Christmas at home: The Survival Guide
Going home to your family at Christmas can be tough, because normally you can stay up at night and drink as much as you want. Now your parents are asking if you're sure you don't need to go toilet before you leave the house.
Here are 26 tips for surviving this Christmas alive and with your sanity in tact.
26) Wear your goddamn Christmas cracker hat
With it on, you look like an idiot. With it off, you look like a killjoy. Wear the goddamn Christmas cracker hat, you killjoy. It's a pointy paper hat, not a uniform covered in swastikas: You have no valid excuse to not wear it.
25) If you turned vegetarian at uni, keep it a secret
If you've turned vegetarian at uni, keep it secret from grandma or she will make it her mission to convert you back to meat. You think I'm kidding? Think your nan wouldn't do this? Enjoy waking up with bacon juice being poured into your mouth through a funnel.
Make your own Quorn or Soy sausages and wrap them in veggie bacon and pretend you're eating a chipolata. Every now and then say "I hate pigs. Every last one of them deserves to die." otherwise you will arouse suspicion. Baste in secret. Your mum's turkey may be dry as hell, but if she catches you basting it, you're gonna get straight up murdered for Christmas. Or she'll defecate in your Xmas stocking, and no-one wants that.
24) Endure the Christmas music
Christmas music isn't meant to be enjoyed. It's training in case you are ever interred in Guantanamo. Endure it as best as you can and try not to spill any state secrets in an attempt to make it stop. Stay calm. The moment it hits midnight you won't hear any Wham for another 11 months.
23) Do not watch soaps
Do not, under any circumstances, watch any soaps. They may be billed as "Christmas specials" but the closest they get to fulfilling this brief is when a character says "Merry Christmas, bitch" before throwing a turkey at their grandma or gravy at a close friend. If older relatives insist on watching them, this is your opportunity to nap.
22) Remember what the turkey went through
Whenever your Christmas feels stressful, think about what the turkey went through. You think your drunk relatives are annoying? Imagine getting killed before the holidays and having stuffing rammed into your body cavities in a way recommended by Delia Smith.
We tried to ram a cow up there, but it just wouldn't fit.
21) Accept that you're about to pile on the pounds
Christmas is not a time for dieting, and your parents want to feed you. Eat as much as as you can, like a bear preparing for winter. But a bear with access to endless cheese and crackers. Gorge yourself.
20) Drink in secret
Do most of your drinking in secret. Your parents don't know you can now represent your country in the national drinking championships. Preserve their saintly image of you.
19) Don't accuse your home friends of being shapeshifting lizard people
Christmas parties at home are stressful. Home friends may appear different when you meet them again, having been away from them for such a long time. Do not accuse them of being body snatching imposters or try to physically take off their mask with a crowbar. People change. You've probably changed too. Take this time to catch up and show off the new you. They are not a shapeshifting lizard and you'll need that crowbar to fight the mole people.
18) Be sensitive about missing uni around your parents
Your family miss you and would like to think you've missed them. No matter how much you miss uni when you get home, try not to say "I miss not being in this goddamn house" out loud during Christmas lunch, or shortly after opening a present.
17) Tell your mum her food is edible
Your mum makes the best potatoes, your mum makes the best potatoes, your Mum makes the best potatoes. Repeat this phrase to yourself until you believe it, or at least until the potatoes appear edible and your gag reflex stops.
She tried and they took 5 hours to make (which is frankly part of the problem) so you should eat them without showing physical symptoms of distress.
16) Don't watch the queen's speech
When have you ever thought "I wonder what the queen has to say about this?" Exactly. So why the hell are you watching her speech? You think this is the year she's going to flash? Turn it off, nothing interesting is going to happen.
If you want an interesting summary of the year, go to someone who's actually done something. There's a zookeeper in Japan who's been trying to make two hyenas breed for the last four years, only to realise in October that they were both men. That guy's had a pretty damn interesting year. Or McGruff the Crime Dog, who got sentenced to 16 years in jail for owning 1,000 cannabis plants and a grenade launcher.
