Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Book Review: The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

Book Synopsis:
Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that's exactly what she's getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix--in the dead of winter, no less--the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off with Joy toward Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride--one that could derail the whole venture.

No one captures the heartwarming fun of the Christmas season quite like Melody Carlson. Fasten your seat belt, because it's going to be an exciting ride!


My Review:
This is a delightful Christmas read about two women, one a senior citizen and one much younger, who travel down Route 66 in an RV spreading Christmas cheer.  It is a fast read, and perfect for an afternoon with a cup of cocoa, relaxing in the middle of the busy holiday season.

One of my life dreams is to travel Route 66 in an RV, so that aspect of the book immediately appealed to me.  I enjoyed traveling along in the book. 

This is my first Melody Carlson read, but it will certainly not be my last.  I enjoyed the heartwarming storytelling and the likable, sympathetic characters found in this book.  It would make a wonderful Hallmark movie!  Highly recommended as a Christmas season read.



About the Author:
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than two hundred books with combined sales of more than six million. She is the author of the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, Christmas at Harrington's, and The Christmas Cat. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com.

I received this book from Revell Reads in exchange for an honest review.

Did You Know Tuesday: Aluminum Christmas Trees

Did you grow up with aluminum Christmas trees?  I didn't;  we had live trees when I was a little girl, and artificial (green) trees later due to allergies. I always thought the aluminum trees were pretty, though, and am glad they have become popular again during the last few years.

The Aluminum Specialty Company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin began manufacturing these trees in 1959.  The owner of the company had seen a store display aluminum tree the previous year, and decided to manufacture these beauties for the home market.  The company became Evergleam, and these trees originally sold for $25.00.   This is an ad for an Evergleam Frosty aluminum Christmas tree:



In the 1960's, these trees became very popular, available in various sizes, and prices went down because they were readily available.  They were available in silver, pink, teal, and flocked.  Do you remember the scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas when Lucy sends Charlie Brown out to buy a tree?  She tells him she wants a "big, shiny aluminum tree . . . maybe painted pink."

This silver tree sold for just $18.50 in a 1960's catalog:


There were also color wheels available to spin and illuminate the tree in changing colors.  The trees were often decorated with Shiny Brite ornaments, which were light enough not to crush or weigh down the branches.  Some trees rotated on a mechanical base, and others even had an element to play music.

This 1962 Spiegel catalog page features a color wheel, a silver tree, a flocked tree, and other tree accessories:
 


Aluminum trees were everywhere!  This ad is from Rexall drug store:


The trees became less popular by the late 1960's, and Evergleam stopped producing them in 1969.  Smaller companies followed suit by the early 1970's.

Aluminum Christmas trees have become popular again in recent years as the interest in atomic ranch homes and MCM (Mid-Century Modern) design has grown.  If I find one at a local estate sale or yard sale at some point, I may have to bring it home.

Do you remember aluminum Christmas trees?  Did you ever have one?   Do you like them, or do you prefer a traditional green Christmas tree?   I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.