"Sometimes when I think about this Great Depression I think that there has never been such a collision between realness and fantasy. It is as if we are standing with our feet in the muck and grime of these hard times but our noses are pressed up against the windows of some fantastically glamorous world. These times are so strange."
Minnie Swift[2]
Christmas After All: The Great Depression Diary of Minnie Swift is the twenty-fifth book in Scholastic's Dear America series. It was Kathryn Lasky's third book for the series. The book was first published in September 2001 and republished eleven years later in 2012 with new cover art.

Minnie Swift's cousin, Willie Faye Darling, recently orphaned, comes to live with the Swift family during the Great Depression.


"In memory of my mother Hortense Falender Lasky, her sisters and brother and my father Marven Lasky"

Book description

"November 25, 1932
This is going to be an odd Christmas, no doubt about it. Instead of sugar plums and stockings stuffed with goodies and stacks of presents under the tree, a Time of Bounty, I am thinking of this as The Time of The Dwindling. Everything is diminishing—our money, the light of day, and even the hours that Papa works. But in my heart I know we Swifts are tough—hardened off like those seedlings. I just know that somehow, someway, this shall be Christmas.

"My name is Minnie. This is my story....
For Minnie Swift, Christmas is not going to be the time of bounty she's used to. It's 1932—the middle of the Great Depression. Jobs are scarce, as are holiday treats. Yet when their orphaned cousin comes to live with them, the Swifts are quick to make room for her. Minnie, thrilled to have someone close to her age in their home, is resolved to make Christmas memorable despite the hard times. But when Papa disappears and the family's resources continue to dwindle, a joyous holiday season becomes less and less of a possibility. Will Papa return home in time for the Swift family to have a merry Christmas after all? Through her diary entries, Minnie captures the hardships of the Great Depression, the fortitude of the American spirit, and the magic of Christmas.


Eleven-year-old, Minnie Swift prepares for the upcoming Christmas season during the Great Depression in 1932. Minnie has a large joyous family, including her parents, Belle and Sam, and four siblings, Gwendolyn "Gwen", Clementine "Clem", Adelaide "Lady", and Osgood "Ozzie". The Swifts receive a telegram, announcing that their distant cousin, Willie Faye Darling is coming to live with them. They welcome Willie Faye, whose parents had passed away, to their home with open arms.

Willie Faye, from a small town in the Texas Panhandle, is a bit of a fish-out-of-water in the busy Indianapolis. The following day, Minnie takes Willie Faye to school with her. She is placed in the fourth grade, despite being the same age as Minnie. Although, she doesn't know as much. She doesn't even know what an adjective is! Soon, they prepare to go to a birthday party for Minnie's classmate, Bernadette. On the day of the party, they arrive at the house and hear a "sharp crack" and loud scream. Later, they learn that Bernadette's father killed himself. After this incident, Willie Faye opens up to Minnie about her mother dying.

As Christmas inches closer, Minnie's father rarely comes down from his room and devotes all his time to typing. Sam eventually loses his job and leaves the house. Minnie's mother worries, despite him leaving her a note telling her not too. Minnie questions whether her father will come back, until Willie Faye tells her, "you just kind of got to believe." Ozzie remains unsure and helps his mother pay for a detective to find Sam.

The whole family is in low spirits, but continue to "soldier on." They sit down to eat dinner on Christmas Eve, yet realise they have no appetite. Clem decides that they should go and give their food to the needy. After returning, they are greeted by their father. Sam reveals that he had sold three scripts in Chicago. Everyone beams from happiness and begin exchanging Christmas presents. Afterwards, Minnie thinks about how Willie Faye "helped [her] believe."


Main article: List of Christmas After All characters


Main article: Kathryn Lasky

Kathryn Lasky (born June 24, 1944) is an American children's author. She is also known for writing The Night Journey, Wolves of the Beyond, and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series. She is the author of four books in Dear America, including A Journey to the New World, Dreams in the Golden Country, and A Time for Courage. Lasky also contributed five books in The Royal Diaries, one in My Name Is America, and three in My America.

Lasky described Christmas After All as her favourite book that she has written for Dear America as well as "the most personal." The Swift family was based on the family of Lasky's mother, and the Swift girls were an amalgamation of her mother and four aunts. Many of the events and details in the book were inspired by Lasky's own childhood.



  • NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People (2002)[4]
  • Young Hoosier Book Award (2004-05) - nominee[5]


See also

v - e - dDear America

A Journey to the New World | The Winter of Red Snow | When Will This Cruel War Be Over? | A Picture of Freedom
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly
West to a Land of Plenty | Dreams in the Golden Country | Standing in the Light | Voyage on the Great Titanic
A Line in the Sand | My Heart Is on the Ground | The Great Railroad Race | The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow
A Light in the Storm | Color Me Dark | A Coal Miner's Bride | My Secret War | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
Valley of the Moon | Seeds of Hope | Early Sunday Morning | My Face to the Wind | Christmas After All
A Time for Courage | Where Have All the Flowers Gone? | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall | Survival in the Storm
When Christmas Comes Again | Land of the Buffalo Bones | Love Thy Neighbor | All the Stars in the Sky
Look to the Hills | I Walk in Dread | Hear My Sorrow


The Fences Between Us | Like the Willow Tree | Cannons at Dawn | With the Might of Angels | Behind the Masks
Down the Rabbit Hole | A City Tossed and Broken

External links

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