Dysfunctional Family Christmas Gift Ideas

chicken-soupAlthough our family of artists, writers, musicians (and one lonely little plumber) are occasionally viewed as “eccentric”, probably only 100% left-brained people would be quick to label all of us, except one, as truly “dysfunctional”. (And that one isn’t the plumber!)

However, a traumatic family event with a bittersweet ending prompted me to submit a story – under a pen name – to Chicken Soup for the Soul: All In The Family, which promptly got accepted.

I received my copies of the book just the other week. I laughed when I saw the subtitle:  “101 Incredible Stories about Our Funny, Quirky, Lovable & Dysfunctional Families.”  (Emphasis mine – I’ll admit, I thought: “No wonder my story got accepted for that particular volume.”)

Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family is not your run-of-the-mill Chicken Soup fare. Nestled among the hilariously funny, warm and fuzzy ones you’ll find a batch of incredibly poignant heart-breakers featuring truly traumatic events caused by alcoholism, abuse, mental illness, poverty… the sort of candid stuff Chicken Soup doesn’t usually admit even exists. But the ultimate effect is the same as ever: Inspiring, healing, elevating – and entertaining. It’s easy to while away the time reading these rich personal stories.

My favorite story – and it’s not mine – is one where the Christmas turkey accidentally got stuffed with marijuana by unsuspecting, strait-laced parents. (And I’m pretty strait-laced, myself!)

Jack Canfield must have been a little nervous about this departure from Chicken Soup’s apple-pie image, but he needn’t have worried. Within a couple of weeks of its release, I received a letter from publisher Amy Newark saying: “We had to do a second printing before we even got to the on-sale date of October 20th! We have had an amazing start with the book, with strong sales the first week…” and that it had been “chosen by our distributors for our special stand-alone Christmas displays, which you will see at CVS and other stores around Thanksgiving.

But it doesn’t matter whether your favorite stories involve Animals, Angels, Sports, Moms, Dads, Kids or even Truly Dysfunctional Families – I am reminded that Chicken Soup books make great Christmas gifts . (There’s even a “Christmas” version out in the book shops, right now!)

And even better, they make great holiday reading.

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