The mom of daughters Rowan and Grier, now starring on Broadway in The Addams Family, shares her family’s holiday traditions, her new year’s resolution, and why being on Broadway is “hell.”
How will your family celebrate the holidays this year?
It’s a very, very New York holiday. We usually go to the museum, go see the Christmas tree, make a lot of meals at home, watch movies, go to midnight mass, and go to the Christmas Spectacular.
Do you usually spend Christmas in New York?
I was born and raised here, so to me, if I’m not in New York for Christmas, I feel like I’ve somehow missed Christmas. I don’t really like going any place warm for Christmas. I like to feel the cold, and sometimes we just like to walk around the city on Christmas Day after we’ve had breakfast or we go see a movie. There’s something very comforting about being in New York.
Do you have any special traditions that you do with your kids?
The decorating of the tree and the Christmas Spectacular are the biggest ones. Also, every year our school does a program where we donate things all year and at Christmas the kids get to buy them. And they wrap them, and the kids don’t let us see and they do their own shopping. It’s supervised by older kids from the school, so it’s a really nice tradition. And the girls and I love to decorate the tree. We bring the popcorn and the cranberries and put on the Christmas carols and make hot chocolate and do as Christmas card-y a picture as you can do.
Our readers are talking a lot about kids going present-crazy. How do you handle that with your kids?
A couple different ways. One, they only get one or two things. If they write a list of however many things, we limit it. We keep it very small. They thought that Santa was free. So, we told them, “No, Santa gives the things and facilitates them but you have to pay him.” Once they realize things weren’t free, I think they got a little bit more sensitive to [asking for too much.]
We also give to Toys for Tots. We make sure we donate toys when we get new ones. And we’re taking City Meals on Wheels to deliver meals to the elderly. I want them to see what it’s like not to have everything and know that you always have to give back. It’s a fine balance; you want them to not be spoiled and appreciate what they have but also be aware that other people don’t have so much stuff.
Do you have a go-to gift if you’re not sure what to give someone?
My go-tos are usually the Harry & David fruit baskets or the fruit of the month. I give them to all my doctors or teachers. It’s a healthy choice, the fruit’s really beautiful, and it changes every month. Ever since I was a little kid, it’s something my mom would do, so that stayed in our family.
Do you have any mom New Year’s resolutions this year?
Yes. My mom’s resolution is to say no so much more to things that don’t involve my girls. I had a moment where I realized I was spending all of my free time, which is so little, doing events and going to charities. I wasn’t putting my kids to bed at all. When you’re doing theatre it’s almost impossible to put them to bed and it really threw me for a loop. I have to work so when I’m not working, it’s easy to get caught up and say, oh, I’ll do that charity or I’ll do that thing for you. And your kids are with the babysitter and it’s heartbreaking.
How is the schedule of being on Broadway?
It’s hell. It’s Broadway! It’s not like I haven’t done it five times before and know what I’m getting int,o but it is 8 times a week. You don’t have time for anything else. It’s glorious because it’s wonderfully entertaining and my kids love being at the theatre. It’s a real great experience for them to remember but I always need a break after I do a six-month run because you’re never home. You can’t go to sleep until 2, you get up with the kids and then you have to take a nap. I lost my voice last week and it was really scary—it’s just a lot of pressure. It’s so much fun and it’s such a trip to have people to get so excited. But it can still take a toll if you’re not careful.
What comes next?
I have a project I may do for a few weeks that hasn’t been announced yet, but their spring break is definitely blocked out entirely. Non-negotiable!