Or, more accurately, how to cope with the festering pile of ordure that is the family Christmas without biting out anyone’s jugular.
Right. Let’s get a few things clear.
Number one. Christmas is only magical if you are less than five years old.
Number two. Nobody actually likes turkey, Christmas Pudding, eggy snot-like drinks, stupid sentimental films on TV, or playing charades.
Number three. Your elderly relatives will not thank you for inspirational plaques, framed photos of your offspring, slippers, talcum powder, or strange elderly smelling colognes. We have decades of accumulated tat already and prefer to choose our own smells. We want nothing we can’t eat or drink.
Now. Coping strategies.
Christmas shopping. Just don’t do it. Place notes of various denominations in envelopes and invite the family to take a lucky dip. It is wisest to intimate that at least one envelope contains a fifty (even if that’s a lie).
Christmas Day. If you can possibly avoid it keep away from the family on this day of argument and strife.
It’s even politically correct to avoid gatherings this year, and a weak and feeble old lady (or man) voice when refusing invites should just about see you through. (If anybody mentions ‘bubbles’ you should immediately start faffing on about champagne cocktails – that’ll put them off the scent.)
However if you can’t avoid the family get together, leave your hearing aid at home and carry your largest handbag in which you should pack – three packets of ciggies, two hip flasks (suggest brandy and/or sloe gin), a pocket of chocolate digestives, a plastic carrier bag for any presents you might want to keep, and your kindle. Which should just about enable you to survive.
Presents. Rip off the paper, smile vaguely, murmur ‘thank you’. If it’s food or booze (except eggy snot) put it in your carrier bag. If it isn’t shove it down the side of the chair.
Finally. Book yourself a taxi home. Right after the Queen. This is imperative. Slide away silently.
And send a thank you email very early next morning in the vain hope it will have a loud enough notification to play hell with your son-in-law’s hangover.