Gretchen Anthony is a new author for us, and we’re thrilled to welcome her to Thoughts on This ‘n That. This month her debut novel, EVERGREEN TIDINGS FROM THE BAUMGARTNERS (ParkRow) arrives just in time for the Holidays.
Dearest loved ones, far and near—Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners!
Violet has opened her annual Baumgartner holiday letter the same way for over three decades. And this year, she’s going to throw her husband Ed a truly perfect retirement party, one worthy of memorializing in her upcoming letter. But the event becomes a disaster when, in front of 200 guests, Violet learns her daughter Cerise has been keeping a secret.
Delightful, surprising, and full of heart, Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners brings to life a sparkling cast of characters whose struggle to understand one another illuminates the unbreakable bonds of family, no matter how dysfunctional they can get.
Gretchen shared some Holiday cheer with us.
1. What is your favorite Holiday?
Every holiday is a chance to celebrate something, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say Christmas is my favorite.
2. What do you love about the Holidays?
I love the anticipation of Christmas. Watching my kids guess what’s under the tree. Turning the numbers on the Advent Calendar.
Listening to our boys laugh as they tear open their gifts. Even more, though, I love peaceful Christmas moments. The midnight candlelight service. Sitting with my husband on Christmas Eve after the kids have gone to sleep. At its heart, Christmas is light, a peaceful promise — and that’s what I try to carry with me throughout the year.
3. What is your fondest Holiday memory?
One year, my husband and I planned to surprise the kids on Christmas morning with a trip to Disneyworld.
This was something we’d always wanted to do and I was crazy excited. We had their bags all packed and our flight was booked for ten o’clock on Christmas morning. None of the kids suspected a thing. Then, at Christmas Eve dinner, I had to suddenly excuse myself and run for the bathroom — Oh, no! I knew I was in serious trouble and, sure enough, I spent the whole night throwing up. But even though I felt horrible, at least I felt some relief that my husband was fine. Then, at about three o’clock in the morning, he came down with the same bug and we were both in the bathroom together, miserable, and groaning, and panicked. Not only had we opted out of trip insurance, we didn’t even have any gifts for the kids to open the next morning. Our family trip was the gift. We were up a creek. And yet, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my years as a mom, it’s that we parents can pull off incredible feats when given no other option. So, the next morning, my husband and I did just that. We picked ourselves up off the floor and powered through — all the way to Orlando where we could finally collapse again at the hotel. Amazingly, we were fine by the next day and were able to hit the parks as planned. It may not have been the smoothest family vacation ever, but it made for memories none of us will ever forget.
4. What are your wishes for 2019?
2018 was a wonderful year for our family, but a scary year for the world. My wish for 2019 is that we can find ways to unify — as families, as communities, and as a nation.
Gretchen Anthony is a Minnesota-based writer and humorist.
After a career in management consulting and corporate communications, she left the cubical world for the writing life. As a ghostwriter, she has been the voice for some of the best brands in the United States, from CEOs to doctors and start-up superstars to BBQ pros.
We’re lucky to have one copy to giveaway. Just tell us your fondest Holiday memory. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.
GIVEAWAY: USA only please.