A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories That Celebrate the T… (2024)


110 reviews3 followers

March 11, 2010

If you have ever heard Mr. Huckabee speak you know that he is a person of charm and wit-a natural storyteller. With twelve stories from his life (mostly heartwarming but some also serious) Mr. Huckabee follows each one with a brief summing up of how what he just related reveals a truth about Christmas and its real meaning. Memorable and well beautifully written.


709 reviews

April 25, 2010

This was my personal, autographed copy!!

Mike Huckabee reflects on twelve Christmas memories from his life, some happy, some sad, that bring back the true meaning of Christmas, and help to remind us to settle back and enjoy the simplicity of the original Christmas, and not get caught up in the stress we typically seem to make of it.

He writes of such subjects as: Patience, loneliness, family, hope, stability, faith and rewards.

Below, just two quotes from two other areas:

"That Christmas we learned that God's greatest gift to us is not to remove us from crisis, but to walk through the crisis with us. He does not do us a favor by taking us out of all the trials and tribulations of life, but strengthens us by giving us the grace to get through them and emerge on the other side of having realized that what we thought we couldn't endure we in fact just did. How often do we ask for the gift of escape from a problem and instead it seems to escalate? When we want Christmas to represent the easy path and the glittery gifts, we fail to understand that the real message of the Messiah is that the first Christmas was the opposite of easy. It was more about long stretches of darkness and loneliness, instead of the stunning stars that were eventually seen in the night sky. Before the angels sang and the shepherds saw stars, a scared couple fumbled their way around a strange town and endured pain and humiliation. True faith is forged in the furnace, not in the showroom."

"Knowing our limitations and not trying to do things outside our capacity often means we have to break down our pride and admit we need help I have come to learn that Christmas is about accepting more than just my limitations in the assembly of toys and appliances. It's about accepting that I'm incapable of putting my own life together and making all the pieces fit. It's about recognizing that God isn't asking me to impress Him with my skills at "building a perfect human being." He didn't send His son to criticize my failures or laugh at my very miserable attempts at putting all the screws, nuts, and washers in my life in the right place, In fact, His son became a carpenter so he'd really have the hang of patiently building something from the rawest of materials. There's nohting disgraceful about admitting the need for help. The real idsgraceis being so filled with pride and ego that we don't reach out for the help that we so obviously need, and in the end we fail anyway."



479 reviews76 followers

January 14, 2020

I often pick up cheap Christmas titles at thrift shops, hoping for a warm, fuzzy holiday read to close out the year. Sadly, I usually end up tossing them aside because they are so poorly written. I wasn't sure what to expect from this one. It was a little different in that it was a memoir centered around 12 Christmases in the author's life.

Huckabee's tongue-in-cheek humor, humility, and warmth snagged me early on. The early stories are from his childhood, and are great fun. He and his sister had some laugh-out-loud funny escapades, and since I am about the same age as the author, I could totally relate to the era he described. After making you laugh, Huckabee then sneaks in some little spiritual insights. He is never preachy, just tosses in simple truths that correlate with the action.

After childhood, this man had some big challenges. His wife was diagnosed with cancer when they were still newlyweds, finances were incredibly tight, and they lived in shacks for a while. There was real depth to this section of the memoir; it takes strength of character to weather such storms gracefully. Huckabee and his wifechose to live with joy and gratitude, enabling them tolook back on this chapter of their lives with something akin to fondness.

The final chapters relate his rise to the governorship of Arkansas. It was a little more challenging to maintain a "simple Christmas" in the governor's mansion, but the growth of spirituality that had transpired during the earlier, difficult years enabled him to keep his focus on the One who gave Himself as a gift to the world.

This is a "rags to riches" memoir, in a way. But a very satisfying one, because the true wealth that is portrayed is intangible and much more soul satisfying than mere money.

