In the acknowledgments of his new children's book, "A Most Mizerable Christmas," Long Island's Mick Foley, the former WWE champion and two-time New York Times No. 1 bestselling author, thanks his wife, Colette, "for tolerating my year-round Christmas thing."
Foley's passion for the holiday makes its way into both his personal life and his professional life.
His well-known year-round Christmas room was reborn in his new St. James home after the family moved back from Florida last year. And Christmas has inspired his literary pursuits: His most recent book is his second children's Christmas book, following 2000's "Mick Foley's Christmas Chaos." Its timing is significant for Foley, and not just because Christmas is coming; Foley, who still appears in WWE programming, recently made his first school appearance with other WWE superstars for the "Be a STAR" alliance, which WWE founded with The Creative Coalition to combat bullying.
Foley will be taking the book's anti-bullying message this month to Book Revue in Huntington.
What was your inspiration?
Mickey , when he was 3, it was time for him to write a letter to Santa, and he said he didn't want anything for Christmas. And I asked, "Why not?' And he said, "I have enough." And I said, "Surely there has to be something you want." And he was, like, "No." He's looking around the room and says, "I have toys there, and there." . . . For seven or eight years since that time, I was thinking I had to turn this into a story. I was thinking I could call it, "The Kid Who Had Enough." At one time, I envisioned Vince McMahon as the mayor of a very selfish town who hears rumors of some kid who claims he has enough and takes it as a personal offense.
In the book, you used WWE Superstars as characters in child form. What was their reaction?
I went out of my way to talk to The Miz [Mike Mizanin] about eight months ago. And I said, "Hey, how would you think about being part of a book I'm working on?" . . . And I said: "I warn you. You're going to be a jerk in it." And he said, "Even better." . . . the first draft , "How can you have a WWE children's book and not include John Cena?" And I was like, "Oops." He's the No. 1 character who appeals to children. And I just created a role for a giant elf.
At the start of the book, The Miz gets away with bullying everyone until CM Punk stands up to him over his Christmas wish list. That seems to be a consistent theme -- Miz' love of possessions over people, which leads to his bullying.
There's a line I liked in the book that I specifically fought to keep in. It's the line where Punk says . . . "When I need a toy, I'll ask for one, but an unneeded toy is junk. You can cut out all this 'new kid' stuff. My name is CM Punk." That to me is almost goosebump-inducing. And that's the way I feel about it. I'd be lying if I said we didn't have too much stuff lying around our house. It's not junk to the kids we end up giving it to. . . . I connected strongly with "Toy Story 3" and Andy's quest to find homes for his toys.
Were you ever bullied?
I was teased a lot -- for smiling a lot. All you need is the one wrong kid saying you smile too much, and then life could be pretty tough .
You have four kids ranging in ages from 9 to 20, and none of them has been subjected to bullying. But have you seen a difference on how bullying is dealt with over the years.
Things are definitely changing from when my older kids went to elementary school. . . . Schools are enacting zero-tolerance policies. You don't hear anybody saying, "Boys will be boys" anymore. I think there's just a much better understanding of how far-reaching the effects of bullying can be.
When you have a Christmas room all year long, how do you take the holiday to the next level?
We don't really try to. We try to have that little spirit of Christmas all year around. And then, you know, I'd be lying if I said my kids now don't get disappointed with their gifts and complain, but we have found that eliminating candy from their stockings cuts way back on the complaining that goes on Christmas Day. That might be a helpful tip for the parents out there.
WHAT Mick Foley does a reading of, answers questions about and signs his latest children's book, "A Most Mizerable Christmas" (Brady Games, $19.95)
INFO Free, but you need to buy a book if you want one signed; 631-271-1442, bookrevue.com