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“The Key to Christmas” Book Reviews

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April 4, 2008

Mr. Rod Hess
424 Sixth Street
Oakmont, PA 15139

Dear Mr. Hess:

I have to honestly say that I have had a hard time writing this letter. I have made numerous attempts, but every time I get choked up, had to stop, and collect my thoughts. When I was introduced to your book in November of 2007,The Key To Christmas, my husband and I were struggling for three months how to explain to our five year old son that Christmas was not all about getting gifts from others, and Santa bringing him every toy he asked for. Our family attends church and our son clearly understands Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, but as most 5 year olds, they also know Santa arrives on Christmas morning with toys. My husband and I prayed for the right time and message to help our son really “get it”- -this chapter was not in our parenting book (smile). My husband and I read your book and realized our prayer had been answered.

When our son turned two years old we decided to start a family tradition of cutting down our Christmas tree. We go to a Christmas tree farm, we ride the train, hayride, see Santa, our son picks out the tree, and he and his dad cut it down together while I take all the photos. We thought this would be the perfect time to incorporate your book The Key To Christmas as part of our tradition.

Once we got the tree home my husband started putting on the lights (his job) while my son and I sorted all the tree ornaments (our job). When my son was finished pulling out all the ornaments he looked at me with his sad eyes and said “but, but, we forgot to go to the store and get me a new ornament” (another tradition). I told him we would go the next day, and that I wanted to read him a story while daddy finished putting the lights on the tree. My son jumped in my lap and I began to read your book. At first he was a little restless, but as soon as I got to the second page he had his eyes glued to the book and ears opened and listening with curiosity building.

When I finished reading the book he said “wow that was a good book.” When he opened the box that contained the key ornament he was ecstatic. He jumped up and down yelling “I got the key, I got the key, look daddy, I got the Christmas key ornament. I don’t have to go to the store to get an ornament, I got the key.” My husband and I were thrilled he was so excited, but questioned him about what he had learned about the book. He told us “I can’t get all the toys because there are other boys and girls who don’t have any. I need to share and give.” My husband and I praised him for what he did learn, and our son showed off his book and ornament to everyone who came into our house until the day of Christmas. He hung his ornament at the bottom center of the tree where the light beamed off the ornament (beautiful when the tree lights were on at night).

On Christmas morning our son woke the whole family up to let us know Santa came and there were gifts under the tree. My parents came walking in to the living room with a video camera in hand, letting us know that was their gift to us (my husband and I) so we can have recorded memories. After everyone was finished opening gifts I was still recording my son because he immediately started lining up all his gifts in a row. When I asked what he was doing he said “I am picking out the toys I am going to give to a little boy, because The Key To Christmas is the gift of giving.” All of our mouths dropped and asked “what did you just say,” and he told us again. My husband had to take over the video camera, because I started crying. My son was worried about me crying, and I told him they were happy tears because he just gave daddy and me the best Christmas gift ever. He really did not understand what I was talking about, but I was not going to explain because I knew he “got it.” He got our message we had been trying to relay to him.

My son kept asking when he was going to get to take a little boy his new gifts. We took him the following day to a local hospital so he could share his gift of giving.

Mr. Hess I can not tell you how grateful I am for your inspirational book. This is just the beginning of a long journey for you and your family. You have the gift and we look forward to hearing about future readings. Because of you and your book The Key To Christmas, my husband and I had the best gift ever–and were able to capture our gift on video. Thank you.

Aaron and Katherine Burns
Cypress, Texas