Friday, November 19, 2021

Review: "Unpacking Christmas" by Beth K. Vogt

I've really enjoyed the books I read in the Thatcher Sisters series, so of course I wanted to read the new Christmas novella!

Johanna, Jillian, and Payton’s excitement about the Christmas holidays is upset when their parents announce they’re selling their long-time family home. Soon the sisters find themselves facing a variety of unexpected changes, including a serious health scare for their dad. Instead of putting up holiday lights and decorating the family Christmas tree, the Thatcher sisters are helping pack up their childhood home. Along the way, they share treasured memories as they try to hold onto valued traditions, discovering the struggles they’ve endured pale in comparison to the love they share with each other.

Genre: Contemporary/Women’s Fiction
Release date: November 2021

Unpacking Christmas is a nice return to the world of the Thatcher family. Set in the weeks leading up to Christmas 2021 (with an epilogue set in early 2022), the novella finds the three sisters on firmer footing than ever before. But things quickly spiral when Don and Heather, the girls' parents, announce they've purchased a new house and will be selling the family home. On top of that, each sister is dealing with an upcoming major life change.

What I really appreciate about this novella is that you can clearly see growth in the characters, not necessarily in the novella, but through the course of the series. I do think that having a background in the sisters' stories helped with my understanding and enjoyment of the novella; I've read the first two books, and I could certainly appreciate Payton's and Jillian's arcs more than Johanna's, as I haven't read Johanna's story (The Best We've Been). That said, I definitely enjoyed seeing where the sisters' stories went in Unpacking Christmas.

The story is written in third person from Payton's, Jillian's, and Johanna's perspectives, as well as in first person from their mom Heather's perspective. I enjoyed hearing from each person, though the shift into first person for Heather was always a bit jarring. 

Faith has been at the forefront of the novels in this series, and Unpacking Christmas is no different. Each person has a different faith journey, and at the end of Unpacking Christmas, not all the characters have a relationship with God. This feels really authentic to me - as much as I would love to see all of the characters fall in love with Jesus, that's not realistic, especially in a short two month-ish window. But I also may write an ending in my head that has them all coming to Christ at some point :-)

Overall, I enjoyed this check-in with the Thatchers, and I'd certainly be up for a return trip to their world! 3-1/2 stars.

Buy the book. (Amazon ad)

Read my reviews of Vogt's Moments We Forget (4-1/2 stars),  Wish You Were Here (5 stars), Catch a Falling Star (4-1/2 stars), A November Bride (4-1/2 stars), Somebody Like You (5 stars), and Crazy Little Thing Called Love (4-1/2 stars).

Follow the blog tour:
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 8
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 9
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 9
Texas Book-aholic, November 10
Livin’ Lit, November 10
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 11
Splashes of Joy, November 11
Inklings and notions, November 12
lakesidelivingsite, November 13
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 14
Simple Harvest Reads, November 14 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Where Faith and Books Meet, November 15
Genesis 5020, November 15
For Him and My Family, November 16
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 16
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 17
SusanLovesBooks, November 17
deb’s Book Review, November 18
Spoken from the Heart, November 18
Locks, Hooks and Books, November 19
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, November 19
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 20
Through the fire blogs, November 20
She Lives To Read, November 21

To celebrate her tour, Beth is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card, a copy of Unpacking Christmas: A Thatcher Sisters Christmas Novella, and a set of the Thatcher Sisters Series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored ten contemporary romance novels and novellas, The Best We’ve Been, the final book in Beth’s Thatcher Sisters Series with Tyndale House Publishers, released May 2020. Other books in the women’s fiction series include Things I Never Told You, which won the 2019 AWSA Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year, and Moments We Forget. Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Learn How to Write a Novel and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. Visit Beth at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. Thank you for participating in the Celebrate Lit blog tour. I appreciate it.

  2. Good book for holiday reading.
    Thanks for the contest.

  3. I enjoyed following the tour and learning about Unpacking Christmas, which sounds like a great holiday read! Thanks for sharing it with me and I hope the tour was a success! Good luck with your book and have a wonderful holiday season! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Christian and have a wonderful holiday season!

  4. This sounds like a great Christmas read.

  5. Thank you for sharing! This looks so good!


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