Ah, Christmas. A time for peace, tolerance and goodwill towards all men and women – until the fighting begins: welcome to Christmas Day argument bingo.
But as we all know, despite all the good vibes, the sparkle and the belt-loosening amounts of fab food and drink, the festive period can also be a stressful time.
Feel free to play along, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
1. Being somewhere on time
It’s the big day and you’ve got to be somewhere.
You’ve had breakfast and everyone has opened their presents.
But you all have to be at your bubble for 12 and a) you are running behind on Zoom calls and b) you can’t find anything to fit in to wear and c) her gift didn’t arrive from Hermes on time.
It takes a monumental effort to get out the door and bubble buddy Auntie Debbie only lives across the road.
2. Who to blame when the Christmas Dinner goes wrong
It happens every. single. year.
You spend a fortune feeding the masses, you plan ahead, you’ve watched Jamie Oliver and made his fancy chestnut gravy and you’re feeling good about the whole meal.
Everything’s on time and you’ve built up a sweat running around the kitchen so the meal is on the table in time for the Queen’s speech.
But there’s always something you’ve forgotten – or burnt – or the gravy tastes like liquidised mud (THANKS JAMIE OLIVER).
And that’s when the arguments start.
Who’s to blame? What went wrong? And why didn’t I stick with Bisto?
3. Who’s going to do the washing up?
Mum and eldest offspring have slaved away in the kitchen all morning, while dad has sorted out the drinks.
And now the meal is over. It took seven hours to cook, and 20 minutes to eat.
The grandparents are already asleep, and the kids are playing with their presents.
And there, in the kitchen, are stacks of plates, roasting tins and pots and pans so high they look like three Leaning Towers Of Pisa.
So who’s going to broach the subject first? Cue excuses time.
4. What to watch on TV?
With so much on telly these days, having the whole family around can prove to be tricky when it comes to choosing what to watch.
Nan likes Bradley Walsh and wants to watch him on the other side, mum wants to watch her soaps and Call The Midwife, and the kids want to use the TV to play Xbox on.
Dad’s already asleep in his chair because he put too much brandy on the Christmas pudding.
Stand by for a battle royale for the TV remote.
5. Wrapping all over the place
Christmas is a time for giving and the looks on the kids’ faces as they open their presents.
It’s a magical moment on a magical day.
Except the reality is often far different.
Christmas morning is a frenzy of torn-apart wrapping paper (you know, that expensive stuff you bought from Paperchase for a change this year).
Your living room now looks like a war zone, and now the dog is starting to roll around in it all and tear the wrapping paper into even smaller pieces.
It’s enough to test even the most patient of people.
6. How does this gadget work?
Increasingly, kids and adults alike are receiving gadgets for Christmas.
Smart phones, smart watches, smart scales, smart toys and smart everything.
So when these presents are received there’s delight all round.
The only problem? You have to try to figure out how to work them.
The instruction manual is like War and Peace, and even more difficult to understand.
You can guarantee that within five minutes of not figuring out how to work something there will be tears and tantrums.
7. “But I wanted this, not this!”
You think you know someone.
You’ve paid attention all year in the hope of a squeak of inspiration when it comes to presents.
And you’ve gone out, risked lockdown and bought something you’re convinced your loved one will absolutely adore.
And then they open it, and you realise that they wanted something completely different.
Vouchers all round next year.
8. “I’m Bored!”
Twnety-twenty has been a horror of a year from more or less start to finish.
For nine months families have been locked down, unable to see each other.
So when the relaxed restrictions come into play over the festive period it’s the chance for whole families to get together and enjoy each other’s company.
With the excitement of the present unwrapping like a distant glow in the rear-view mirror, things are starting to turn ugly.
The kids are bored of the adults, bored of their presents and bored of the TV.
There’s only one thing for it…
9. Board games
… Yes, let’s get out the bored games.
It’s the perfect opportunity to see which family member is ultra-competitive, which child bursts into tears for no good reason and old wounds to be exposed.
So go on, get the board game out and let battle commence.
10. Too much to drink
Need we say more?
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