Even if you don't agree with the author's politics, this is an engaging and worthwhile human interest story.

    christmas memoirs spirituality


892 reviews129 followers

February 2, 2011

I had a few simple goals this Christmas. Goals that I wanted just for myself. They were to read two Christmas books and make at least a good head start on a craft project. Well, I’ve managed to get one book completed three days before our holiday festivities begin, and about half a sock knitted. I may not actually complete my goals, but in the midst of shopping, wrapping, delivering, baking and cleaning (not to mention my usual household duties), I got at least this much done.

The truth is, with all the frantic pace of the Christmas Season, I really needed this book. Mike Huckabee’s A Simple Christmas, is a collection of personal anecdotes, meant to take the reader back to what is truly important about the Season.

One chapter, entitled Sacrifice wove two stories, about a guitar. The first story, when Mike was a youngster, told us how he desperately wanted an electric guitar for Christmas. He made life difficult for his parents that year, telling them that was the only thing he wanted. He didn’t stop to think that it might be a more expensive gift than they could actually afford.

“I wanted a simple Christmas that year. I didn’t ask for a lot of things – just one that meant more to me than anything else I had every asked for. But what was simple to me was anything but simple for my parents, who had to make a really major sacrifice to give it to me. The best Christmas gifts we get are the ones that represent a sacrifice on the part of the giver. That’s because nothing reflects what Christmas is all about as does sacrifice. God, who owed us nothing, gave us everything. He gave up more than His comfort and His crown – He gave us his life, and it all started right there in a simple manger in Bethlehem.”

The second part of the story, told of Huckabee’s own sacrifice of the guitars he loved for his own family. It was a beautiful story of sacrifice come full circle.

Another very touching story had to do with his bachelor Uncle Garvin. This Uncle, spent the holidays with Huckabee’s family every year, and then one year, Uncle Garvin was diagnosed as terminally ill and needed care. Mike’s parents took him in and cared for him until his death.

“My sister and I didn’t get much that year for Christmas. We had been prepared to not expect much because all our resources needed to be used to care for Uncle Garvin and there wasn’t time for much else. But in many ways, it was one of our most meaningful Christmas experiences ever, not because it was a happy one, but because it wasn’t. It was meaningful because through it we learned that the real meaning of Christmas is not giving toys but giving God’s grace in person to someone who is no longer in a position to give back. It was a very simple Christmas, and maybe the best one of all.”

Mike Huckabee’s book was touching and insightful. The message was highly appropriate this season and I’m glad I read it.


88 reviews2 followers

March 18, 2010

At first I didn't think I was going to like this book because I felt it started out with an arrogant tone. As I got into the book, I felt that tone went away, but there was something unsatisfying about his style of writing.

That said, I enjoyed his Christmas memories, and often times it made me nostalgic for my own childhood Christmases that always seemed so warm, cozy and magical. I also came to appreciate his no-nonsense, homespun approach to life, and of course, the importance of God and Christ in his life. It is also a great reminder to celebrate Christmas with simplicty in remembering the true purpose of the holiday, and also to remember the blessings in your life.

My favorite quotes from the book:

"...we learned that God's greatest gift to us is not to remove us from crisis, but to walk through crisis with us. He does not do us a favor by taking us out of all the trials and tribulations of life, but strengthens us by giving us the grace to get through them and emerge on the other side having realized that what we thought we couldn't endure, we in fact just did."

"There are times in our lives when things go exactly according to plan. But when God has a bigger purpose than we can possibly imagine, none of our efforts - no matter how well-intentioned or practical - will change the course he has set for us."

"I have come to learn that Christmas is about accepting more than just my limitations in the assembly of toys and appliances. It's about accepting that I'm capable of putting my own life together & making all the pieces fit. It's about recognizing that God isn't asking me to impress Him with my skills at "building a perfect human being". He didn't send his Son to criticize my failures or laugh at my very miserable attempts at putting all the screws, nuts, and washers in my life in the right place. In fact, His son became a carpenter so he'd really have the hang of patiently building something from the rawest of materials."

