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Book review: 'The Perfect Gift' shares a dozen Christmas stories of giving and receiving

"The Perfect Gift" is a collection of stories by A.L. Sowards, Anita Stansfield, Breanna Olaveson, Ellen Fay Belnap, Ganel-Lyn Condie, Jennifer Moore, Krista Lynne Jensen, Meg Johnson, Melanie Jacobson, Pamela Carrington Reid, Sandra Grey and Sian Ann Bes
"The Perfect Gift" is a collection of stories by A.L. Sowards, Anita Stansfield, Breanna Olaveson, Ellen Fay Belnap, Ganel-Lyn Condie, Jennifer Moore, Krista Lynne Jensen, Meg Johnson, Melanie Jacobson, Pamela Carrington Reid, Sandra Grey and Sian Ann Bessey.
Covenant Communications

THE PERFECT GIFT: A Collection of Heartwarming True Christmas Stories,” by A.L. Sowards, Anita Stansfield, Breanna Olaveson, Ellen Fay Belnap, Ganel-Lyn Condie, Jennifer Moore, Krista Lynne Jensen, Meg Johnson, Melanie Jacobson, Pamela Carrington Reid, Sandra Grey and Sian Ann Bessey, Covenant Communications, $6.99, 120 pages (nf)

A dozen authors offer personal stories centered around a Christmas gift in “The Perfect Gift.” And the gifts aren’t necessarily physical ones that are wrapped and under a tree.

From a memory that made a connection to the summer Hill Cumorah Pageant of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New York to the holy family at Christmas and another of sister missionaries on a hot Christmas Day in Brazil trying to deliver a chocolate cake, the stories share how it’s many times the experiences and emotions that help make the holiday memorable.

Ganel-Lyn Condie shares how after her husband was unemployed for the second time in several years, she learned the importance of humbly receiving gifts that have been lovingly given.

Anita Stansfield tells of a recent Christmas when, because of some health and budgetary needs, she felt less than enthused and more than a little overwhelmed about the upcoming holidays. Adapting their traditions and also the unprecedented joy of a grandson’s reaction to an inexpensive gift helped change her heart.

Krista Lynn Jensen shares how a much-needed trip home for Christmas as a college student helped her feel loved and cherished.

Meg Johnson, who was paralyzed after falling off a cliff, explores one memorable Christmas where, after painstakingly making gifts for their neighbors, she and her husband were going to deliver them in their vehicle that could accommodate her wheelchair. However, it was stolen with the painted marshmallows inside and Johnson shares how they were able to see the positive.

Jennifer Moore looks at one of her grandparents’ traditions of setting up a train and learning the history behind it.

It is an interesting collection of stories that share how challenges around the holidays come, but those challenges don’t need to squash the spirit of the season.