“The Santa Shop” by Tim Greaton


For my latest recommendation, I am pleased to let you all know about Tim Greaton’s “The Santa Shop”.  This was an emotional book for me, but one that ended with brightness and hope.  You will see this isn’t one of my standard review styles, but hopefully it will inspire everyone to consider adding this book to their reading list.  It would be well worth your time.  This is the review I posted on Amazon:

“I normally have a set outline for reviews, but this book has left such an impression on me that I felt compelled to write exactly why. It is about a man who had a horrible Christmas experience that brought him to a suicidal state one year after a tragic incident, on the following Christmas eve. For me, I have never been suicidal, but Christmas has always been an emotional time due to similar reasons. My mother died just two weeks before Christmas when I was nine years old. The doctors knew she wouldn’t make it and warned my family to prepare for her upcoming death. Brain cancer had left her in a very weakened state, but she wanted to see me and my younger brother open our gifts one last time. So we celebrated early with her that year. Then just a few days later, the cancer won the battle and took her from us. When the actual time for Christmas arrived, my father, brother, and I were in a rather depressed state. A few small, cheap gifts were exchanged. My father was trying, in his own way, but he wasn’t our mother who did Christmas in a big way. Also, despite medical insurance, the cost of cancer had left us nearly destitute.

We tried to hang in there that first year. My father attempted to play the dual role of mom and dad, but eventually his depression caught up with him. Alcohol became his alternative and what money we had went toward feeding that need in him to drown out his sorrows. Our Christmas’ became a decorated tree with little or nothing under them. Every year, I would cry myself to sleep and mourn the loss of my mother who had always known how to make holidays so special. By the time I had reached fourteen, it became too much. I planned ahead and saved every dollar I had, usually it wasn’t much, maybe twenty or thirty total. Then, just a couple days before Christmas, I would go to whatever store was within walking distance to purchase little gifts for my brother and father. I wrapped these meager offerings up and placed them under the tree with the order they not be opened until the appropriate time.

Once Christmas eve had arrived, I would drag my brother to the living room and awaken my father from his drunken stupor. Under my supervising eye, they would open those gifts and each might give a smile. It wasn’t much, but somehow I had to make the holiday better for them. They had both fallen to depression, drinking, and other things by this time and I was the only one hanging on. In some way, I was trying to give them a bit of happiness. Then, after the wrapping was cleaned up, my father passed out again, and my brother back in his room, I would go off alone to cry. I had done what I could. All the holidays until I left home seemed to pass this way with only one or two minor exceptions.

That first Christmas when I was eighteen years old was spent in Army barracks in North Carolina. I had just arrived at my unit two months before and only the soldiers who had been in the unit longer were given leave to go home. Perhaps not more than a dozen or so of us were left and I didn’t know the others. I sat in my barracks room with its ugly cinder-block walls, once again depressed and even more alone than ever before. Then someone started pounding on all the doors, ordering us out into the hallway. We stumbled out, it was perhaps around 7pm so most hadn’t gone to sleep, yet it was dark outside already. They told us all to go to the barracks entrance steps. I didn’t want to and argued against it, but they told me it wasn’t an option. To my surprise, upon reaching the entrance, a gathering of families were outside singing Christmas carols for us. It was a very cold night, yet they braved it to give us a little cheer. We even received cookies as a small gift. The children smiled so happily, knowing us soldiers needed that extra lift for the holiday. For ten minutes they stood there, just singing in chorus, in the cold, before moving on to the next building. It touched my heart to see people who selflessly came out on their holiday evening to show that they remembered us. The soldiers who sat alone in the dreary old barracks. Maybe they will never know how grateful I was for that kindness, but I hope they did.

So you are probably wondering why I related my story to you. Well, if it touched you at all, then this book will as well. It is about depression, Christmas miracles, and people giving out of the goodness of their hearts. I couldn’t read this all in one sitting. It brought out my own memories and caused tears to pour forth from my eyes. I had to walk away from it a couple of times, but always felt compelled to come back and read more. It touched me deeply and I’m glad I read it. For this reason, I’m giving it five stars. Any author that can write a story that pulls so deeply at my heart is truly talented. You will not be sorry for having read this story. It is truly a beautiful tale”







Amazon Review link

~ by Suzie on June 18, 2011.

10 Responses to ““The Santa Shop” by Tim Greaton”

  1. Oh Susan, it WAS a beautiful book and your review was beautiful too. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for sharing this book. I can understand why the Holidays are tough for you and others. Now I have to go get a hanky to wipe my eyes.

  3. Again, Susan. Thank you very much for your kind words and for sharing some of your own personal story. I would like to thank you in tomorrow’s blog and repost your review, but given the personal nature I thought it might be best to seek your permission first. Let me know.

    Island Gal: I continue to be humbled by all the supportive reviews. Thank you so much for taking the time to post such positive comments on my behalf 🙂 I hope you also won’t mind if Fat Duck and I post a thank you to you on an upcoming blog.

    For everyone else, thank you, too, for being so inviting here on Susan’s site. I hope you’ll consider joining my blog on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. Unfortunately, my pets have become much more famous than me, but I have hopes that Fat Duck and the others will at least mention my name when they begin their national tour 🙂

    • Tim, of course you are welcome to re-post the review where you see fit. I am glad you liked it. Stopping by your blog is something I plan to do. I’m sure it will be interesting!

  4. Hi, Susan. I just reposted your review on my blog tonight. I couldn’t be more thrilled than to have a chance to share your story along with your comments about my book. At some point, I hope someone at Focus House can figure out how I can create a discussion thread as easy to use as yours here. Until I get that feature, please feel free to leave comments any time at http://www.timgreaton.blogspot.com 🙂

  5. Hi Tim,
    I just finished ” The Santa Shop ” , and I must say it was an excellant , excellant book !! I love the journey that he took, to realize that life is worth living, even after a tragity. It’s amazing.. you swap life around on the other foot for a bit, and you actually realize how ” cruel and inhumane ” people can be to each other. If you look different, dress different, or even smell or act different, people can be harsh. Everyone should experience, one time or another, the other side of life. It’s a great lesson !!
    I was also excited to see that you mentioned ” Saint John’s Children Center “. I have a daughter, who is 20, that is a client in one of the many centers, here in NY. No child should miss out on Christmas !! We are all God’s creations and should remember to treat others as we want to be treated !!
    I am passing your book along to a friend for him to enjoy!! Moving on to ” From My Cold Young Fingers “.

  6. I don’t know how to vote towards like book 🙂 but if I could figure it out I would deffinately post it.

    I won Tim’s book a while back in the free give away through here. Just wanted to say that I finished the book last weekend and really enjoyed this novel. It was wonderful! I have placed reviews of this book on amazon and on goodreads if you would like to check them out.

    Personal thanks to Tim himself for sending me this wonderful book! Very much enjoyed it, loved the writting style, and can’t wait to read your other book!

    Thanks again, and to anyone who enjoys a up lifting heart-felt novel this book is for you!


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