Jane Austen’s Thanksgiving Prayer.

Jane Austen's Thanksgiving prayer. (A Jane Austen quote.)

Wishing a very happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans celebrating today.

And whether it’s Thanksgiving Day for you or not, please know that I’m thankful for you. Truly.

– Anne

How to deal with your crazy family (from an accidental expert).

How to deal with your crazy family (from an accidental expert) | Modern Mrs Darcy

From the archives, just in time for Thanksgiving. 

The holidays are almost here.  Can you believe it?

Some of you are counting down to long-awaited reunions with those you love.  Some of you are dreaming of turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie.  And some of you are thinking, “How am I going to deal with my crazy family?

If you’re in the last camp, and you’d like to keep the family drama to a minimum this holiday season, here are 7 tips to keep the peace.

1. Do a reality check—and do it now, before the big event. The stakes are higher over the holidays, so now’s the time to remind yourself to be realistic and keep your expectations reasonable. Now’s the time to think about what’s likely to be problematic, and what you can do about it.

2.  Get yourself ready. If your family gatherings tend to be stressful, make sure you are well prepared. Get enough sleep, eat some real food before you arrive, and don’t drink too much (coffee, alcohol, whatever).

3.  Talk with everyone. Those of you with giant families know what I’m talking about. If there are 30 people at an event it can be hard to actually speak to everyone: make sure you do it. (And of course, if you’re speaking with everyone that also indicates that you’re actually on speaking terms with everyone–which is a very good thing.) Make the effort to talk to your shy nephew, or chat up the girlfriend who hardly knows anyone.

4.  No baiting. If we want fireworks at our family gatherings, we can toss out Occupy Wall Street as conversation fodder. Or the presidential election. Or recycling! Passionate family members will rise to the challenge. If you don’t want fireworks at your holiday gathering, keep the peace by knowing what’s off limits.

5.  No trash talking. Don’t gossip about other family members. Period. This is really tempting for me over the holidays, because I’m always tempted to do some female bonding with my sisters-in-law over some juicy family gossip. That’s not a bad reason to gossip—but there are better reasons not to. Don’t do it.

6.  Be a good sport. Do what you can to go with the flow. If your family loves Trivial Pursuit, get ready to play some Trivial Pursuit.

7.  Be grateful. Find something to be thankful for. After some family gatherings, I’m grateful that I am blessed with such a wonderful family. After some family gatherings, I’m grateful that I get to go home with my husband—and not all those crazy people we just had dinner with.

Do you deal with family drama? What are your best tips for dealing with difficult family members?

P.S. My favorite Thanksgiving movie that you’ve never heard of.

Your place for short and sweet book reviews.


Your place for short and sweet book reviews | Modern Mrs Darcy

Today, a bit of housekeeping. We’re renaming our monthly book review link-up, and I need your help.

The twitterature linkup started almost two years ago as a place for me to share short and sweet reviews of what I’ve been reading lately: the books that don’t get their own full posts, but I still want to share with you.

And it’s been your place to share your reviews of what you’ve been reading lately with the rest of us. (Dozens of MMD readers tell me they no longer struggle with finding good books to read because they get so many ideas from YOU in this link-up!)

There aren’t any rules for the link-up: we just share short reviews of whatever it is you’ve been reading lately. “Short” is relative, as is “lately.” It happens every month, on the 15th, and the link-up lasts for a week.

Really, it’s just an excuse to talk about books.

When I first started twitterature, my reviews were short—legitimately close to twitter’s 140 character limit. But over time my reviews have gotten longer. In some cases, much longer. I prefer it that way, and you all have told me you do, too.

These posts have absolutely nothing to do with twitter, and the title is just confusing.

So: let’s rename it.

My question to you is: what should we call it?

Gifts for book lovers.

As a book lover myself, I think book lovers are relatively easy to buy for. (Unless I’m trying to buy them a book: that fills me with fear and trembling! So much pressure.)

My big problem when I’m trying to buy a gift for a book nerd like myself is to choose just one thing from a dizzying array of options. This list isn’t going to help you—or me—with decision overwhelm.

But golly, it’s just so fun to look.

10 perfect gifts for the book lover in your life:

Puffin in Bloom stacked

The Puffin in Bloom collection (from $12)

This newly issued collection, designed and illustrated by Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co., comprises four titles: Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, Little Women, and A Little Princess. Collect one or collect them all. (According to the shelves of my local Anthropologie, these editions mingle well with other classics.)

Penguin drop caps collection

The Penguin Drop Caps collection (from $12)

These vibrant new(ish) editions of old classics make a bold impact on the shelf, whether you shelve them individually or collect the whole set. (Note the ROYGBIV arrangement.)

Oakley Anne of Green Gables

Sourcebooks Anne of Green Gables collection (from $8)

I know I’m not the only one who would love to find this new Anne of Green Gables collection, illustrated by Canadian artist Jacqui Oakley, under my tree this year.

I’m also smitten with the Sourcebooks new editions of less well known L. M. Montgomery works—many of which have been out of print for years—such as Jane of Lantern Hill, The Blue Castle, Magic for Marigold, and A Tangled Web.

book clutch

A book clutch.

Kate Spade had some great ones last year (like this Gatsby clutch), which are now out of stock (sniff) but available (for less) on places like ebay. Or you can DIY your own.

I like big books tote

I like big books and I cannot lie tote bag from Etsy shop Ex Libris Journals ($15)

A library bag to beat all library bags for the book nerd in your life.

Library letters

Library letters from Anthropologie ($20)

Think of this as a coat of arms for book lovers. (Keep your eyes out for these at your local craft fairs, for a little less than Anthro prices.)

An Ideal Bookshelf print

An Ideal Bookshelf print ($34)

Choose from their pre-made prints (Southern Lit, Jane Austen, Barefoot Contessa, Shakespeare, and many, many more) preselected (barefoot contessa, southern lit, Paris) OR choose a gift card for your recipient to create their own custom print. ($155).

(The book would also make a great gift. It’s such fun browsing for book lovers.)

Superhero reader girl print

Superhero reader girl print from Etsy Shop Irena Sophia ($20)

For those who say reading is their superpower. A perfect addition to their library corner.

book nerd necklace

book nerd charm necklace on Etsy ($14.95)

Say it loud, say it proud.


Heirloom quality hardbacks from The Folio Society (from $36)

These are the highest quality hardbacks available for the serious collector. Each book comes with its own slipcover for safe keeping. These investment-quality books are built to last, and completely gorgeous. The Folio Society’s membership plan makes these editions a bit more affordable.

(I have two editions: Pride and Prejudice and Anne of Green Gables, and they are so very lovely.)

little free library

Little Free Library (from $175)

I am seriously considering begging for one of these for Christmas. (Read more about the Little Free Library movement here.)

What would you add to the list?