Connie Britton brings quiet strength to her characters and a lot of love to the table, on screen and in real life — just don't ask her to cook. "I am most definitely not the chef," she says. "I am so not a chef that really nobody [in my family] wants me to do the turkey." Her contribution? "You know, I'm very entertaining."
Well, that's the understatement of the century. Connie's soul-deep characters have served as some of the chief entertainment for millions of families' lazy weekends and snowy afternoons. If you haven't seen them in a while, now's the perfect time to re-binge-watch Friday Night Lights and Nashville. And later this month, we'll be glued to our sectionals watching her next project, Dirty John. The television series is based on the popular podcast of the same name that detangles the web of lies con man John Meehan (played by Eric Bana) used to ensnare his wife, Debra Newell.
"It's a very relevant story, particularly for women, in terms of the things we accept that maybe we shouldn't," Connie says. "It's about women empowering themselves to know you don't have to put up with something that is not healthy, even from someone who seems to be madly in love with you."
For Connie, the impact Meehan and Newell's relationship had on their family and their community seemed especially poignant. "I love the stories about family and how we shape each other and how the choices we make ultimately impact our lives and the lives around us. And the twist at the end is fascinating," she says.
Shooting for Dirty John will wrap just in time for the holidays, so Connie looks forward to an action-packed break with her 7-year-old son, Eyob, and the rest of her family. Here's how she plans to make the season sparkle.
CONNIE'S VERY MERRY RULES
1. Go ahead, splurge a little.
"You know how I contribute? I get the caviar. We love caviar. If we have caviar at Thanksgiving, we feel very luxurious, so I kind of made that a tradition."
2. Slow your (unwrapping) roll.
"At Christmastime, we have a very decadent tradition of basically opening presents all day. It's always been a tradition in our family that everybody has to be awake, the kids have to wait for all the parents to be up and dressed, and the kids are always sitting on the stairs waiting. Everybody is in their pj's, so we go downstairs and everyone takes turns, one at a time. It's literally an entire-day event."
3. Stick to one paper style.
"I like to have my sort of signature gift wrap every year. Mostly it's just trying to find really beautiful wrapping paper, like beautiful patterns or stunning colors or whatever, and the nice thick wrapping paper, and then some really good ribbon. And if you have that ... you don't really need a ton of different varieties. Then it's like, "Oh, this is obviously from Connie because it has this wrapping paper on it.'"
4. Choose thoughtful over spendy.
"I always feel that, basically, my Christmas list consists of me saying, 'All I want for Christmas is world peace.' So one year my cousin had a bag made for me that said 'All I want for Christmas is world peace,' and that's probably the favorite present I've ever gotten."
5. Get empowered by giving back.
"I know from my own experience, when you can look beyond yourself and see that there's a need and offer up something, it makes your own life so much better and makes your community better. Don't get over-whelmed and think you've got to go and save the world. Just look right where you are and find one thing that you believe will improve your own community. If you don't have a lot of money to donate, donate your time. And you can also donate your love. When you start to think about the things you have to offer to others, it lifts you up as well."
6. Remember: Bloopers happen, but stress doesn't have to.
"One year my grandmother made these chocolate fudge truffle things, and my sister, my cousin, and I were transporting them, and they were sitting in the back of our car. Something happened and we stopped short with the car, and the truffles went flying onto the floor. And we very carefully picked them all back up and vowed that we would never tell. And we didn't (until now!)."
This article originally ran in the November/December 2018 issue of Redbook.
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