Jennifer Garner Shares the Childhood Christmas Memories She Cherishes Most from Her Family's Trips to Texas
"I was 100% raised out of Southern Living cookbooks."
Earlier this month, we were eager to catch up with Jennifer Garner about all things Christmas, winter travel memories, and her childhood in the South. But before we could even dive in to asking our questions for the acting great, she cut us off. Politely, of course. Her urgent proclamation?
"I have to just say, whenever I put something up about my mom, Southern Living will 'like it' or will say 'hi Pat,' [or] 'we love Pat.' And that thrills my mom because she is...devoted to reading comments. She's just like 'Jennifer, Southern Living remembers me!' and I say 'yeah mom, they do!"
After that lovely little anecdote, Garner dives right into her childhood holiday traditions. "For me, when I was a kid, Christmas meant getting into the car, our old station wagon. My little sister and I sat in the way, way back. My oldest sister had the whole middle to herself because she's the queen, and then my parents. And driving to Texas, and then to Oklahoma, to see our relatives," Garner begins her little storytime with us, adding that the whole crew set off for this trip from home in West Virginia.
"And what I love is that Christmas this year will look like this for people now," Garner continues, referencing the reality that many Americans won't be making their traditional air travel plans for the holidays in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but may be able to find solace and connection with loved ones via a good ole fashioned road trip. This, of course, ties in nicely with why we're chatting with Garner in the first place—on behalf of her partnership with Capital One Venture travel rewards card, which offers incredibly flexibility for rewards miles during these trying times, as well as a limited-time, sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 miles as an added incentive for new cardholders.
"What I've always loved is Venture's different way of looking at things," says Garner, who has worked with Capital One since 2014. "So if I were doing the trip I did with my family as a kid now, our car if we rented a car, our car would be covered with our Venture miles, our hotel stays, whereever we stayed, whatever little podunk hotel my parents stuck us in...would have been covered by Venture miles. If we had had an RV, if we had stayed in an Airbnb, VRBO. Venture is like, 'hey, we're going to work with you. What does travel look like for you and we're going to meet you there.'" If you're not traveling at all this year, there's still plenty of ways to earn miles for future vacations, whether through earning unlimited 5X miles on all food delivery and pickup orders with Uber Eats though the end of January 2021 or everyday spending purchases like groceries or streaming services.
Now, back to the wide open highway. Many miles later, when the Garner family made it to Texas, the magic continued. "A couple of times we would rent a house on the beach in Galveston and all my cousins would come and we would spend the day, have a barbecue, just be together," Garner recalls fondly.
In terms of grub, it was the kind of feasting we can get behind: "I was 100% raised out of Southern Living cookbooks. So much so that my mom would say 'Jennifer, reach for 1982 there is a chicken enchilada I like in there.' Then my mom would say 'I want the corn muffins from 1985, not the ones from...' She was so specific! It's the same with Barefoot Contessa lined up for me in a library and I know [which cookbook] I want the meatballs...or my favorite vanilla ice cream. That's how my mom was about her Southern Living cookbooks. And we were completely raised on that food," she beams, clearly knowing she's making her mama Pat proud in relaying this message to us.
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As for the happenings in the award-winning actor's home as of late, rest assured, she has her Halloween trees up (it's a thing, y'all) and is making the most of the fall season before she launches into winter planning mode. We hope those corn muffins from '85 make the cut for your holiday table, Jen.