Holiday party manners

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.  ~Washington Irving

My mother has been in the hospital since the day after Thanksgiving, and it looks like she’ll be spending several weeks recovering in a rehab center. While waiting for calls from the hospital, I’ve kept busy working on a series of holiday columns and photos for AOL’s Patch Holiday Guide.  The first is a guide to modern holiday manners. It’ll tell you everything you need to know about holiday etiquette — including how to pick out hostess gifts and how to be the guest who gets invited back. Please click here to read it. — CL

— Photo of a holiday display at Leon & Lulu in Clawson, by Cindy La Ferle —

Shameless annual pitch

The willingness to share does not make one charitable; it makes one free.  ~Robert Brault

At a holiday book signing last week, I met another author who enjoys all aspects of publishing a book — except for self-promotion. We chatted about the hard realities of keeping our books on store shelves and; about how exhausting it can be to get out there and hustle.

As much as we like to meet our readers, writers tend to be more comfortable recording our thoughts quietly at home. That said, we can’t sell books if we hide behind a desk or a laptop.

So, here’s my shameless annual holiday plug for Writing Home. For every new copy sold between now and January 1st, I will donate $5 to the Welcome Inn, a day shelter serving the homeless in my community from mid December until mid March. The Inn offers case management services, a cereal breakfast, hot lunch, showers, laundry, online computers, clothing, and a variety of other services. With southeast Michigan’s economy at an all-time low, things are even tougher for people without homes and jobs, not to mention organizations like the Welcome Inn.

I’ve been donating my Writing Home profits every holiday season because “home” has always topped my gratitude list — and I want to give back to my community. I’ve been blessed, all my life, to live in wonderful homes with an incredibly supportive family, surrounded by caring neighbors. Which is, pretty much, what the stories in Writing Home are all about.

If you’re looking for something under $20 for the reader on your gift list, please consider visiting and buying a new copy of my book. (Link provided above.) In Oakland County, stop by the Yellow Door Art Market, where you’ll find my book as well as other gift items made by professional Michigan artists.

From my home to yours, I am wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving — and many blessings to count.

–Holiday photo by Cindy La Ferle-


Yellow Door Art Market

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”  ~Twyla Tharp

Two weeks ago, I wrote a column for a local publication on how to be a tourist in your hometown. Taking my own advice — and literally going the extra mile — I drove across town to Berkley, the city next door, and made a new discovery. Located on 12 Mile Road, the Yellow Door Art Market showcases the wares of more than 60 top-notch Michigan artists and crafters. From gift cards to jewelry to fiber art, there’s something to delight everyone at this colorful emporium. In fact, next time I need a gift, I’m heading straight for the Yellow Door.

During my visit, I noticed a display of books by Michigan authors. Later that week, I dropped off a review copy of Writing Home for the store manager. She phoned me two days later and invited me to hop aboard. So — yay! — I’m also proud to announce that copies of my book are now available at the Yellow Door Art Market. (Life Lesson #10: Never be afraid to ask, because sometimes you get a “yes” instead of a “no.”)

It’s always exciting to discover a new local business that supports Michigan artists as well as charities in our community. Next time you’re in the area and need cheering up, walk through the Yellow Door (or check out their official website). I promise you’ll get a lift seeing so much creativity under one roof. The store is located at 3141 W. 12 Mile Road. — CL