Day! Of! Nothing!

Let me tell you about my favorite holiday tradition: Day! Of! Nothing!


Day! Of! Nothing! started when my local niece was 6-ish. Her parents owned a bakery, so Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve was wild for them. I would take Niece for a day. let me spend time w/my nearest niece, gave her a chance to enjoy all the holiday lights and music and bustle of our festive city, and gave her parents the relief of knowing Niece got some extra, unstructured pre-holiday fun even if they were busy.

On Day! Of! Nothing!, we did…

wait for it

… nothing! We’d wander shops and galleries, we’d maaaaaaaybe buy a Christmas gift (or supplies to make one) for her parents, but mostly we just enjoyed the seasonal decorations and the time together.

That then-6-yr-old is now in her 20s, and over the years, a handful of Day! Of! Nothing! traditions have formed:

1. We ALWAYS get peppermint hot chocolate.

2. We ALWAYS have lunch wherever she wants.

3. We ALWAYS end the day back at my house for grilled cheese and tomato soup.

The year our regular coffeehouse stopped serving peppermint hot chocolate, then-teenaged Niece was scandalized… until I pulled several candy canes from my bag, smashed ’em up, and we stirred them into our cups. AUNT COMES PREPARED.

I love Day! Of! Nothing! more than any other holiday tradition. It’s a peaceful day in a hectic time. And it’s one day a year when I get to spend time with my oldest niece, who is amazing.

I’ve mostly used past tense here. But last night, I thought “I wonder if Grown-up Niece has time for Day! Of! Nothing! this year?” And this morning, I woke up to this message: day of nothing

So, if you wish you had a tradition, my advice is simple: Start one. It doesn’t have to be structured or freighted with meaning. The meaning develops within the tradition, even if in its first stages, the tradition is literally NOTHING.




Dennis: Someone zucchinied us!

me: It’s National Sneak A Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day!

D: Really?



[Image of handwritten note reading “Aug 8, HAPPY ‘Sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch day'”!]

five stars

After three brutal, beautiful, dreadful, rewarding seasons, Review has come to an end. This tragedy cloaked in comedy is the best vehicle yet for Andy Daly, that master of cloaking anguish, corruption, and madness in affability. Jeffrey Blitz (of Spellbound fame) gives the direction an uncanny documentary realism that belies its absurdity. The unforgiving rhythm of Review, of Forrest’s rise and fall, hope and despair, lends it a depth that surpasses any comedy and most dramas. “Cryogenics, Lightning, Last Review” honors that depth.

Review finale double screenshot

If you ever doubt the importance of direction, cinematography, and framing to the tone of a narrative, just remember these two Review screenshots, seconds apart. A tiny tweak of perspective separates freedom from damnation, separates life from this simulacrum of life Forrest inhabits, separates NEVER REVIEWING ANYTHING EVER AGAIN from REVIEW ANYTHING. You can read my review of Review‘s uncompromisingly excellent series finale here.

Lady Dynamite gets pally with beaux and boundaries

LD AVC 1.5 beaux boundaries“I stop with my hands! Which means I’m on an adventure!” Maria warns the
coffeehouse crowd early in “I Love You.” Maria’s wheeling out of
control, and not just because she’s on rollerblades. This episode’s is all about establishing and respecting boundaries, but almost no one in it knows how. Read my full review of “I Love You” at The A.V. Club.