A Christmas Memory

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
A Christmas Memory Book Poster Image
This tale deserves to be shared every holiday.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

The old woman teaches the importance of giving, and the characters go to great lengths to make their gifts.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that a child drinks a little whiskey and lives with an assortment of relatives instead of with his parents. Otherwise there is nothing to be concerned about, and much to be enjoyed.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byi<3xxx November 13, 2011
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byMs. Penny December 10, 2009

Very touching, with a sweet message about love.

Great movie! I watch it every Christmas, with or without kids!
Teen, 16 years old Written byHonestChristian... December 14, 2020

Beautiful, poignant story with a heartbreaking ending (Spoiler-free)

This short story, written by Truman Capote, is a autobiographical tale about how he spent a Christmas with his distant older cousin. He is simply called "B... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byBrigidArmbrust January 20, 2019

What's the story?

Truman Capote recalls a Christmas past, when he was 7 years old and living with an assortment of relatives. One, a 60ish, rather childlike distant cousin, is his best, and only, friend, as he is hers. Each year they save up money to buy the ingredients they can't gather for free to make 30 fruitcakes, which they send mostly to strangers they admire.

Capote relates in some detail their four-day extravaganza of gathering, preparing, and baking, and the homely way they spend the holidays together. Includes a CD of Celeste Holm reading the story.

Is it any good?

This new 50th-anniversary edition of Truman Capote's delightful, poignant, and now classic story could not be more perfectly suited to the text. The delicate watercolor illustrations, taken from a 1989 edition, capture the understated gentleness of the story, while on the accompanying CD Celeste Holm reads the text in a warm, grandmotherly voice with a slight Southern lilt and a humorous enthusiasm.

A CHRISTMAS MEMORY, more vignette than story, captures with great gentleness and fascinating detail a distant time of wood-burning stoves, chamber pots, open fields, and a slower pace. For today's children this is a glimpse of a world that is almost beyond imagination, and more compelling than fantasy. It is a sleepy book to be shared between adult and child. This is one of those stories they'll ask for every year, and you'll be glad to bring it out again and, curling up with a child you love, take a trip to a time long gone.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the unusual friendship. Why do Buddy and his elderly cousin have such a close friendship? Why do the adults treat her the way they do? Your children may want to make fruitcake for their friends after reading it.

Book details

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate