Meet Nan from All I Want for Christmas

I’ve really enjoyed all the reviews for All I Want for Christmas–they’re so much fun to read! It was mentioned by a couple of readers that they would’ve liked to have known Nan, since she was almost a character herself, with all the notes she liked to leave. So since we just finished Halloween, I thought I’d give you a little glimpse into life when Nan was at Evergreen Hill. Hope you enjoy it!


Sadie ran down the drive leading to Evergreen Hill. The front steps of the plantation were lined with pumpkins that had been hollowed out and carved with ornate shapes of leaves and acorns, their centers glowing with the flicker of candles inside each one. It was dark, the autumn sun going down early as the season grew colder. The antique porch lights illuminated the walk.

“Look at you!” Nan said, reaching out to give Sadie a hug.

Sadie wrapped her little arms around Nan’s waist, burying her face in the apron that Nan always wore when she’d been baking.

“Let me see your costume,” Nan said, pulling back, her cheeks rosy, her smile reaching her eyes. Her silver hair was pulled up like she’d always done when she’d spent all day in the kitchen. “Oh, let me guess. You’re a gymnast.”

“Yes!” Sadie said, as Leah caught up to them, carrying their bags.

They’d just gone trick-or-treating in town, and Leah was happy to be able to settle in for the night at the plantation. She took a moment to look at the gorgeous house: the windows all aglow in the golden color of champagne, a wreath of orange leaves on the dark wood door, the double chimneys puffing the smoke from their fires inside. She couldn’t wait to wrap herself in one of Nan’s quilts and relax.

“How are you, sugar?” Nan said, leaning over Sadie to give Leah a kiss on the cheek. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too, Nan. I can’t wait to catch up! I have so much to tell you!”

“Well,” Nan said, opening the door, the smell of her banana nut muffins wafting toward them as they went inside. “Let’s get in our pajamas and look through all that candy you got trick-or-treating, Sadie!”

Sadie’s eyes grew round and she turned to Leah. “May I have some right now, Mama?”

“You might want to go up to the yellow room first. I’ve put something on your bed,” Nan said with excitement on her face. Nan was always one for surprises. She loved to leave them little notes and hidden treasures whenever she got the chance.

“What is it?” Sadie asked, hopping up and down.

“Go have a look. I’ll take your mom into the kitchen and get her a drink. I’m sure she’s thirsty from all that walking you all did in town.”

While Sadie tore up the stairs to find her prize, Leah followed Nan into the kitchen. She sat down at the antique table, a vase in the center exploding with orange and yellow blooms, pinecones and more flickering candles around it. She could smell the fire in the fireplace, the lavender that Nan had always used to give the house its unique scent, and the aroma of her cooking—it all was so much a part of Leah that she couldn’t imagine life without it.

“How about a glass of wine, dear?” Nan said, pulling two glasses from the cabinet. “I’m dying to know what you’ve been up to.”

“I just began my first class,” Leah said, the thrill of it still new. She’d always wanted to run the business with Nan, and now it was time to get started.

Nan clasped her hands together in delight, that adoring smile on her face. “You and I will be quite a team,” she said. Then she poured the wine and handed a glass to Leah, raising hers into the air. “We have to toast! To beautiful beginnings!”

Leah held her glass up. “To beautiful beginnings,” she repeated, feeling the elation return. Things were coming together, and she couldn’t be more excited for the future.

“Mama!” Sadie said as she bounded down the stairs. “Mama! Look what Nan made me!” She came skidding into the kitchen on her sock feet. Leah had made her wear socks over the tights of her costume, the wind having picked up, bringing a cold front with it. Sadie had her plastic pumpkin full of candy dangling from her arm as she held up a small, fabric doll with blonde hair and blue embroidered eyes, its dress made of pink ruffles.

“It’s adorable, Sadie.” Leah turned to Nan, who had sat down after their toast and was sipping her wine. “Did you make it?”

Nan nodded, a smile on her lips. “I made one for you too when you were little. Remember?”

“Yes, I still have it. Her name was Ruby.”

“Mine’s going to be Martha,” Sadie said, setting her pumpkin on the table and climbing up onto a chair between them.

Leah chuckled. “Martha?” She turned to the doll as Sadie settled in. “Well, hello, Martha.”

“Shall we dig into this candy?” Nan said, dipping her hand in. “I’ll be happy to take all the Twix bars off your hands.”

“What about the muffins?” Leah said. “It smells like you made muffins.”

“Ah, we’ll have them for breakfast tomorrow. I’ll make us eggs and bacon to go with them.”

“That sounds wonderful,” she said. But then again, everything with Nan was wonderful. As they sat around the table that night, Leah looked out the large window, the wavy glass original to the house, causing the stars to blur against the velvet sky. She felt the start of something great, something new.

And she was ready.

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