Best Christmas Books (Stylist)
30 Best Christmas Children’s Books (Children’s Books Guide)
Christmas Books: 20 Classic Tales for You and the Kids (Huffington Post)
Top Ten Destinations for Holiday Lights (Yahoo Travel)
50 Best Places to See Christmas Lights in America (TLC Parentables)
John Grisham Interview with The Telegraph (The Telegraph / UK) video
John Grisham Apologizes for Pedophile Comments (The Telegraph / UK)
A Statement from John Grisham (Author’s Website)
When Should We Separate the Art from the Artist? (USA Today)
Culture Creep: How and Why We Separate the Artist from the Art (Pacific Standard)
Can We Really Separate Art from Artist? (Chicago Tribune)
1. This book has been called a “modern day Christmas classic.” What does the term mean—what makes the book a “Christmas classic”? Do you agree that it is?
2. As you were reading the book, did you find yourself siding with the Kranks’ decision to skip Christmas…or disgreeing with them?
3. When friends and neighbors learn that the Kranks plan to skip Christmas, they try to convince them to change their minds. Why do the neighbors find the Kranks’ plans so disturbing? Do you find the neighbors’ interference appropriate … or inappropriate?
4. When the Kranks learn Blair is returning from Peru for the holidays, they decide to cancel their cruise and celebrate the holidays as they had in the past. Yet they decided not to tell Blair what they had been planning. Why? Does it seem strange that parents would behave this way toward an adult child?
5. Once the Kranks change their plans with Blair’s arrival, the neighbors pull together to help them pull off their traditional holiday celebration. Did your opinion of the neighbors change?
6. Do you think that Christmas requires that we put our own needs aside and just try to please other people?
7. Talk about the commercialization of the Christmas season. Do you agree with the Kranks that it’s excessive and detracts from the true meaning of Christmas? Or do you feel that the holiday with all its commercial trappings is festive and exciting…that the Kranks are Scrooges…and that you need to take the good with the bad? (There’s no “right” answer here….) Is it possible to avoid or escape the commercialism and still celebrate Christmas?
8. Do you feel pressured to buy gifts for family and friends? Do you feel guilty if you don’t buy gifts or do you feel guilty for spending too much money?
9. What do you consider to be the best Christmas gifts? What was the best Christmas gift that you have received?
10. By the end of the Christmas season, do you feel happy or sad?
11. Do cards have any meaning in this age of Facebook and Instant Messaging? Do people still look forward to them?
12. Do you think it is possible to skip Christmas entirely?
13. If you skipped Christmas, what would you miss the most or have the hardest time giving up? Alternatively…what would you enjoy the most or not miss giving up?
14. Where would be the ideal place to go if you decided to skip Christmas? Why did you pick this particular place?
15. What are your feelings toward the Christmas holidays? Has this book affected how you will view the season?
16. Have you seen Christmas with the Kranks, the 2004 film based on the book and starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis? If so, how does it compare to the book? If not, do you want to see it after having read the book?
17. Did you find this story enjoyable, even endearing? Or do you think John Grisham should stick to writing legal thrillers?
Other books by Grisham: A Time to Kill — The Firm — The Pelican Brief — The Client — The Chamber — The Rainmaker — The Runaway Jury –– The Partner — The Street Lawyer — The Testament — The Brethren — A Painted House — The Summons — The King of Torts — Bleachers –– The Last Juror — The Broker — The Innocent Man — Playing for Pizza — The Appeal — The Associate — Ford County: Stories — Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer –– The Confession — Theodore Boone: The Abduction –– The Litigators — Calico Joe –– Theodore Boone: The Accused — The Racketeer –– Theodore Boone: The Activist — Sycamore Row –– Gray Mountain.
Recommendations (NoveList & other sources): The Worst Noel: Hellish Holiday Tales by Collected Authors — The Dreaded Feast: Writers on Enduring the Holidays by Taylor Plimpton, ed. — Holidays on Ice by David Sederis– You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas by Augusten Burroughs– An Idiot Girl’s Christmas: True Tales from the Top of the Naughty List by Laurie Notaro — Christmas Sucks: What to do When Fruitcake, Family, and Finding the Perfect Gift Makes You Miserable by Joanne Kimes — Upside-Down Christmas Tree: And Other Bizarre Yuletide Tales by Susan Reynolds — The Book of (Holiday) Awesome by Neil Pasricha — How to Survive Christmas by Jilly Cooper — The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore — The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren — On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts — A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd– The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson — Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand — Comfort and Joy by India Knight — Blue Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews — The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry — This Year it Will be Different by Maeve Binchy — Star Bright: A Christmas Story by Andrew Greeley — Giovanni’s Light: the Story of a Town Where Time Stopped for Christmas by Phyllis Theroux — An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor — The Christmas Train by David Baldacci — A Christmas Blizzard by Garrison Keillor — Wishin’ and Hopin’ by Wally Lamb — The Christmas Pearl by Dorothea Benton Frank — Christmas in Carol by Sheila Robins — A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.