Jimmy Carter remembers Christmas in Plains, Georgia, the source of spiritual strength, respite, friendship, and vacation fun in this charming portrait.
In a beautifully rendered portrait, Jimmy Carter remembers the Christmas days of his Plains boyhood—the simplicity of family and community gift-giving, his father’s eggnog, the children’s house decorations, the school Nativity pageant, the fireworks, Luke’s story of the birth of Christ, and the poignancy of his black neighbors’ poverty.
Later, away at Annapolis, he always went home to Plains, and during his Navy years, when he and Rosalynn were raising their young family, they spent their Christmases together recreating for their children the holiday festivities of their youth.
Since the Carters returned home to Plains for good, they have always been there on Christmas Day, with only one exception in forty-eight years: In 1980, with Americans held hostage in Iran, Jimmy, Rosalynn, and Amy went by themselves to Camp David, where they felt lonely. Amy suggested that they invite the White House staff and their families to join them and to celebrate.
Nowadays the Carters’ large family is still together at Christmastime, offering each other the gifts and the lifelong rituals that mark this day for them.
With the novelist’s eye that enchanted readers of his memoir An Hour Before Daylight, Jimmy Carter has written another American classic, in the tradition of Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory and Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales.
This slim yet deeply textured memoir detailing former president Carter's Christmases as a boy in rural Georgia, as a naval officer, a politician and president serves as an excellent companion to his earlier, bestselling memoir, An Hour Before Daylight, but can also be read on its own as a tribute to family and a reminder that economy of gifts doesn't have to mean economy of generosity. Told in clear, honest language, these engaging vignettes range from endearing stories from his boyhood using the tinfoil from his father's cigarette packs to make tinsel for the tree as well as revealing ones Carter's thoughts and feelings during the hostage crisis in the Middle East toward the end of his presidency. These are the humble and heartfelt experiences that shaped and reflect his character: stories of his close black friends in the pre civil rights era, of one memorable holiday involving a truckload of grapefruit, of another at Camp David, of trying to spend some quiet moments alone with his family in Plains even with the Secret Service in tow. The message illustrated throughout could not be more timely that gifts from the heart are the most important kind and should not be restricted to one's own family.