Skipping Christmas: A Novel

by John Grisham

Hardcover, 2001



"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"--Book description.


(1062 ratings; 3.3)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Whisper1
In November middle aged Luther and Nora Krank wave goodbye to their daughter as she joins the Peace Corps and travels to Peru to help underprivileged children.

As she leaves, Luther decides that since the nest is empty, they will skip Christmas this year and instead they plan a ten day cruise in a warm, sunny location.

While parts of this book are a tad funny, overall, I found it annoying. The characters seemed stuffy, too uppity and ostentatious.

Vowing not to crumble to the ostracism of neighbors, the Kranks do not garnish the house with lights, do not have their annual holiday party, and do not participate in office festivities.

The result of their decision is all out war from their neighbors who bombard them with leaflets, Christmas carolers and not-so subtle pressure.

When they learn their daughter is coming home for the holidays after a short one month, they quickly scrabble to accommodate her.

Yikes...if this is Grisham's view of parenting, God help him.

Highly annoying and not recommended.
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LibraryThing member tloeffler
I had really high hopes for this book. Many a time I have considered "skipping Christmas." But I was completely disappointed in it. Maybe because I really wanted them to succeed.
LibraryThing member silenceiseverything
Okay, so I've only read one Christmas book previously so obviously I'm not an expert on them, but am I the only one who finds them semi-annoying? Seriously, the first one I read was okay, but too sugary-sweet by the end. And Skipping Christmas? I sorta wished I would've skipped it (Bad pun, you say? I know...)

Every character in this book grated on my nerves heavily. The husband was a bit too smug and condescending for my liking. The wife complained incessantly. Seriously, it was whine after whine. And the neighbors, oh dear God, the neighbors...They must've been the most annoying. Okay, so your other neighbors don't want to celebrate Christmas. What's the big deal? That's their prerogative. It doesn't give you permission to judge them and generally be *ssh*l*s about it.

The humorous parts were few and far between. There may have been a couple, but for a book that was about 170 pages, this took a bit too long to read. My current history in Christmas books explains why I read only one a year...
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LibraryThing member Crewman_Number_6
This story was so unbelievable, I almost couldn't get through it. I find it hard to believe that the daughter might find a fiance in the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think Grisham should stick to writing about lawyers.
LibraryThing member KRaySaulis
REALLY funny. I plan to reread it again this Christmas.
LibraryThing member Tamianne
This book is a change from John Grisham's usual legal thrillers, but it is probably my favourite written by him. It is funny and very much a feelgood book, but gripping at the same time. I found it particularly well written with a great story line right the way through to the end.
LibraryThing member Canadian_Down_Under
Somehow John Grisham thought we would all find it funny and sweet that a family is harassed because they choose one year to skip Christmas.

I'm sure most of us have entertained the idea of leaving home for the holidays so we don't have to hear Aunt Myrtle complain about how dry the turkey is or listen to Uncle Ed give us a play by play about his hip replacement. I'd like to think, though, that should we make that decision, we wouldn't have everyone from the neighbours to the paperboy try to guilt us into changing our minds.

This book didn't put me in the holiday spirit. What I felt was annoyed that I wasted any time on it.

If you think this sounds like the kind of story that will make you feel all Christmas gooey, by all means give it a go. But for me, I will stick with Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". Now that's a Christmas story.
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LibraryThing member Carol420
I had never read the book but the DVD..."Christmas With The Kranks' that is based on this book has been and remains one of my favorite holiday offerings for years. [Skipping Christmas] is the only Grisham book that I have ever read with none of the serious action or drama of his legal thrillers. It's a light-hearted, funny poke at the craziness we sometimes make of Christmas. Read the book or just watch the won't regret it.… (more)
LibraryThing member LauGal
I do not like Grisham, but a cousin recommended this one. I loved it. It just goes to show how caught up we get in the corparate Christmas season. Whatever your religious beliefs are, this is a good read and may bring you back to your senses.
LibraryThing member vkhowll
When i received this book, I was surprised that it was a John Grisham novel. I enjoyed this book as it read like a Normal Rockwell painting of how neighborhoods and neighbors are suppose to be like. In a time when the real meaning of Christmas is often forgotten in the chaos of the traffic, crowds, and greed; we are reminded the true meaning and gift of Christmas, friendship, and family.… (more)
LibraryThing member GinaFava
Wish I was Skipping This Book. No value in reading this at all. No Christmas spirit. Characters are a bust. Don’t bother hoping for an inspirational resolution, it never comes.
LibraryThing member karensaville
A fun book about a family who decide to ignore Christmas and go on holiday instead. I had seen the film version (Christmas with the Kranks) so roughly knew the concept of the story but enjoyed this small book read for our book club's Christmas choice. It was amusing and completely different from any other John Grisham novel
LibraryThing member aethercowboy
Having never read anything by John Grisham before, and not having anything to do one fine Christmastide season at my parents' house, I discovered this book on their shelves. It didn't see to be too long a commitment to read, so I read it, and I enjoyed it.

