Book Review: Gifts from the Heart

Gifts from the Heart:
Simple Ways to Make Your Family’s Christmas More Meaningful

by Virginia Brucker
Trade paperback
ISBN: 1-897178-30-1
336 pages, 5in x 8in

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Book Reviews

Reviewed by three members of the Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents

Gifts from the Heart Book Review by Debbie Johnston

Want to say “no” to the commercialized holiday that the Christmas season has become? Your first step in creating a meaningful and stress-free Christmas is to read Virginia Brucker’s Gifts from the Heart.

Gifts from the Heart is full of ideas to help you enjoy a rewarding holiday season and the author generously donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book to research funded by the Canadian Cancer Society.

Virginia’s focus on giving has helped her to create a wonderful book that could almost be called a Christmas “manual.” The work is full of recipes, craft instructions (for both children and adults alike), ideas for volunteer work, ideas for charitable giving, and suggestions on creating or purchasing meaningful, usable gifts for those you love. You will find helpful tips to de-stress your holiday preparations. Virginia will also show you how to remain earth friendly throughout the entire holidays, as well as how to include your pets in your celebrations. She even includes a section for those entering the holiday season after the loss of a loved one.

One might choose to read Gifts from the Heart from cover to cover; however, it can easily be used by section as needed. The style of writing is pleasant to read and the pages have been dressed up with children’s artwork. Gifts from the Heart would make a wonderful addition to the bookshelf of any parent, grandparent, teacher or youth leader.

Gifts from the Heart Book Review by Debbie Klement

Being the mother of two teens and one adult, I was a little skeptical about what this book had to offer my “older” family. I needn’t have been. I became caught up in its message and couldn’t put it down.

Firstly… this is a book written by a Canadian and deals with the issues relevant to Canadian families.

It delivers exactly what it promises in the title and goes beyond what one would normally expect from the genre of seasonal publications. The advice within its covers is innovative, practical, sensible and uplifting. Truly, it provides a multitude of ideas for living a more thoughtful Christmas whether you celebrate it as a religious festival or as a season that honours the spirit of generosity.

I was greatly impressed by its kind and sensitive approach to the difficult topics that can cast a shadow on the spirit of the season. In particular I was impressed by the author’s sensitive handling of grieving families, blended families, divorce, dysfunction within the family and tricky issues such as dealing with Alzheimer’s afflicted loved ones.

The tips for teens are well thought out and very doable from choosing their gifts to suggestions for engaging them in charitable works. Options are offered for animal lovers and the ecologically inclined. Many of the ideas aimed at the adults can apply to the teens.

Many wonderful ideas for the younger family members including family oriented activities, crafts, recipes and ideas for showing gratitude and for giving back to the community .

The adults who are in charge of providing the Christmas experience will be grateful for the uplifting ideas that will feed the spirit and help you to remove the commercial aspect of the season from the commercial driven atmosphere created by the corporate world.

Buy a copy for your family then buy one for a family you care about.

Gifts from the Heart Book Review by Alison Schott

I received the book on Monday and already the cover is creased from reading it and passing it around……..I give music lessons in my home and have shared it with the parents and everyone is wanting a copy!!!

Gifts from the Heart is a wonderful resource of ideas covering volunteering, traditions, pets and the dreaded “gimmies.” It has been so timely to receive this book because I’ve really been trying to “live with less” and that’s something I want to pass on to my children, and here is a book with so many “do-able” ideas to send us on our way.

The book is set up in chapters to let you choose what you’d like to be inspired to do and incorporate into your holidays. Although, many ideas can be adapted to things we’ll do year round! Two bonuses: 1. Canadian specific and 2. Your purchase helps fund Cancer research!!

A great read and resource. I would definitely suggest adding it to your library!