Skipping Christmas

by John Grisham

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What is the author's purpose in writing Skipping Christmas? Is the author successful in achieving this purpose?

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Skipping Christmas is a story about how the Krank family reacts (and is reacted to) in regards to their decision to “skip Christmas” for one calendar year. In this eNotes Educator’s opinion, the purpose of this book is to show the negative effect of social status and commercialization on society.

When the Krank family decides to skip Christmas, their world turns upside down. Why? So many people in their upper class neighborhood are used to the affluent traditions that their status in society offers in regards to this holiday: parties, treats, invitations, plans, decorations, etc. When the Krank family begins their boycott of Christmas, the surrounding community of Hemlock Street reacts negatively and purposely tries to make the family regret their decision. The main part of the plot that focuses on this machination is the Christmas block party. This party is meant to surround the Kranks and make them feel badly about their protest against the commercialization of Christmas. The key is embedded in Luther's story:

My children know nothing of Christmas. They have so little, and want so little, it makes me feel guilty for the mindless materialism of our culture.

The irony is that a holiday that is supposed to be so unifying creates all sorts of social divisions.

In conclusion, it is important to note how the religious aspect of Christmas is completely unimportant in this story. The reason behind this is has to do precisely with the author’s purpose mentioned above. It is the social status and the negative effects of that status that the author is upset about, not the religious significance.

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