Headed to a Red State for the Holidays? Here’s a Survival Guide

With the travesty of last week’s happenings behind us, and many of us still shaking from Week 1, aka the Worst Week Ever if you’re that woman who got punched in the face in my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, or a kid who had to listen to your classmates chant “Build that Wall,” or just a general peace-loving citizen who’s now being maliciously attacked for just, well, being, if you made it through this week somewhat intact, well, congrats.

Unfortunately, for those of us swaddled in our Coastal Liberal Bubbles of North Face jackets and NPR, we are not totally immune to ‘Mer-Kuh when it comes to that age-old quest: Heading home for the holidays.

I’m not going to sugar-coat it here: It’s painful to dislodge yourself from the land of sky blue waters and intellectual freedom to find yourself in the backdrop to a sadass Alexander Payne movie (is there any other kind?) about Midwestern strife, only to rub your eyes and realize that Alaska Airlines did not drop you in a shitty Hollywood backdrop with Jack Nicholson smoking nearby. It has, indeed, dropped you in Omaha. The real Omaha. And shit’s about to get real, yo.

This year my worst holiday nightmare won’t be enduring a crappy meal at Red Lobster, or sitting around watching my nephew puke up his quinoa in protest while yelling “IDIOTS.” This year will involve immersing myself, still fresh with the very raw wounds of our eventual demise and downfall, in the land filled with the willful ignorance that deposited that troll into our very highest office in the country. And I, too, will be fighting back an undeniable urge to puke on every dinner table and yell “IDIOTS” every chance I get.

But, as they supposedly say, I am an adult. And this year, it’s all about self-preservation. Fuck trying to “get along” and listen to idiots talk about their idiot ideas, which are very likely not based in fact or reason, but in easy-to-repeat slogans printed on T-shirts made in China. I’m taking the Zombie Apocalypse view of heading to a Red State for the holidays. And that means self-preservation at all costs.

Here, my quick guide to surviving the holidays in a Red State:

Photo credit: Cypress Hill

Photo credit: Cypress Hill


I come from the land of milk and honey and pot that is basically spilling out of shops on every corner. I live directly across the street from one such recreational shop, and may I say that it is better than living close to a bar by leaps and bounds. People come and go, but don’t linger, as this is a quick business exchange of stress relief/happy fun times for money and they respect it as such.

That said, DO NOT TRAVEL with weed. I know several people who risk getting arrested for a $20 spot of the green and let me say, fucking with TSA and the Federal government is not worth it. Weed is pretty plentiful everywhere. And sure, I don’t expect the Midwest shit to be as awesome as the great Pacific Northwest shit, but it will probably be enough to get me through.

Find your local hometown pot connection and makes plans to get some shit ASAP upon landing. It will help sustain you through the next three to seven days, which brings me to…

Don’t drink too much (or at all)

Yep, you heard me right. Want to guarantee you lose your cool and get baited into some dumbass argument over Christmas dinner with dipshit Uncle Ted and his Make America Great Again hat? Drink too much. Alcohol, usually your friend to endure the holidays, is not your friend this year. Save it for when you get back.

Noise-canceling headphones. This should explain itself.

Photo credit: Amazon

Photo credit: Amazon

Netflix. Hulu. HBOGo. And holy-shit-I’m-even-recommending Amazon Prime. 

I hate Amazon, but holy shit, they got good shows. Get your subscriptions. ALL the damn subscriptions. Load up your programs, big kudos to those that champion diversity like Transparent, and prepare to watch the holy fuck out of all of them.

Books by the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, Pema Chodron, and every other damn Pacifist/Activist/Buddhist you can think of. Double points if you crack open a book by Barack Obama.

Find the other liberal friends who are either still home or plan to be. Make plans to hang out in a safe zone (not your town’s local bar or bowling alley or anywhere a methed-up someone is likely to pull a hunting rifle on you) and talk shit about the state of the world.

Stay busy. Book the fuck out of this trip back. Is there a tiny goat petting zoo you have always been dying to go to? GREAT. Fucking get stoned and GO DO IT. With your headphones on, of course.

Book a spa day. Seriously, these spas tend to be dirt cheap. Go ahead, get your rub on.

Go thrifting. I love me some thrifting in small towns for a couple reasons. 1. The old people die and leave behind vintage shit that the local Abercrombie & Fitch wearing locals don’t want. 2. See the dirt cheap thing.

Go to Target. I love me some Middle America Target. It’s worth a few hours to kill.

Give the gift of non-hate. I love the recommendation to give gifts to organizations like Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, the Trevor Project and more, per this Last Week Tonight with John Oliver segment, to your Trump-lovin’ relatives. The double beauty of this is that is also makes up for every shitty gift they’ve ever given you.

And, finally, make your place super awesome to come home to. This is your Present Self taking care of Future Self. It’s going to be rough. You’re going to go into the trenches of hate, despair and unlimited buffets. You need to have a safe, warm respite to look forward to when you get back.

Wash your sheets and make your bed pretty. Clean your house. Load your fridge with your favorite foods, buy those fancy-pants artisanal sodas and twee cheeses and crackers and speciality lotions, potions and candles. Your fucking deserve all this locally sourced, small-batch, organic farmer shit. You know why?

You just survived the holidays in a Red State.

One Reply to “Headed to a Red State for the Holidays? Here’s a Survival Guide”

  1. We have already had the talk amongst us relatives back here in middle America that there will be no political talk during Christmas- so you better brush up on your sports for conversation. BE Nice while you are here or don’t expect any Target fix or thrift store fix if you are relying on your middle America relatives to drive you around. Again- we are not all uneducated dribble back here! Getting a little tired of being beat on for living here. It is nice here– wide open spaces, clean air, and plenty of things to do! And really no one around here is as worked up about last week as you seem to be– to my knowledge it has pretty much been business as usual… you can’t change a huge government overnight.


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