This is not one of those Christmas newsletters designed to tell you that little Clementine was elected senior class president, prom queen and MVP of her field hockey team, and Rutherford III has been accepted at Harvard, while Rutherford Sr. and I have just returned from summering in Cannes, and that our Malinois Muffelata was named Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show. This is not one of those holiday newsletters designed to make you feel inadequate and inferior in every way. No, this is simply a newsletter to say thank you.
Thank you for such a warm and loving reception for CHRISTMAS BLISS, my new novella featuring Weezie Foley and BeBe Loudermilk. Thank you for asking me to bring back two of your favorite fictional characters from Savannah Blues, Savannah Breeze and Blue Christmas. Thanks to the anonymous reader who so many years ago wrote to implore me to write a book where I got Weezie married off—and BeBe knocked up. Thanks to everybody who came out to our fun and festive launch party in Decatur. Thanks to all the folks in Savannah, where CHRISTMAS BLISS is set, for coming out to three marathon events—in one day. Thanks to the fans in Raleigh, who joined me at Quail Ridge Books. Thanks to those who travelled from as far away as Florida, to join me at the Chapel Vintage Market in Pike Road, Alabama. Thanks to those amazing bakers who brought their favorite Christmas cookie recipes to the fun tea party given by The Book Exchange in Marietta, Ga. Thanks to all of you who crowded into FoxTale Bookshoppe in Woodstock, and thanks to the sweet fan who brought me a pair of adorable homemade burlap Christmas stockings. Thanks to the fans who came out to meet me at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. I lost a little at the slot machines there, but won big at meeting new friends.
In the middle of all this touring and travelling, I’m already knee-deep in plans for my own family’s holiday. This year we’ll celebrate Christmas in Atlanta with the whole family, including grandchildren Molly, 4, and Griffin, 2. It’s such fun to re-create old traditions with them. Molly loves to bake, so we’ll certainly be baking some cookies—which Griffin will drown in colored sprinkles. Right after Thanksgiving I’ll get Mr. MKA to bring up the bins of vintage Christmas decorations from the basement. We’ll make the rounds of Christmas parties—including our neighbor’s party, where we dance to ’60s tunes from their basement jukebox. At some point, I’ll settle down with a glass of cheap chardonnay to watch my favorite holiday movie, White Christmas. Years ago I had a costumer make me a copy of Rosemary Clooney’s Mrs. Claus outfit from the finale of the movie—and I’ve worn it to several of my CHRISTMAS BLISS signings. On Christmas Eve, we’ll attend the children’s mass at our church, where the children’s re-creation of the Nativity scene never fails to bring tears to my eyes and gladness to my heart.
Whatever your holiday customs or beliefs, dear friends, my wish for you, as always, is a time of peace, laughter, and yes, bliss.