The Santa Suit

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This is a quick little read during the busy holiday season. Obviously it is full of Christmas but somehow I still felt it missed the mark on stirring up the Christmas spirit within me. Page references are from the Large Print version.

On a scale of 1 - 5 (5 being a lot of examples/instances):

Sex: 1

Religion: 1

Gruesome: 0

Suspense: 1

Morality: 1

Traditional: 5

Sex - a "passionate embrace" (Ch. 15, LP Pg. 162-63) closed door sex with minor language (friggin') and "naked" (Ch. 24, LP Pg. 242) "Again" (Ch. 25, LP Pg. 243)

Religion - a character refers to loved ones who have died as being in Heaven (LP Pg. 218) a reference to the Methodist auxiliary

Gruesome -

Suspense - who knocked on the door at the end of Ch. 17. when Ivy led Cody to Phoebe (Ch. 20)

Morality - a couple has sex before they've really had even one proper date (Ch. 24, LP Pg. 242)

Traditional - respect for traditional family is consistent

Even though I read this in a short span of five days, I felt like some things weren't connecting and i had to flip back and review. For example, on LP page 63 Ivy tells Phoebe "no movers" and on LP page 104 Ivy explains her furniture was "waylaid". It seems like they would have discussed it more the first time around. And when certain characters were revealed, even though I expected them to show up eventually, at the end of Ch. 21 (LP Pg. 229) I thought I might need to go back and reread some parts to see if I'd remembered it correctly, but I kept reading and it was reviewed enough for me with the phrase "after you left".

Discussion Questions

Ivy was surprised when she finally met Ezra in person. (Ch. 1, LP Pg. 10) Tell of a time you were surprised by someone's actual appearance after knowing them only via phone or electronic communication.

Was there a Christmas house that you remember from your childhood like the townspeople remembered the Four Roses? (ref. Ch. 4)

Have you ever had a moving fiasco, like lost furniture?

Ivy was instantly suspicious. What were your predictions about Cody and Phoebe?

What's the best thing you've ever found in an attic?

Ivy said, "no show, no call" when she found the note and bottle of wine. (Ch. 18, LP Pg. 183) Do you count it as a "show" or not since, clearly, he did arrive at the door with a bottle of wine?

Phoebe's "granddad used to say, arguing with Gran is like trying to fart into a tornado." (Ch. 19, LP Pg. 194)
What sayings do you remember from your granddad?

Theme Ideas

Invite guests to wear Santa suits or have a Christmas costume contest.

Have a scarf exchange in honor of the scarf Lawrence Jones gave Ivy. (Ch. 19, LP Pg. 199)

Give your guests mezuzahs like Ivy found in Ch. 4.

Decorate with a large tree with C9 lights, silver-tinseled garland and Shiny Brite ornaments or give an ornament to your guests as a keepsake.

Decorate with pink, yellow, coral and white roses like Ivy imagined she'd have one day. (beg. Ch. 5) Also use camellias. (LP Pg. 49) Daisies were Phoebe's favorite flower. (LP Pg. 68) Cody sent Phoebe a potted pointsettia at work. (Ch. 13, LP Pg. 147)

Decorate Phoebe and Ivy style with boughs of cypress, magnolia, and red-berried holly and white tallow berries. Include sterling candlesticks in honor of the ones Ivy lost or utility candles in jelly jars as she used instead. (LP Pg. 181)

Decorate with gingerbread men cutouts. (Ch. 21)

Use Christmas china (Ch. 15, LP Pg. 157), especially if there is a reindeer in the middle and red and green holly leaves around the edges. Ivy also had 12 Days of Christmas tumblers and some plates with woodland creatures such as a rabbit, fox, squirrel, red bird and owl.

Include the Tarlburton town traditions of caroling, a bonfire and hot cocoa. (Ch. 12, LP Pg. 134)