Sunday, April 18, 2010


Hank Stuever has written an amazing look at the American way of Christmas. In 2006, Stuever, a reporter, went to Frisco Texas, to find one of the nations most over the top celebrations. Before the recession, the upscale neighborhood, with its mega churches, mega malls, mc-mansions, and big hair, he follows three families as they each try to find that perfect "mega moment"(you know, when it all comes together and just for a few moments everyone is happy).

From the crowds waiting in the dawn for Best Buy to open on Black Friday, to the suburban mom who decorates other peoples homes, to the family who decorates with hundreds of thousands of lights and computer generated programs, Stuever gets to know them and tries to explain why they do what they do.

Following these folks around as they prepare for Christmas, they are mostly devout (some overly so), some giving more than they can afford,but seeing through different eyes the season of giving, he has created a fascinating look at the Holiday Season.

I found this book both funny and sad. It is a close up of overindulgence and keeping up with the Joneses, as well as giving to the needy, and struggling to make ends meet.

When he returned as the economy was starting to slide, it was interesting to see what if any changes these folks made. It made me long for a much simpler Christmas, with good friends, good food and NO GIFTS!!

I received this book from Net Galley.

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