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The Unfinished Gift

By Dan Walsh


It's Christmastime in 1943. An old man is without his son, a young boy without his father. Patrick Collins has just three things on his Christmas list. He wants the Army to find his father. He wants to leave his grandfather's house. And he wants the dusty wooden soldier in his grandfather's attic--the one he is forbidden to touch.

Book Takeaway:

One of the great challenges the holiday poses is this almost ironic contradiction between holiday expectations and holiday reality. It's supposed to be a time where families come together to enjoy and celebrate the wonders of the season. But many families have fractured and broken relationships. So for them, it merely magnifies the emptiness and pain they feel inside. I wanted to write a story that might bridge this gap and point people to the hope of a new beginning, through receiving God's forgiveness and then forgiving others as He has forgiven them. The power of God’s forgiveness has certainly changed my life. Little Patrick Collins and this unfinished wooden soldier provided me an opportunity to do just that.


Year Title Description
2010 Carol Award (ACFW Book of the Year) Debut Author
2010 Carol Award (ACFW Book of the Year) Short Historical Category

Why the author wrote this book:

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it. All the secular traditions like Christmas songs, Christmas trees, decorations, houses done up with lights, the food, the egg nog. Since my last year in high school, when I first really understood the gospel of Jesus Christ, I've also enjoyed reflecting more deeply on the "reason for the season." I enjoy the goofier Christmas movies (like The Christmas Story and Elf) but I especially love the more classic tales like The Christmas Carol and It's A Wonderful Life. Though I've seen them many times, they always get me. A few years ago, as another Christmas season ended, I decided I wanted to write a story that at least had the potential to affect others the way these stories affected me. The Unfinished Gift flowed out from there.


""Although this is a debut novel, we have a Christmas classic in the making. A story readers will want to revisit year after year," - Lena Nelson Dooley"
- Dan on June 21, 2010

""This touching story with themes of forgiveness and redemption is a wonderful read for the Christmas season. It would make a great gift too!" - Deborah Raney"
- Dan on June 21, 2010

""The Unfinished Gift is one for the keeper shelf! Dan's book is a fabulous story of redemption and forgiveness. I couldn't put it down and it made me cry. Loved it!" -- Colleen Coble"
- Dan on June 21, 2010

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