7 Books for Christmas

Nobody needs Partridge Family books, but when I was 11-going-on-12, I sure did want them. The Partridge Family mysteries were all the rage among grade school girls in 1973. Each “super swinging saga of suspense”* was based on The Partridge Family television series.


The “groovy novels”* were available one by one through the Scholastic Book Club, and many of my friends were acquiring them that way. However, when our Christmas catalogs arrived (We received the Big 3: Sears, Montgomery Ward, and J.C. Penney.), I discovered that 14 books in the series, packaged as two sets of seven, could be mail-ordered and delivered just in time for Christmas.

In my family, each of us seven kids received three Christmas presents from Mom and Dad, under the guise of Santa Claus: a clothes present, a toy present, and a book present. There may have been discrepancies in the total cost of each kid’s gifts, but that didn’t matter to us. We each had three packages to open. It was fair.

I knew exactly what I wanted for my Christmas book present in 1973. The catalog descriptions of those Partridge Family books enticed me; the photos of Keith Partridge (also known as David Cassidy**) beckoned to me from most of the book covers. But still, how could I even hope to receive 14 books for Christmas? Such literary gluttony! I figured that all 14 would be far too expensive for Mom’s Christmas budget. But oh, perhaps she’d spring for seven! A girl could dream! So I showed her all 14 books in the catalog, but said that getting a set of seven would be plenty.

On Christmas morning when I opened my presents, behold! There in my Christmas book box, were Partridge Family books 8 through 14. Two weeks later, Mom and Dad gave me the other seven books for my birthday.

I read all 14 Partridge Family books, several times each, I’m sure. They were displayed on my childhood bookshelf for the duration of my youth. Eventually I boxed them up and they spent time stored in closets and attics of the various places I’ve lived. Now they’re on a shelf in an extra bedroom of my house. I know I won’t read them; great literature they are not. I doubt that I’ll sell them; Partridge Family books are available online, but I’m not sure they’re selling. I probably won’t give them away or throw them out, either. I’ll probably just keep them, like I’ve kept them all these years, because they’re my Partridge Family memories of a Sternweis Family Christmas.

Laura Sternweis

*From the back cover of one of the books

**1970s grade school girls with discriminating tastes understood that David Cassidy was way hotter than Donnie Osmond.


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