Monday, December 13, 2010

Max Elliot Anderson grew up as a struggling, reluctant reader. Using his extensive experience in the production of motion pictures, videos, and television commercials, he brings the same visual excitement and heart-pounding action to his adventure and mystery stories, written especially for boys 8 and up. Both boys and girls have reported that reading one of his books is like being in an exciting movie.

Find Max online at And Check out the
Books for Boys Blog.

We’re focusing on Christmas all this month! What do you most associate with Christmas where you live?

My wife and I live in Rockford, Illinois. The city has an extensive parks system. In one of the largest of these parks, the community, businesses, and churches participated in a festival of lights. People drive their cars through the park, through tall oak trees and evergreens, to enjoy looking at all the displays. Many of the businesses tend to celebrate the season, but some, along with the church displays, make a point of celebrating Christ’s birthday.

Do you have any special family traditions you do at Christmas time?

Things are different now, since our children are grown and not living in the area. They do come for Christmas, and we do more adult things together. One tradition we have always had is to attend the Christmas eve service at our church, First Evangelical Free. Then we come home and have a nice dinner. After that, we gather around the Christmas tree and I usually do some sort of reading, give a fun quiz, or something like that. This year I’ll be reading my Christmas short story from the Chicken Soup book. I’ve been careful not to share it with any of the family so it will be new to them that night. We always have a fire in the fireplace, and then enjoy the rest of the evening together. When the kids were small, we used to give out one gift on Christmas Eve.

Opening of presents always happens on Christmas morning, after a big breakfast. Then, later in the day, we’ll have a Christmas dinner. People are free to do whatever they want to for the balance of the day. Then we often go to one of the holiday movies in the evening.

Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol and if so do you know why?

It would have to be Silent Night. No only do I enjoy the words of that carol, I love the story behind it

If you could spend Christmas any way you could how would you celebrate?

I think it would be great to spend Christmas in an isolated cabin, in the Rockies, snowbound, with my family, provided we had the supplies we needed including a fireplace and a Christmas tree.

Do you have any special memories of Christmas?

Aside from my own childhood, the most special memories come from when our children were old enough to understand and participate in Christmas. When they were small, they’d get up early on Christmas morning, bring out all their stuffed animals and dolls, and make an elaborate display. One year they gave a puppet show. But the most memorable, and it only happened one time, was the year that they put on a play. Our daughter played Mary, and our son was Joseph. It was very sweet, and even included Mary pregnant at first, and then the baby Jesus was born. They did this all on their own. I think our son was nine or ten at the time, and our daughter would have been seven or eight.

Do you have any Christmas movies or Christmas books you like to see or read each year?

I have a favorite book now with this new, hardbound, Chicken Soup Christmas book. It will be kept with our decorations and come out each year from now on. Instead of movies or other books, we like to play a lot of Christmas music CDs. Our schedule is so full at Christmas that we don’t have a lot of time for a special movie or other book.

Tell us a little about your book:

It’s actually two books. Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Gift of Christmas is sold exclusively by Wal-Mart and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tales of Christmas will be sold exclusively by Barnes & Noble during the Christmas season. These are hardbound books with very attractive covers which are different for each volume. One of the books has the traditional 101 stories while the other has over 120.

Where did you get the idea for NO CHRISTMAS PRESENTS?

This is a true story that happened when I was a small boy. There were seven children in our family, so the number of presents we could expect was limited. Then, in the year of this story, a missionary came to our home and told us about the children he served who would have little or noting for Christmas. We voted to send him all of our Christmas present money which meant there would be no presents for us this year. So, the title was easy. It’s called No Presents for Christmas. What happened was nothing short of a miracle and something I will never forget. Our family still talks about it to this day. That year, we learned that it is much more blessed to give than receive.

Do you have a Christmas message for my readers?

We need to hold fast to the fact that this isn’t simply winter break from school, or a happy holiday. It’s not even a time to think about presents. This is the day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s the time when he came from heaven, was born as a child, and lived among us for 33 years, to show us how we can become a part of God’s forever family. What an amazing, free gift. Now that’s something


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