It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Reads) GIVEAWAY: The Santa Run (+ guest post)

Posted December 18, 2022 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, Beth Pugh, Christian, Christmas, contemporary, giveaway, It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Reads) 2022, romance / 20 Comments

The Santa Run

Welcome back to our annual blog series spotlighting (over 60 again this year) new and recently-released Christmas reads!

The countdown is really on now – only SEVEN DAYS until Christmas!

Continuing through just after Christmas, I’m going to spotlight several Christmasy releases from 2022. Most days will have more than one post, just FYI. So… snuggle in, grab your fave hot beverage and comfiest blanket, turn on some Christmas tunes and start your bookish Christmas list! Oh… and did I mention there are GIVEAWAYS with EACH POST in this series??!! (Because authors are awesome!)

THE SANTA RUN by Beth Pugh
Pine Valley Holiday #2
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance / Christmas
PUBLISHER: Iron Stream Fiction
RELEASE DATE: September 27, 2022
PAGES: 264

Tradition Isn’t the Only Thing on the Line This Christmas

As Christmas rounds the bend, Eliza Lee Elliott struggles with her grandfather’s death. Though her faith has carried her through the grief, working at the Appalachian Express has kept her sane, especially her new task of coordinating The Santa Run. Pine Valley’s oldest tradition not only serves the community, the run gives her purpose.

Bennett Olsen is tired of city life. Something’s got to give, and when McCoy Railway purchases the Appalachian Express, it gives in a big way. Supervising the Kentucky acquisition is his chance to slow down and win back the attention of his boss—and father—with a job well done.

When an accident threatens the Santa Run, Eliza and Bennett are pushed together at every turn, making their growing attraction impossible to ignore. As time ticks down to the event, tradition isn’t the only thing in jeopardy. Hearts are on the line, with or without a train on the tracks.


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when you can’t christmas

by Beth Pugh, author of The Santa Run


All the kids count down the days to it. Schools let out for it. Parents save up for it. Families plan vacation around it. Supercenters close for it. The whole world seems to slow down for it. At least, we like to think so.  It’s the happiest time on earth, the season of sparkle, and the merriest of holidays.

Until it’s not.

In my book, The Santa Run, readers can see two sides to a coin called grief. While the heroine, Eliza Lee, milks the holiday for all it’s worth, Bennett’s father, owner of McCoy Railway, does not. He shuns the season.

I want to let you in on a little secret. I acted just like Mr. McCoy from the years of 2004 to 2007. Like the fictional father, I lost a loved one two weeks before Christmas (funny how that found its way into the story, huh?) and decided to turn my back on the twinkly lights I once loved.

I couldn’t Christmas.

Not when my heart ached so badly for the mother I had held while she took her last breath. I was a month shy of nineteen years old. I didn’t understand why my mom had to die and I didn’t know how to make the hurt go away. I felt like there was a hole in my chest that everyone could see when they looked at me. That hole sucked all the joy out of me, and out of the season.

All carols sounded off key, hot chocolate lost its taste, and presents were nothing more than decorated boxes. The magic faded, so much so I refused to put up a Christmas tree for three years. For three long years, I couldn’t Christmas. And, friends, that was okay. More than okay. It was what I needed to heal.

For those of you hurting this season and thinking Christmas just isn’t the same, whether it’s because of grief or sickness or tragedy of any kind, I don’t want to give you platitudes or motivational phrases or even Bible verses. Not because those things don’t help, they do. God’s word is true, and His peace will come in His timing. When it does, it will be because of His love, grace, and mercy.

Not a guest blog post. I know my limitations and I cannot help you Christmas. What I can do, however, is sit with you in your sadness and be real with you the way I wished someone had been real with me.  I’m here today to offer you a few truths:

  1. You have no reason to feel guilty. If you can’t Christmas, don’t feel like you have to fake it. You don’t. I give you permission to leave your tree down and the lights unhung. I give you permission to skip family dinner. I give you permission to wish for the season’s end and hold your head up high. No guilt, friend. Grief is heavy enough without adding that weight on top of it.
  2. You don’t have to explain. If you can’t Christmas, don’t feel like you owe the world an explanation. You don’t. You can steal away to your bedroom without giving a reason and I promise the earth will keep spinning. If talking helps, then, by all means, talk away. But if you find the words too difficult, don’t force yourself to say them. Give yourself the grace of a silent night if that’s what you need.
  3. You are not alone. I know when the world turns to red, green, and glitter, yet gray is all you see when you look in the mirror, you might feel alone, but please remember feelings are fickle. The truth is that there are others who feel exactly as you do. There are others who can’t Christmas, and all those other precious souls are grieving with you.
  4. You are not a Grinch. If you can’t Christmas, don’t label yourself a Grinch or a Scrooge or a Debbie Downer. You are not those things. You are a human with a hurting heart and it’s okay to accept yourself as you are. Cindy-Lou Who would.
  5. You are loved. I know I said I wouldn’t quote scripture, but I can’t pass up the chance to remind you that you are loved. Even when you can’t Christmas. Your family, friends, and, yes, God loves you even when you can’t be jolly.

Friends, I know these truths are simple, but I hope they may help you in some small way. One day, the years you couldn’t Christmas will be merely memories. I know this from experience.

I am living proof as I sit here typing away in my Snoopy Christmas sweatshirt.

Love and prayers to you all this season <3

Born and raised in the rolling hills of eastern Kentucky, Beth Pugh is a wife and mother searching for contentment among the chaos. She writes stories with heart like baby bear soup, hoping to inspire others. When she isn’t writing, you can find her jamming out in the parent pickup line, reading on the couch, or cheering for the Chicago Cubs. Connect with her at her website.

Beth Pugh is offering an ebook copy of The Santa Run to one of my readers! (Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What makes you want to read The Santa Run by Beth Pugh? Has there been a season when you just couldn’t Christmas?

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20 responses to “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Reads) GIVEAWAY: The Santa Run (+ guest post)

  1. Judi Imperato

    This book sounds like a great Christmas story, I would love to read it. Thank you for the giveaway. I enjoyed your article about not being able to Christmas!

  2. Karen Semones

    I would love to read this story. Tragedies are harder to deal with around the holidays, but it sounds like the characters will get together because of a tragedy so maybe something good will come of it.

  3. Linda Kish

    1980…we cancelled Christmas. My sister was killed in a plane crash, my stepbrother died by suicide and my grandmother died. It was just too much to handle in one year.

  4. Betty Curran

    Three years ago I lost my oldest grandson. He was more like my youngest child rather than a grandchild. I was the one he turned to when he needed advice or a helping hand. He spent as many nights sleeping in my home as he did in his own. I was so devastated but I had other children and grandchildren and they couldn’t be neglected. I didn’t have the spirit of Christmas then and I’m still trying to overcome my grief.

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