The holiday season is upon us, and nothing puts a damper on yuletide joy and the spirit of giving like an uncomfortable family dinner. It’s even worse if you’re eating glazed ham and sweet potatoes in the Underworld. That’s why we’ve invited our favorite semi-dysfunctional father-and-son duo of the dead, Nico di Angelo and Hades, to share tips on how to make the holidays feel less like you’re trapped in the afterlife.
RR: Lord Hades, Nico, thank you for taking the time to talk with us. And a joyous holiday season to the both of you!
NICO: Is it, though? Is it really joyous, considering the current state of the world? The looming darkness that we can all feel is about to fall over the next decade?
HADES: I have never understood mortals’ fascination with marking this particular season. All the lights, the baking, the singing . . . It seems like a waste of energy to me.
Oh, I’m just so grateful that almost my entire life has been defined by ghosts and the untimely demise of my loved ones, Dad!
RR: Okay, those weren’t quite the responses we were hoping for, so let’s get right to the questions. As you (hopefully) both know, this is the time of year when families come together to enjoy the warmth of their company. Is it safe to assume you two have something similar planned?
NICO: Maybe . . . If Father decides such a thing is actually worth his time.
HADES: Perhaps, if my son isn’t more preoccupied with other matters.
NICO: What’s that supposed to mean?
HADES: Every time I try to speak to this boy, he has his face buried in his phone, “text messaging” that glowy boyfriend of his. And not to mention all the time he spends playing that internet card game. . .
NICO: You have to bring this up now? Why are you airing our dirty laundry in a public interview? I can’t believe this.
HADES: Don’t talk to me about laundry, young man. When was the last time you washed that shirt?
NICO: How is that any of your concern?
RR: Okay, so I’m sensing a bit of tension here between the two of you . . . Which brings me to our next question. Um, do either of you have any advice to give our readers about how to maybe, well, diffuse this kind of familial argument?
HADES: You stay out of this, mortal.
NICO: Oh, I can answer this. Dear Father over here thinks that he can just buy his children’s forgiveness. As if a present makes up for years of—
HADES: I have given you much more than most children receive in a lifetime, Nico. Perhaps a little gratitude would—
NICO: By the way, Dad, that zombie chauffeur you got me for my birthday last year misplaced his head recently.
HADES: Hmm. I could’ve sworn I reattached that correctly. . .
NICO: And who are you to judge me for texting Will? We all know that if you’d had a phone while you were “courting” my stepmother, you would have been texting her nonstop.
HADES: Yes, well, it’s possible that would have helped during those long, lonely summers . . . But this is precisely my point. It’s obvious you don’t realize how lucky you are, Nico.
RR: We get the feeling that maybe now isn’t the right time for an interview . . .
NICO: Oh, I’m just so grateful that almost my entire life has been defined by ghosts and the untimely demise of my loved ones, Dad!
HADES: You have taken a very disrespectful tone with me ever since you turned 83, young man. What happened to the boy who loved and feared me in equal measure?
NICO: He grew up. Not like you would notice.
RR: Maybe what you two need is to just sit by the fireplace, drink some hot cocoa, and just settle down for a bit.
HADES: You mean the fireplace located within the Mountain of Torment, left of the Fields of Punishment? The howling one with the glowing embers of those cursed to relive their darkest sins for all eternity?
NICO: You know what? Suddenly, I do feel a little bit more grateful. . .
HADES: What say you, boy? Shall we brew up some of this aforementioned “cocoa”?
NICO: As long as it’s not the powdered stuff with the dehydrated marshmallows. I hate that.