Spotlight Review: THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Debbie Macomber

From the publisher:

Two lifelong friends decide to trade places the week before Christmas and end up finding love along the way in this delightful novel from the queen of holiday stories, #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

Peter Armstrong and Hank Colfax are best friends, but their lives couldn’t be more different. Peter, the local pastor who is dedicated to his community, spending time visiting the flock, attending meetings, and, with the holiday season approaching, preparing for the Christmas service and live nativity. As a bartender, Hank serves a much different customer base at his family-owned tavern, including a handful of lonely regulars and the local biker gang. 

When Peter scoffs that Hank has it easy compared to him, the two decide to switch jobs until Christmas Eve. To their surprise, the responsibilities of a bartender and a pastor are similar, but taking on the other’s work is more difficult than either Peter or Hank expected. As the two begin to see each other in a new light—and each discovers a new love to cherish—their lives are forever changed.

In The Christmas Spirit, Debbie Macomber celebrates the true meaning of the holidays and the inclusive community spirit that binds us all.

“Bestseller and Hallmark Channel stalwart Macomber (Dear Santa) does it again with a candy cane–sweet holiday romance about two friends who swap lives for a week before Christmas. . . . An eclectic supporting cast—including cadres of strippers and bikers—and a comically disastrous climactic Christmas Eve church service make the narrative shine bright. It’s exactly what readers want from a Macomber holiday outing.”—Publishers Weekly

“This light, sweet Christmas novel is perfect for someone looking for a chaste love story with a happy ending.”—Booklist

Every year I read Macomber’s Christmas novel, but they run hot and cold for me. This was not one of my favorites. A pastor and a bar owner/bartender are best friends and each thinks the other’s job is easy. They switch jobs for several days leading up to Christmas and find out the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

I found this book to be preachy and too religious for me, a nice Jewish girl who loves holiday romances with an emphasis on romance and the magic of the holiday season. The romances here – there are two – are not very engaging, and this book, with apologies to Marie Kondo, just didn’t spark joy for me. If you like the more religious side of Christmas, this may be your perfect book. It’s a sweet, Christian romance with a bit of humor. It’s a quick read at only 240 pages, and while I did finish it, I wasn’t terribly captivated. I’m curious to see if Hallmark turns this one into a movie.

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Debbie Macomber. Ballantine Books (October 18, 2022). ISBN: 978-0593500101. 240p.



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