It began with a letter. Jackson Grim, newspaper columnist, was wading through his usual pile of hate mail from gun owners, religious wackos, and fans of a political talk show when he found it. The letter writer regretted the decision of the Hartville City Council to ban a manger scene on the front lawn of City Hall unless other "Winter Holiday" symbols (Santa, reindeer, snowpersons) were included in the display. Though he was not a religious man himself, Jackson decided to print the letter in his column—a decision he quickly came to regret.

This story of Christmas in the culture wars reveals a town thrown into mayhem by rhetoric on all sides when everyone from the town's leading atheist, Diedra Freep, to Pastor Marty is drawn into the debate. You will be amused and surprised by the events that follow, and you may even find your heart strangely warmed.

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