Are you ready for Christmas season yet? It IS just October…but we’ve just had the opportunity to review a lovely series that your family will love at Christmastime! The Familyman Todd Wilson has written and recorded The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury – Audio Collection. We received both a CD copy of one story and the entire collection of Digital Downloads to review for the Homeschool Review Crew. (It’s also available as a 6-CD set.) What fun!
What is “The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury?”
How would you like a lovely collection of living stories for your family to snuggle up together and listen to this Christmas? The Familyman Todd Wilson has written a collection of touching, hilarious, moving, and faith-building stories which can be enjoyed by the entire family. He’s put them together in The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury – Audio Collection in either CD format or Digital Downloads. We received a CD copy of one story and digital downloads of 8 others (one as both CD and digital download). All of the stories are engagingly read by Jim Hodge, who has a great background in audio stories. The stories are also available in book form from The Familyman. The bonus about having audiobooks is that (especially if you’re “read-aloud” fans) nobody has to do the reading; you can just pop in the CD or turn on the mp3 player and listen all together!
The Treasury includes….
six wonderful audio stories. We actually received 8 digital downloads (plus we received The Bishop’s Dream in CD format); Todd Wilson was kind enough to provide two extra Christmas stories for us:
- Captain Chaos and the Manger Blaster
- Gladys Remembers Christmas
- Cootie McKay’s Nativity
- Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest
- It’s Called Christmas
- The Stranger
- The Bishop’s Dream
- The Secret of Snow Village
Each story is read by Jim Hodges and lasts 15-20 minutes.
So….what are these stories actually about?
All kinds of subjects and family events that would have to do with Christmas. And without sappiness, but with lots of great redemptive storylines, and truths about what Christmas really is! Here are some summaries of some of my own favorites, just to give you a bit of flavor of these stories:
- In Gladys Remembers Christmas, a woman who sort of hates both her name and Christmas is packing up her widowed father’s home after he’s had to move into assisted living. She enters the big dark house to find a particular box her father has asked for, that is tucked away in the attic next to the Christmas ornament boxes and supplies. What she finds inside the box is –not to oversell the story– transformational.
- On a kid-friendly note that still tells a meaningful story is Captain Chaos and the Manger Blaster. Jason thinks that Christmas and the manger would be a LOT more interesting if Captain Chaos and his trusty blaster had participated in the story. He is TIRED of that story and thinks it needs some livening up. Or maybe he just wishes it hadn’t happened. In a way that reminded me of “The Man Without A Country” updated and reshaped around Christmas, Jason gets a taste of what things would be like if baby Jesus hadn’t ever come to earth at all.
- Cootie McKay’s Nativity tells the engaging tale of a wrecked town nativity scene and the town oddball who fixes up a replacement nativity set when the town’s budget won’t cover a brand-new one, told from the eyes of a boy and his dad who see the whole thing from start to finish. Wonderful!
- Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest provides a moment for a dad to tell his child why he hauls out the garish, outlandish vest every Christmas–and what it means to many.
- There’s also The Bishop’s Dream (what if the read St. Nicholas traveled forward through time and saw what Christmas is like today?); It’s Called Christmas (what if in the future, “Merry Christmas” has been replaced completely with “Happy Holidays”?); The Stranger (what happens when a homeless-looking man knocks at everyone’s doors at Christmastime–do they let him in or not?); and The Secret of Snow Village (if you were a little girl, wouldn’t you want to step inside your grandmother’s tiny snow village for yourself?).
As I mentioned, we received The Bishop’s Dream on CD. That made it easy to pop into the CD player in the car for trips around town. All the rest of the stories were downloaded digitally. I saved some of them to our PC and the rest of them to my Kindle Fire. (I find that I’m not always able to be at my computer, but I usually have my Kindle with me, which made listening easy to do!)
Our family is in a season (we’ve just started high school homeschool) during which it seems as though we don’t have as much time for listening to audio stories. (We made time for these though!) We still love read-aloud stories though, so adding “living-books”-type stories continues to be a value for us. We listened to these either just playing from the Kindle, or sometimes with earbuds via the computer.
What we thought
First of all, there couldn’t have been a better choice for an audio performer than Jim Hodge. He is the best storyteller ever! (Now, can I just find a way to bring him to our house to do our family read-alouds….) He makes things so interesting and it’s always clear what’s going on in the story. Just fabulous.
The audio is beautifully-recorded as well. I really don’t enjoy it when we listen to audio books or stories and constantly have to turn the audio up (when there are voices) or down (when the background music swells, but swells so loudly it hurts our ears). That just makes us less likely overall to listen to those books or stories. I can happily tell you that we didn’t have to do that one single time with this Christmas Treasury! The audio levels were just perfect.
And of course, I have to mention the stories. Without being saccharine or sappy, these stories are sweet. But in many ways, they pose interesting questions, like “What would things be like if Jesus hadn’t come?” or “can that weirdo do anything right?” Or, they show us what Saint Nicholas might think if he were able to observe how we “do” Christmas today. Todd Wilson has asked some fascinating questions in his stories, and answered them in ways that are believable, redemptive, and memorable. And I can’t forget to include the adjective “enjoyable!” Your family, with kids who are younger or older, will enjoy listening to these stories. Grab a cup of hot cocoa, a warm blanket, and cuddle up together to hear stories that will not only show you the true meaning of Christmas, but get you in the mood for joyful celebration at the same time!
Visit Todd Wilson, the Familyman, at the following links!
You can purchase The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury – Audio Collection in a 6-CD format or as Digital Downloads at The Familyman. Other Crew members also reviewed these, and you can read about their experiences by clicking on the banner below. And don’t forget to visit Todd Wilson, the The Familyman, at the social media sites below!
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/107435990705080484154