"There's nothing disgraceful about admitting the need for help. The real disgrace is being so filled with pride & ego that we don't reach out for the help that we so obviously need, and in the end, we fail anyway."

    borrowed memoirs-bios read-2010


926 reviews

December 22, 2012

I’m a fan of Huckabee’s politics, but I could’t get into this book. His writing style put me off ... it was too folksy and casual. It also seemed to lack structure - i.e. it didn’t build to a point, it just sort of rambled around.

This book shared a lot of personal information about Huckabee, but I had trouble connecting with it. He doesn’t seem to be able to present himself well. In the preface, he talks about the “perks” of his life and it created a distasteful and unlikable impression.

Later he sites biblical stories, but seems to get the facts wrong. (According to Huckabee, Joseph was a teenager when he married Mary. I always had the impression he was older - just Mary was a teen. Also Huckabee states that Joseph “loved her enough” to accept Mary's diluted tale about an immaculate conception. There was no mention of the angels that appear in scripture to ease Joseph’s justifiable doubts.) Huckabee is suppose to be a protestant minister, how can he get biblical references wrong?! Didn’t he study biblical history at some point? Even this Catholic picked up on it! :-0

I started skipping passages because they were painful to read. It just felt uneducated - like I was getting stupider for reading it. (Sorry if that is harsh.) Ultimately, I put down the book before finishing it. I’m sure his intended message was good, but it didn’t get conveyed effectively.

Lisa Magee

64 reviews3 followers

October 3, 2013

Very disappointing. I thought with all the people he must know and all his travels that he was going to tell 12 stories of Christmas about people he knew. I thougbt it might be very heart warming. Instead, he used the "Christmas Story" line in a very self-centric way, basically using the Christmas season as an excuse to write an autobiography, and to slam his political foes,competing political parties, and the press, while defending himself. NOT written with the Christmas Spirit in mind. I would have much preferred stories about members of his congregation, constituents, or those who listened to his show. Surely there were at least 12 of them that had a heart warming story of how the season of Christmas had impacted their lives.


440 reviews

November 28, 2011

Just because you are in politics doesn't mean that you can write. Huckabee's book didn't have any staying power with me. There were no take-away points or deep thoughts in this book. I would not recommend it.


405 reviews5 followers

January 3, 2013

I wanted to love this book. I was ready to read some heartwarming Christmas stories, a la "Chicken Soup" type. Alas, this is just a very basic autobiography, where some of the chapters happen to line up at Christmas time. It wasn't badly written but not very interesting overall.



31 reviews

April 30, 2012

Couldn't even bother to finish this one.

Erin Lehmbeck

27 reviews1 follower

January 3, 2013

Like most politician's the book was mostly about his climb to the top. Very little to do with Christmas memories.


368 reviews33 followers

November 22, 2015

More like a book on his life story. Not entirely uninteresting, but definitely not what I expected.

Elizabeth Meadows

1,897 reviews263 followers

January 1, 2019

I really enjoyed this book and appreciated these inspirational stories. It is nice to be reminded of the important things in life.

    audio-books-2018 christmas-books


14 reviews39 followers

December 21, 2012

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” and his name is Michael Dale Huckabee. A former pastor, Huckabee wrote “A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories That Celebrate the True Holiday Spirit.” Originally published in 2009 by the Penguin Group, this book is a hidden gem of uplifting words of wisdom that spell out the true spirit of Christmas.

Between the big box shops slashing the prices for Thanksgiving day shoppers, to Black Friday bargains and Cyber Monday sell outs, it is not hard to get wrapped up in the commercial element of the season of peace, hope, and joy. In “A Simple Christmas,” Huckabee shares twelve elements, from patience to rewards, that relate to the thrill of opening a Christmas gift, but also resonate with those wishing for the gifts money can’t buy.

In twelve chapters, Huckabee shares a story from his own Christmas’s past. Beginning with a humorous tale from his childhood to his days campaigning as a presidential candidate, Huckabee manages to show the reader the meaning of Christmas. “I’ve come to realize that anticipation helps you appreciate things more.” Although he was referring to having the patience to wait until December 25th before opening his Christmas gifts, the double entendre is evident–whether it be a new job, a new home, or a new baby–the anticipation sweetens the gift.

