The Christmas Box
The Christmas Box Trilogy
“Whatever the reason, I find that with each passing Christmas the story of The Christmas Box is told less and needed more. So I record it now for all future generations to accept or dismiss as seems them good. As for me, I believe. And it is, after all, my story.”
About the Book
So begins The Christmas Box, the touching story of a widow and the young family who moves in with her. Rick, Keri, and their 4-year-old daughter, Jenna, are hired as caretakers and are welcomed into the Victorian home of Mary Parkins, an elderly widow, just before the holiday season. As the relationship between Mary and the family develops we learn that Mary’s past sorrows are compelling her to share an important message with Richard. But will he understand her message in time? A heartwarming story of parental love, healing, and Christmas.
A beautifully packaged 30th anniversary edition of #1 New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans’s classic tale of faith, hope, and Christmas miracles.
Thirty years ago, Richard Paul Evans wrote a small Christmas tale for his two young daughters—an expression of love celebrating the joy of fatherhood and the beauty of childhood. Evans printed a couple dozen copies of his book and shared it with family and friends, which they began sharing with their loved ones. As demand for his book grew, Evans printed up copies of his sweet tale and began selling them at local stores in Salt Lake City. Within a few years, what began as a private expression of love for his two young daughters evolved into a beloved gift whose popularity quickly spread throughout the world. Soon, his masterpiece became a global phenomenon, becoming one of the most bestselling books of the century.
Now, this special anniversary edition brings this heartwarming novel to a new generation. The moving and unforgettable story of a widow and the young family who come to live with her is a modern classic you’ll want to share with all your loved ones from the “king of Christmas fiction” (The New York Times).
This reading group guide for The Christmas Box 30th Anniversary Edition includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
Thirty years ago, Richard Paul Evans wrote a small Christmas tale for his two young daughters—an expression of love celebrating the joy of fatherhood and the beauty of childhood. Within a few years, what began as a private expression of love for his daughters evolved into a beloved gift whose popularity quickly spread throughout the world. Soon, his masterpiece became a global phenomenon, becoming one of the best-selling books of the century.
Now, this special anniversary edition brings this heartwarming novel to a new generation. The moving and unforgettable story of a widow and the young family who come to live with her is a modern classic from the “king of Christmas fiction” (The New York Times) that you’ll want to share with all your loved ones.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
- The book begins with a quote from Natalie Merchant. What did this quote mean to you before you read the book? Did the meaning of the quote change after you finished the story?
- The story is written in the first-person point of view. Do you believe this decision impacted how you read and connected with the story? If yes, how?
- Throughout the story, Richard Paul Evans includes vivid descriptions of the book’s settings—for example, the deep description of Mary’s house. How did this impact your reading experience? Do you believe this was intentional
- What was your impression of Mary when she first entered the story? Did that impression change by the end?
- What was your first impression of the angel dream? What message did you believe it was sending? Did your opinion of the message change by the end of the story?
- At one point in the story, Keri asks Mary what senses she believes are most affected by Christmas. Out of the five senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing), which do you believe are most affected by Christmas? If you don’t celebrate Christmas, answer according to your own favorite religious holiday.
- How did your view of fatherhood, and the role of a father, change throughout the story? Is it different from the way you saw those things before you finished the book? How did Richard’s journey impact you?
- At the end of the story, Richard makes the decision to burn Mary’s letters. Do you agree with this choice? Would you have done the same? Why or why not?
- While the story focuses on Richard, how do you believe Keri was impacted by his journey? How did she evolve throughout the book?
- A main theme of the story is child loss. After finishing the book and understanding Mary’s experience, what ways do you believe you can support someone going through the grief of child loss?
- Traditional household roles had a major impact on Richard and Keri’s experiences, with Richard working outside the home and Keri taking care of the household responsibilities. How do you think the story would differ if these roles were switched?
- This story has impacted the lives of millions of readers in different ways. What do you think was the most impactful scene, and why?
Enhance Your Book Club
- At the beginning of the book, Richard Paul Evans discusses the Christmas Box Angel monuments around the world. Find the closest Angel monument to you and pay a visit, if possible.
- One real-life impact of Richard Paul Evans’s story was the Christmas Box Houses that shelter abused and neglected children. If possible, find a children’s shelter near you and volunteer for a day.
- The Christmas Box is an object that reminds you of what’s important in life. Go around the group and discuss what your object—your Christmas Box—would be, and why.
- It’s crafting time! With your group, gather materials to build and decorate your own Christmas Box and discuss what you will fill it with.
When I wrote The Christmas Box, I never intended to publish the story – it was simply an expression of love for my two young daughters, Jenna and Allyson. Though I often told them that I loved them, I didn’t believe that they could ever really understand the depth of those feelings until they had experienced the joy of rearing their own children, and by that time our relationship would have already changed. Forever. In writing The Christmas Box, I hoped that at some future time they could read this book and know of their father’s love.
As I began to write, I was amazed at the inspiration which flowed into my mind and heart. I completed the book in less than six weeks and, when I had finished, I produced twenty copies to give as Christmas presents to my family and friends. In the next four weeks those twenty copies were shared from family to family, and friend to friend. I never imagined that what began as a tale for two little girls would spread to millions throughout the world. The inspiration, which began with The Christmas Box, is continued with Timepiece, the story of David and Mary Anne Parkin, in which we learn where the Christmas box and the angel statue had come from and the powerful lessons of hope the couple learned from their little girl, Andrea. I have learned from those who have read my stories that books can heal, and characters like Mary Anne Parkin, though fictitious, can provide warmth and companionship.
- The Christmas Box has more than 8 million copies in print. If you were to stack them on top of each other they would roughly by the height of 258 Empire State buildings.
- The Angel Statue in the book has become a “Mecca” of sorts, and people come from around the world to lay a flower at its base. There are currently more than 100 full-size replicas of the statue around the world.
30th Anniversary Edition Published November 7, 2023
Length: 144 pages
First Edition Published November 1995
Simon & Schuster
Length: 128 pages
Mary Higgins Clark
The Washington Post
Barnes & Noble
The Christmas Box Movie
A ski-shop owner reluctantly moves himself, his wife, and his daughter into an estate as live-in help for an elderly widow. While struggling to balance his career and family life, he has recurring dreams about an angel.
Released December 17, 1995
Director: Marcus Cole
Teleplay: Richard Fielder
Executive Producer: Richard Paul Evans
Richard Thomas (Richard Evans)
Maureen O’Hara (Mrs. Mary Parkin)
Annette O’Toole (Keri Evans)
Kelsey Mulrooney (Jenna Evans)
The TV movie of the Christmas Box, starring Maureen O’Hara and Richard Thomas, was the #1 rated television movie of 1995 and won an Emmy. Richard and his family have a small cameo appearance in the movie when the “Evans” goes out to buy a Christmas tree, the fictional Evans family walks past the real Evans family in the Christmas tree lot.
1996 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Costuming for a Miniseries or a Special
Jean Rosone (key costumer)
1995 Christopher Award
First presented in 1949, the Christopher Awards were established by Christopher founder Father James Keller to salute media that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.” Their goal is to encourage men, women and children to pursue excellence in creative arenas that have the potential to influence a mass audience positively. Award winners encourage audiences to see the better side of human nature and motivate artists and the general public to use their best instincts on behalf of others.