The Lesson of the McNuggets: Embrace being real over being perfect

Guest post by Liza Palmer

Always remember The Lesson of the McNuggets as we go into our New Years celebrations/new year of our lives…

Photo by Liza Orr Palmer
Photo by Liza Orr Palmer

It was last year, I was late for a holiday party, and found myself without my designated potluck item.

I had all my excuses lined up. We’ve all been there. There never seems to be enough time, money or energy to be the Fantasy Holiday Version of Ourselves. Unstained red party dresses, holiday gatherings with tables full of festive offerings, wonderfully wrapped presents that perfectly embody our feelings for whomever is lucky enough to receive them.

I was in the cusp of a spiral when I saw it. A McDonalds. Fuck it.

“50 Chicken McNuggets, please.” “15?” “No 50. And throw in some fries.” I mean, when in Rome.

The guy gave me bag after bag of more Chicken McNuggets than I’d ever seen. And? A smorgasbord of every dipping sauce they offer. Like EVERY DIPPING SAUCE.

Not knowing how they’d go over, I walked into the party with my bags of McDonalds a bit deflated.


It was the hit of the party. So much so that, for this year’s installment of that same holiday party, there were requests to bring ’em back.

All this to say…

For so long, I’d defined The Fantasy Holiday Version of Myself as something I could never be — some unholy Martha Stewart/Ina Garten/Gwyneth Paltrow blend — that every year I ended up feeling that if I could just strive harder or be a bit better I’d achieve it.

Maybe this is the holiday season I embrace being Real over being Perfect.

Was there a holiday moment this year where you realized that it’s okay to be real instead of perfect?

Comments on The Lesson of the McNuggets: Embrace being real over being perfect

  1. That sounds similar to when I offered to order some Dominos pizza as my contribution to a Halloween party when I did not have time to make something. Everyone was delighted!

  2. My husband’s family reunion always has someone bringing a bucket of chicken. Feels like a cop out, until you think, the reunion is in Iowa, they’ve driven all the way up from Kentucky, and it’s from KFC. Kinda fitting, right?

  3. For the last family reunion, I was incredibly tired after a long month at work and I can’t cook at the best of times. The reunion was at a state park a few hours away so I had to leave early in morning, too. I brought a case pack of water. As it turned out, not a single other person, including the hosts, thought to bring beverages to share. It was a hot summer day on the lake including a short hiking trip with the kids. Everyone was thrilled!

  4. OMG this is wonderful! I am not a cook, I am not a host, I am not an entertainer. Therefore, potluck parties make me antsy as shit and I’m also really resistant to having people over to our house. BUT my husband and I have a dream of doing a holiday costume party since other friends have already claimed Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s gatherings as their annual celebrations. I really want to do it but I’m also nervous about providing food fit for an “adult” gathering. This really made me think “fuck that, why do I need to have fancy cheeses when I could have nuggets instead!” So thank you, you just brought us a step closer to the holiday costume party of our dreams!

    • Also, lots of stores sell cheapish party platters now. The ones from Costco are amazing and Wegman’s are pretty good too (pricer though). These have the advantage of being something you can get earlier in the day and are fine at room temp (unlike nuggets and fries).

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