Reading “A Simple Christmas” is the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season. Give “A Simple Christmas” to the skeptics, to the ones who have lost the Christmas spirit, to the Virginia’s.


614 reviews63 followers

November 18, 2012

This really isn't a book of Simple Christmas stories - it is more a memoir or Autobiography of Mike Huckabee's political pursuits and family life. It started out a bit pretentious and arrogant in the introduction. A bit "preachy," as well. but I held on looking for those Christmas stories. They came. They were heartwarming and funny, but by the middle of the book, they disappeared again. Those heartwarming and inspiring stories of Christmas melted away and we were stuck with political pursuits and numerous tangents, with but a mere mention that Christmas needed to be simple.
I rated this book a three, because in spite in not being about Christmas (clearly he needed a better editor who could point out the tangents and unrelated info) it was an interesting read to learn about Mike Huckabee and his personal points of view. Not the best example of a memoir/autobiography, but interesting nonetheless (even though he only he couldn't keep the repetitive preaching to a minimum).



58 reviews3 followers

November 22, 2009

Mike Huckabee’s A Simple Christmas is a must-read! From laughter over his Christmas wish for an “electric guitar or nothing” to tears when “Uncle Garvin” came to stay to nostalgia in huge doses, this little book has it all. Ok, I’m a sentimentalist. I’m a sucker for huge doses of nostalgia.

For me, it was an inspirational trip down memory lane. Even his little “Winnebago home on the tracks” reminded me greatly of our first home. Whether you’re of his generation or not, I believe you’ll still have that sense of reminiscence when you read this treasure. It’s just that type of book.

“Although the stories are about him and his family, Huckabee said the book “is not so much to tell my stories, but to cause people to think of their own.”” ~ WCFCourier.com

He succeeds admirably. I highly recommend for anyone who dreams of A Simple Christmas.


37 reviews3 followers

December 14, 2010

I don't follow politics, really...at all...for the most part. And I don't want to talk about why, that's almost as bad/boring as talking about politics themselves. I found out after I got the book from the library that Mike Huckabee is a right-wing, very conservative Christian fellow who ran for the Republican nomination in 2008. So, not my typical author to say the least. However, I liked this book, a lot. He's a good writer and tells a good story. The 12 stories are about Christmas - the important parts; tradition, faith, simplicity, hope and remembering what's important in times of adversity. While not a particularly religious or spiritual person, more prayer/reflection/tradition vs. the present focus sounds like a nice idea to me. Merry Christmas!


1,051 reviews74 followers

January 2, 2015

My husband purchased this signed copy for me last year at Joseph Beth. I guess I was interested since Huckabee ran for president as a conservative and I didn’t know much about him. This book is OK. It didn’t blow me away but I found it interesting. Huckabee is a devout Christian and this is very apparent in the book. Unfortunately, I think this is probably why he didn’t get anywhere running for president. Quite frankly, he seems a bit preachy and self righteous. The book was interesting. He has had some hardships in his life. There were some humorous parts of the book and I do agree with his take on our media today. I just thought the book lacked depth and some of it was pretty boring and didn’t seem to relate much to the intended Christmas theme. Oh well…Sorry Mike.

    2010-reads christmas my-library

Natalie Snapp

Author6 books103 followers

December 28, 2009

Overall a good read - if you are wanting to know more about Huckabee as a person, this is a good one. We attended a dinner in which he spoke so I decided to read it given the fact that I had always labeled him as a little more "right wing" than I had originally thought. I do still think he is very conservative but in a way that jives with what I believe - he is not as extreme as I had originally thought and truthfully, I like what he says. I gave three stars because at times it feels to the reader that he is "bragging" or trying to impress us. Could be politicking for his next run but it was still a decent read.

