Terrible, thanks for asking

Two days after Nora McInerny's husband Aaron died, she celebrated Thanksgiving with her family. Well ... maybe not "celebrated". Actually, why would you do that? Try to be normal when clearly everything isn't? But every year millions of people do the same thing during the Holidays. This radio special will feature conversations with Lucy Kalinithi and Amber Tozer, and some of the women of the Hot Young Widows Club on the challenges of dealing with trauma and loss during this sensitive season. Plus, stories of people's worst Holidays ever. That's for real. Worst. Ever.


H A P P Y I S H  H O L I D A YS: 

5  T I P S  FRO M  N O R A  M C I N E R N Y  A N D  T E RRIB L E ,  T H A N K S  F O R  A S K I N G


You know  who deserves some holiday  cheer? EVERYONE. Because this year, we all got to warm up for the holiday season with a dumpster fire of an election followed by several weeks of political Facebook fights with our elderly uncles’ best friends from grade school. It’s been great.

I want to be clear that I am not any kind of Martha Stewartish lifestyle expert. I don’t even have a lifestyle. But I do have a lot of feelings, and they all come out at this time of year. Probably because this is the time of year when my husband and father died right after my miscarriage in 2014. I KNOW. So, here is how I plan to have a semi-happyish holiday. Mostly


1.   Cry at Target*

I recommend letting it all go in the aisle of your choice, but in a pinch you can just unleash all your stress tears when the checkout guy asks how you are. If he didn’t want to know how much stress you feel when your mother and mother-in-law  are in your dining room with easy access to red wine, why did he ask?

*if you don’t have a Target store nearby, WHERE DO YOU LIVE?? And I guess a CVS or Walgreen’s would do.


2.   Give your child actual garbage

My son is nearly four years old and his favorite toy is a dehumidifier box filled with “treasures.” These treasures are literal pieces of garbage. He drags the box from room to room and tells us that we cannot touch any of his treasures. Again, these are pieces of a garbage in a recyclable box that used to hold a small appliance. Why would I ever spend money on real toys???


3.   Don’t bother cleaning

Unless your house is at the Hoarders level and you need to clear a pathway through newspaper towers to get to the dining room table, which is covered in old takeout containers and cats, your house is fine. You don’t need to do weird things like wipe fingerprints from your refrigerator door. Why live a lie? Leave your mail unsorted on the entryway table. Keep your kitchen counters cluttered. Nobody is coming over to see what a tight ship you run. Unless you literally live on a ship, in which case, yeah, keep it tight.


4.   Quit

I had a friend who stayed up until 2am making these weird little goodie bags for 50 kindergarteners who aren’t on Pinterest and don’t care about printable gift bag toppers (it’s a thing, apparently). If you don’t truly, 100%, love what’s on your holiday to-do list, you don’t have to do it! You don’t HAVE to drive 3 hours for Christmas brunch with your racist aunt! You don’t HAVE to have your whole family over for brunch.

You don’t HAVE to make tiny snowmen cookies for all of your neighbors.


5.  Embrace the Terrible

In the words of the late, great Nora Ephron, everything is copy. Or, in the 2016 version of that quote, everything is a potential fire tweet or a viral Facebook post. Two Christmases ago, my mom started an actual fire on my cooktop when she tried to make some sort of fancy steak that involved bourbon and a lit match. It could have easily burned my house down, especially because my first instinct was to reach for my phone while  she tried to blow out the blaze like it was a trick birthday candle. My house survived, and the video got a lot of Facebook thumbs up. It was a Christmas miracle.

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