Skipping Christmas: A Novel

by John Grisham

Hardcover, 2001



Fiction. Literature. Humor (Fiction.) HTML: BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from John Grisham's The Confession. Luther and Nora Krank are fed up with the chaos of Christmas. The endless shopping lists, the frenzied dashes through the mall, the hassle of decorating the tree... where has all the joy gone? This year, celebrating seems like too much effort. With their only child off in Peru, they decide that just this once, they'll skip the holidays. They spend their Christmas budget on a Caribbean cruise set to sail on December 25, and happily settle in for a restful holiday season free of rooftop snowmen and festive parties. But the Kranks soon learn that their vacation from Christmas isn't much of a vacation at all, and that skipping the holidays has consequences they didn't bargain for... A modern Christmas classic, Skipping Christmas is a charming and hilarious look at the mayhem and madness that have become ingrained in our holiday tradition..… (more)

Library's rating


(1207 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
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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
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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 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.
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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.
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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
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any other John Grisham novel
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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
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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 KRaySaulis
REALLY funny. I plan to reread it again this Christmas.
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
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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).
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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 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,
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and greed; we are reminded the true meaning and gift of Christmas, friendship, and family.
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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 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
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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 elliepotten
"He yanked his foot upward and slung dirty water on his pants leg, and standing at the curb with two frozen feet and the bell clanging away and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" blaring from the loudspeaker and the sidewalk blocked by revelers, Luther began to hate Christmas."

I'd heard of Christmas
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with the Kranks (but never seen it - thank heavens, if the trailer's anything to go by), and a customer told me the original novel was a great festive read, so I thought I'd give it a go. Sadly it was... well, pretty crap actually, especially when you consider that John Grisham is a bestselling legal thriller writer. It's basically about a couple whose daughter is away for Christmas for the very first time. They decide to blow off the festive season altogether and go on a Caribbean cruise instead - but their neighbours aren't going to let them off the hook that easily, and a surprise phone call ends up causing absolute chaos. It could have been a great little novel (and a FUNNY one - there isn't much to laugh at here despite the promised humour), but as it happens I didn't like most of the characters and the festivity was mostly limited to one surprisingly moving moment near the end, which redeemed the book a tiny bit by making me well up. I was also, for the record, really bothered by Luther and Nora's apparent preoccupation with whether their daughter's new boyfriend was going to be 'dark'. WTF, GRISHAM?

The verdict? Not impressed at all - save your money, there are too many fun Christmassy reads out there to waste your time and cash on this one!
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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 NadineC.Keels
My first time ever reading Grisham, here—and unless the point of this little comedy was to say, "Don't be like any of the bigots and bullies in this book," then this wasn't at all a good introduction to the author.

The neighborhood's, and the Kranks', sentiments make it obvious that anything that
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isn't Caucasian, Christian, and Western doesn't jibe with them. I mean, the little pokes at Hindus and Buddhists in the characters' minds just weren't funny. Luther referring to Peruvians as "heathens" and thinking of their foreign children as "primitive," and he and his wife being utterly relieved to find out that the skin color of a certain Peruvian doctor they have to meet isn't too brown—and I quote, "Nora and Luther...looked beyond to see how dark Enrique was. He wasn't dark at all! At least two shades lighter than Luther himself!"—no. Just no. Just not funny.

The fact that one Pakistani family moved into the neighborhood once and moved away again a short time later is no surprise. Not when you see the way the Kranks' neighbors literally, collectively, blatantly, relentlessly shame and harass the Kranks for taking a non-conforming route this season by not putting up Christmas decorations and such.

Yep. Go on and browbeat folks into celebrating the birth of Christ (or whatever it is you're celebrating through this holiday) just the way you want them to. Gossip about 'em, laugh at 'em, get crowds together to publicly heckle 'em, bombard 'em with spiteful "joke" Christmas messages in the mail, etc....

Yep x2. That'll learn 'em that 'tis the season to be jolly.

I read the whole book because 1) it's short, 2) I absolutely love Christmas and reading Christmas books, and 3) I figured the Kranks were really going to learn something, or something, through choosing not to participate in the façade that calls itself Christmas rather than truly being Christmas.

But it seems the façade wins out, here. Not to mention the fact that none of the characters are likable. Even when a gesture of Luther's toward the end is apparently supposed to be magnanimous, it seems likely that he may be most concerned not about other people but about making sure a big chunk of his money doesn't go to waste, given his attitude.

Then with the outright racism going unchecked in the end, as if it's just supposed to be a quirky joke or some such...


Again, unless Luther is supposed to be an Archie Bunker-ish caricature and the moral of this story is not to be like the Kranks or any of their nasty neighbors, I'm not exactly sure what the point of this book is supposed to be.
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LibraryThing member jobejojo
I think that this is a pretty good book, but 'Christmas with the Kranks' is not the best movie that I have ever seen.
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
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reaction to the Kranks deciding to go on vacation for Christmas, but the end turns out okay. Still not a fan of Grisham, though.
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LibraryThing member bettyjo
A couple's daughter decides to come home for Christmas after all...they cancel their trip and scurry around to celebrate the holidays at home.
LibraryThing member minnapol
It was frustrating going through all that with the Kranks'! The culmination of the story was wonderful, though, and full of surprises!
LibraryThing member temsmail
This satire against the materialism of Christmas is halarious comic relief against the back drop of Grisham's normal legal fare in novels.
LibraryThing member LiteraryFeline
A couple decides to skip Christmas this year while their daughter is in Peru with the Peace Corps by going on a cruise. The neighbors are appalled and take actions into their own hands to try and “persuade” the Kranks that Christmas is worth celebrating. This is a funny and quirky little
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Christmas tale. Although predictable, it is a cute story for the holiday season.
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LibraryThing member BibliAuPair
Better than the movie, but not by much. An easy read but nothing special.
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
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the world to the Kranks decision are very believable.

Great quick read.
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LibraryThing member carmarie
This was a cute story on an older couple trying to get over and on with the "empty nest" syndrome of their daughter going off to college. Cute story.


Doubleday (2001), 177 pages

Original publication date





0440422965 / 9780440422969


Original language

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