The book, later adapted into the Christmas film Christmas with the Kranks features a modern-day Scrooge, Luther Krank, who, after his Christmas-loving daughter moves out, figures out exactly how much the Krank household spends celebrating Jesus and Santa and Frosty each year. The amount shocks him, and he realizes that that amount applied to say, a vacation, could make for a pretty nice cruise or other non-Christmas celebration. He then tries to get his wife on board, to which she finally agrees.

The Kranks are bombarded by all the normal Christmas peddlers, of trees and whatnot, and word spreads fast when its discovered that the Kranks are not celbrating Christmas this year.

The entire neighborhood tries in vain to repossess them with the Christmas spirit, but nothing seems to work, tactics loving, harsh, or otherwise. That is, until they get surprising news from their daughter: She's coming home for Christmas, plus one!

Now it's a mad dash to give their daughter the best Christmas they can manage, and the entire neighborhood must join together in brotherly love and good cheer.

It's a touching and comical story, and from what I've heard, deviates from most of what Grisham writes. If you're looking for something light to read for Christmas, and Lemony Snicket's Christmas books just aren't your cup of tea, then this may definitely be a book for you.
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LibraryThing member SusanBarnard
I LOVE Grisham books, except this one. I enjoy his legal thrillers as well as his more unusual novels and stories. This book has an intriguing plot which is told in reverse order (starting with the verdict), and true to Grisham, it had unusual twists & turns...and I liked the 'who is behind the scenes pulling strings' aspect. However, at times it reads like an expose of political spending; which overpowered the plot and distracted me from the characters. I kept reading the book, even though after each chapter I didn't feel engaged - I kept to the end, telling myself "it's Grisham" and expecting it to get didn't...this won't be one of my ended up in the trash (and my husband has never seen me throw away a book before).… (more)
LibraryThing member poolays
A fun, laugh out loud, book. I listened to it while commuting, so I really did laugh out loud. The premise, fed up with the commercialism of Christmas so let's skip it, is one I have considered often, especially since my children have grown, and before grandchildren.

The reactions of the rest of the world to the Kranks decision are very believable.

Great quick read.
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LibraryThing member santhony
Grisham departs again from his usual legal thriller genre. This time, not as effective as A Painted House, but better than Bleachers and his most recent, Playing for Pizza.
LibraryThing member FutureBestSeller
Funny...Quirky...Laugh out loud. I grew up in that neighborhood and feel for the Kranks. But Christmas just wouldn't be the same without Frosty! This book is good no matter the season!
LibraryThing member theancientreader
I am one of those few readers in the known universe that is not overly fond of John Grisham’s legal thrillers. I do like the way the man writes though, and thoroughly love his novel, A Painted House. This work sort of falls into the category of “this is not a book I would seek out, but hey, I need something light to read.”

The basic premise of this story is a wear couple, a successful couple, which has just shed their only child to a stint working for the Peace Corps in some South American Country. Christmas is coming on, with all the usually frantic spending, party going, visiting, dinners and (I can relate to this) the pain of decorating. In short, Luther Crank decides to skip Christmas all together, and talks his wife into taking a cruise instead; not party, not cards, not gift giving, no donations and no decorating. Of course you know the old saying; “the best laid plans of mice and men….” Thereby hangs the tale.

This is a rather light read and should be read as the author intended, sort of tongue in cheek. It is a fast read, one that you do not have to think about all that much and is amusing, although I must say, shows quite a lot of insight in to our psychic and our forced interaction with community and family. Much of the silliness that surrounds Christmas, many of the little quirks of this holiday are rather exaggerated by the author; but this is simply good story telling. I will do feel though, that by overly exaggerating the situation, the author makes some pretty good points and certainly will give you some food for thought. The overall story moves along at a very nice pace. Some of the interaction with neighbors and business associates can be pretty funny, and I must say, pretty typical.

Overall, this is a fun little read but if you choose not to take in all that seriously, then it becomes even more fun. I like it when an author strays from his or her normal genre, even though it seems that many fans almost seem betrayed. Give Grisham a break…at least he makes the effort to write something other than his normal fare.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
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LibraryThing member auntieknickers
Enjoyable Christmas read about a couple who decide to skip Christmas when their only daughter decides to spend it elsewhere. Basis for the film Christmas with the Kranks.
LibraryThing member miyurose
I picked this up as a quick, Christmas-related read, mostly because it was so short I knew I could knock it out in a few hours. If you take it for what it’s meant to be, a mildly funny Christmas story about giving, then it’s a good little read. I was a little annoyed by everyone’s exaggerated reaction to the Kranks deciding to go on vacation for Christmas, but the end turns out okay. Still not a fan of Grisham, though.… (more)
LibraryThing member jfslone
Copy & Paste from my blog, just in case it sounds familiar:

Skipping Christmas, while not the typical work you would expect of a writer such as John Grisham, is nonetheless a wonderful story of Christmas, filled with humor and a million other things that make it a quick but entertaining read. We are first introduced to the Kranks, Nora and Luther, as they drop their daughter, Blair, off at the airport for a year of Peace Corp. work in Peru. From the moment they part from their daughter, both believe Christmas just can’t be the same that year. Almost instantly, a plan hatches in Luther’s brain and it’s practically screaming at him, “Christmas is too material! All the presents, decorations, parties, food… what good is it?” When he discovers that the previous Christmas set him back $6,100, Luther’s mind is made up: The Kranks are skipping Christmas and taking a cruise.

Hesitant but wooed by the numbers, thoughts of potential stress, and pictures of the beach, Nora agrees to Luther’s plan and the pair attempt to take a stand against all things Christmas. The annual Christmas Eve party is canceled, the boy scouts can’t sell them a tree, and the police department can’t even bribe them to buy a calendar. In the festive neighborhood of Hemlock, this does not sit well with the neighbors. With a giant, 7-foot Frosty on every roof but the Kranks, a full-fledged assault takes place upon the Krank home… and their holiday spirit. A sudden event brings Christmas to the forefront of the Kranks’ lives once more, but is it too late to orchestrate the perfect all-American Christmas? It’s worth reading to find out!

I found that I quickly developed feelings, some positive and some negative, for nearly every character in this book, even if they had the most meager role. They are incredibly personable, and at times it’s hard to remember you’re reading a piece of fiction. I think I personally know someone who could fill each one of those roles, and I would accept it without batting an eyelash. The book is heavily sprinkled with humor, which you would expect from a novel about skipping an entire holiday and everything that goes along with it. If there’s any lesson to be learned in Grisham’s book, it’s that you can’t outrun many things in life, and eventually it’s going to catch up to you anyway.

The only problem I have with Skipping Christmas is that it leans quite a bit toward the predictable side. There are many little moments that catch you off guard, but the overall plot becomes obvious fairly quickly. Even the big twist toward the end, which sends the Kranks spiraling back into Christmas-land, wasn’t such a shock to me. They needed a jolt to get them back in the holiday spirit, and it’s pretty much obvious what the shock has to be. I’ve seen the movie, Christmas with the Kranks, but even if I hadn’t, I’m pretty sure I could have seen it coming from a mile away. I’m not sure if I should just excuse this, or not. It’s a work of Christmas fiction, which are normally incredibly corny and simple (in a way I just love this time of year), but it’s also a work from John Grisham. I don’t normally associate him with cheese or overly simplistic plot points. So I’m a little torn on the whole issue.

However, it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. Quite the opposite, actually. I read this book in a few quick sittings, and left it feeling overly festive and in the spirit of Christmas. It’s my favorite season, after all. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the Christmas season, and even to those that do not enjoy it a bit. It should lift your spirits no matter who you are, and at least entertain you for a few hours.

3.5 stars out of 5 (Meaning it’s pretty darn good!)
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LibraryThing member Grandeplease
This book has been widely read. If you spend a few minutes reading the reviews, you will not need (want?) to read Grisham's tale. Skip the reviews.

You either like Grisham books or do not. If you do like Grisham and have a sense of humor, you will enjoy this book - even in August.

The plot is simple. A stuffy accountant (Luther Krank) calculates exactly how much the family spent on Christmas the preceding year and discusses it with a partner at work. If you know an accountant (or are one) you can imagine how Grisham's description of these events could be simply hysterical. You won't be disappointed.

Mr. Krank decides he would rather skip Christmas and spend the money saved on a Caribbean cruise. Now if he can only sell his wife on the notion. The convincing, then doing it and dealing with the neighbors and seemingly the whole town is the substance of this book.

It is a short story that is rapidly read. I laughed more than once until my eyes watered.
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LibraryThing member mramos
This is a very fast read. You will not want to put it down. Read this book in November and you will look at Christmas differrent. I alwasy thought Christmas was a little too comercial. And have always thought of skipping Christmas. But friends and family will not let me.
LibraryThing member MrsLee
I love this story of holiday mishaps and mayhem. A couple decides that this, the first year their daughter will be away from home for the holidays, will be their year to skip the whole shebang. They make plans to go away to a sunny vacation, but what about the neighborhood? Will they let them get away and be bah humbugs?
This story actually resonated with my life and our conflicting sentiments every holiday season.… (more)
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
Funny and touching at the end. Like all relationships, alternate love and hate emotions going on.


Doubleday (2001), 177 pages

Original publication date

November 6, 2001




0440422965 / 9780440422969


Original language

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