Steve Curll

74 reviews3 followers

August 5, 2011

A simple christmas is an easy read which can be accomplished in an evening. Mike Huckabee has a laid back style in this book much like his television show. If you were a teenager in the 60's or a parent of children in the 60's, you are bound to see your family. I especially identify with Mike wanting to BE a Beatle. I never bought a guitar but was proud of my hair and Beatle Boots. How does this relate to a Simple Christmas? Read these heartwarming stories on a cold night to see the simple message of Christmas. I asked all my family to read it this year. You might be inspired to do the same.


1,610 reviews48 followers

November 9, 2013

Mike Huckabee tells us that many people count time according to the last or the next Christmas. He tells about his life, and important events that took place around Christmas. He came from a poor family, and was the first one in his family to graduate from high school. He tells of his wife's near fatal cancer, and the miracle of her being able to have children afterward. He worked in radio and TV, and he was a Baptist preacher. He was the governor of Arkansas, and he ran for president of the United States. He wishes everyone a simple Christmas and to remember why we celebrate it.

    autobiography christmas family


41 reviews

December 19, 2013

Overall, I think it is a nice, quick read and can be very touching. It is written very colloquially, which can be difficult to read at times and sometimes distracting (though I do see why he has chosen to write this way).

As many others here, I did think the introduction was a bit pompous, but the tone settles down as you get into the book. Mainly, however, I did enjoy learning more about his life and how the message is always the same - that Christ's power shines through even in the darkest of times. I particularly enjoyed the section on his Dad's journey of faith.

    biography theology


575 reviews95 followers

February 14, 2014

Great inspirational book that I will share with my friends from Church and hopefully get it passed around so it gets in someone's hands that needed it as much as me. I lost my Mom and Sister recently and my Dad came to live with us which is a good thing but changes our plans a lot. I learned from this book that you need to be happy with and what you have. You bless other people and you'll be blessed back! I know it is a book with Christmas stories and they can bless you any time of the year.


119 reviews3 followers

December 25, 2009

Really enjoyed the stories and the perspective on events both biblical and personal to the author. Some of the jokes didn't turn out (you know, the ones that are better said than read) but other elements and moments of dry humor made me laugh out loud. I initially thought the book was a compilation of stories from various people (not sure why) but once I started reading I loved the personal look into Huckabee's life.


688 reviews5 followers

November 29, 2010

This was an interesting book as long as you keep it in context. While I was looking for a book about simplifying Christmas for my family and this wasn't really it, it did have some interesting stories.

One story in particular when he had to decided between finishing grad school and taking a job that was his dream job reminded me of something important. Sometimes you get where you are supposed to go regardless of the pathway you take to get there.



273 reviews

January 4, 2010

This book was great to read and interesting to find out more about Mike Huckabee's life. It helps me think about the more important things during the Christmas season. It seemed a little more like a memoir of Mike Huckabee's life with some Christmas stories weaved in. He has been through some amazing things in his life.

Mary Ann

189 reviews

December 19, 2009

Fun read! Huckabee reminds us that "God continues to speak to us through simple things that no amount of money can buy" like the original Christmas- Christ's birth. I enjoyed all of the stories. Some were touching,others instructive and all were humorous. I am impressed with the humility, insight and humor that shines in his reminiscing.



8 reviews2 followers

December 20, 2009

I like the sense of humor throughout the book, his sensative side also comes out totally out of love, not sissified. And the saying from a movie fits it perfectly.. "less is more". Love is what makes the world go around anyway, not stuff. He's got my vote again if he runs for office somewhere down the road.


685 reviews

December 7, 2012

Not fictional stories but actually stories from his life. Nice memories and some interesting info about Huckabee. Didn't know that while he was governor of Arkansas he was in a rock band that opened for bands like Grand Funk Railroad, 38 Special, and the Charlie Daniels Band. The stories vary from serious to amusing.

Katie Christian

212 reviews4 followers

December 10, 2010

Hmm... I'm not sure how to feel about this book. There wasn't exactly anything all that interesting in Mr. Huckabee's stories, but I do truly enjoy memoirs. I think I may have gotten more out of the non-Christmas anecdotes than I did from his holiday tales. He definitely told a couple interesting and/or entertaining moments from his past, so I give him points for that.

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