“Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.” –C.S. Lewis
(This is a quote from the book. Marva gives Charlee’s dad his own special apron with this saying to honor his penchant for storytelling.)
“This new Christmas novel by New York Times bestselling author Jason F. Wright is filled with laughter, tenderness, and of course, hope as these delightful characters watch an old Christmas favorite turn into a true Christmas miracle.” Shadow Mountain Press
I recently reviewed this book for my upcoming article in Amy Powers’ Inspired Ideas. It’s not too early to start thinking about a good book for your book club’s holiday gathering! This book is a fast read, and would be perfect for the busy season when many of us are caught up with holiday preparations. So, if you want to make your next book club gathering extra-special…. here are some fun ideas!
One of Marva’s favorite aprons from her collection was embroidered with the quote, “If life gives you lemons, throw them through the candy shop window and grab some taffy.” That’s not the only reference to candy in the book! Charlee’s father describes her hair as the color of “Hershey’s Kisses.” Miss Marva fills her advent calendar with gumdrops (except for the 26th day, of course). Oh, and Charlee receives some yummy Milk Maid caramels as one of her secret gifts. Why not fill some sweet little candy dishes with saltwater taffy, Kisses, gumdrops and caramels and place them around the room for your guests to enjoy?
If your plan is to just serve munchies, don’t forget to fill some big bowls with popcorn. After all, Marva and Charlee spent a beautiful afternoon decorating for Christmas which included stringing, and eating, popcorn!
If you want something more substantial, and you don’t want to try to recreate Miss Marva’s entire Thanksgiving dinner with all of the trimmings, perhaps you would like to make “Anything Goes Nachos” that the Alexander’s they enjoy when Charlee comes home from the hospital.
Decor: This one’s easy! Since the book is a Christmas story, it’s fitting to decorate for the holidays. However, in the book, it’s important for Marva to have Christmas lights and her nativity, so you won’t want to forget these.
In decorating for this book, you absolutely MUST have an advent calendar. Can you find one with 26 days? If so, that would be the ultimate tribute to Marva and Charlee! If you don’t have one, perhaps you might want to splurge and give yourself an early gift. The one pictured here is available from WilliamMarie Designs on Etsy. Check it out!
Any decorations that pay homage to the “Twelve Days of Christmas” would also be appropriate. I might not be able to resist this set of drinking glasses from The Sisters Pick on Etsy.
Finally, Miss Marva is very proud, both of her apron collection, and also her habit of hanging her clothes on the line to try. How about hanging a string or wire across an open area, and using clothespins to display a collection of vintage aprons, or perhaps some cute ones made with lovely scrapbook paper. Better yet, have each guest come to the meeting wearing an apron of her choice – with a prize for the one that Miss Marva would have appreciated the most! Like this one from CreativeMama213 on Etsy….
Or this one from Sweet Magnolia’s Farm…
* Let everyone in the group share a special holiday tradition. Each of us has such unique and special ways to honor the season. Why not share them with others?
*Talk about the ways you can, or already do, extend the attitude of Christmas beyond December 25.
*Tell about a special adult mentor or friend who made a difference to you when you were young.
In Charlee’s family, it was a birthday tradition to gather after dinner, and before cake, to say something that they had learned that year from the person celebrating his or her birthday. This would be a fun, easy activity for book club. Have each person choose another member of the group and share something they learned from her this past year.
Ask each member of the club to bring a gift inspired by the Traveling Elves during the “Thirteen Days of Christmas.” Gather these gifts and deliver them to a children’s Christmas charity in your community. What could they bring? Rubber ducks, stuffed toy dogs, kazoos, a Big Bird stuffed animal, purple gloves, or perhaps even a stuffed monkey like Charlee’s beloved Melvin.
I’m sure everyone in your group would be honored to receive a lovely apron with a cute or wise saying on it. Each time they put it on, they would be reminded of Marva and her selfless acts of kindness. Or, you could create some of these mini-aprons from the blog Hostess with the Mostess in Christmas fabric and they could be used as little favors.
Feeling Crafty? I’ll bet you could make something simple and special with these charms from Etsy shop Jewel Be Charmed.
I hope your book club will enjoy this heartwarming book during this holiday season. Ideally, each person who reads it will be inspired to do something kind for someone in need, and if it leads to your own version of the “Thirteen Days of Christmas” all the better! Perhaps a new tradition will begin this year — as a tribute to Marva Ferguson!
Final Thoughts: I hope you and your book club will enjoy this sweet, holiday story. I would love to hear from you about your group’s discussion, and whether or not any of these creative ideas worked for you! Happy Reading, and Happy Holidays!
Photo Credits: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/veggiefrog/2145862702/”>veggiefrog</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/unprose/67242158/”>unprose</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebastian_bergmann/334297130/”>Sebastian Bergmann</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/375042268/”>Thomas Hawk</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mukumbura/4180968389/”>Mukumbura</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>