The Queen got a new hat. Who do you want summarising their year?
15) Practice your "it's just what I always wanted" face
You're going to need it for when you unwrap your gifts. Practice until you can look at the contents of your own toilet and react as though you've fired out an iPad into the bowl, and Christmas day will go smoothly.
14) Limit interactions with siblings
You'll be happy to see your siblings at first. This won't last long, so be wary. Limit yourself to ten minute conversations, then leave the room. Run if you have to.
13) It's pronounced Mince Pies
It's mince pies, not minced pies. Make sure you ask for the first one, or your pedantic father will crush them down to a pulp and serve them in a glass, and frankly I'm on his side here.
12) Use Secret Santa to offend everybody
Everyone thinks Secret Santa is for fun quirky gifts. It's not. It's for offending every last motherf***er in the room, anonymously, and for under a fiver. Every year I was single at uni one joker bought me an "inflatable girlfriend". Get it? I'm single and can only hope to romance something made of plastic. Ho ho, fucking ho.
Preempt this. Revenge is a dish best served as a starter. Buy your secret Santa a sex doll. If they enjoy wine get them a pamphlet from AA. But not that. Think of something better.
11) Get drunk and send yourself a Christmas gift
Christmas presents are unwrapped too early, and you don't have much to look forward to afterwards. Here's where you can use drinking to your advantage. At some point in the lead up to Christmas go drunken shopping for a Christmas gift to yourself. Make sure you're sober enough to stay safe but drunk enough to forget you bought yourself a gift. Wrap it, hide it in your room and search for it on Christmas night.
10) If you don't feel bloated you aren't done eating
Force down some pudding. Choke it down like a duck if you have to, that is what Christmas is all about.
9) Watch it's a Wonderful Life
Watch It's a Wonderful Life. Right now. It's regularly voted the best Christmas film of all time, and if you don't cry you have no soul. This is the only advice on here that's actual advice. You need to watch this film.
8) Keep mace by your bed
If someone sneaks into your room at night there's no guarantee it's Santa. Keep mace by your bed. If it's your parents dressed as Santa, or Santa himself, they'll forgive you in the spirit of Christmas.
7) Prepare for conversation for relatives
Seeing relatives you haven't seen in a while is incredibly stressful. Be prepared for the kinds of things they're going to talk to you about. If they say "you've grown" you should be ready to say "you've aged" at a moments notice.
Practice your weather conversation. Learn the phrase "the weather is unusual for this current time of year" and repeat it like you're a robot trying to pass for human.
6) Stop talking - you're drunk
Resist the urge to hug people and tell them you love them. You're drunk. Give them a handshake and tell them you like them the usual amount.
5) Try Baileys on your breakfast
Christmas is the only time in the year it's socially acceptable to drink in the morning. Try pushing the boundaries. Having cereal? Use Baileys instead of milk.
Worried about alcohol breath? Creme de Menthe can make a passable mouthwash.
4) Offer to help cooking long after it's a useful thing to offer
Offer to help cooking at 12:00. It's way too late to actually do anything useful, but early enough that it doesn't look like a token gesture, and at this time the cook won't be too manic yet. Ask at 10:00 and you'll get actual jobs, ask at 1:00 and you'll be told where to shove your token gesture of help.
3) Guard the meat at fake Christmas
Fake Christmas with your uni mates isn't like Christmas at home. It's a battle for dominance. Every offer to make gravy or season the vegetables is actually a coded way of saying "step aside, children, I am alpha male here." Fend off their advances. Guard the meat.
2) Match your uncle drink for drink
Match Uncle Carl drink for drink. That guy can really put it away. If you have to talk to him, it's best you're drunk too.
1) Try not to tell any small relatives that Santa doesn't exist
Try not to tell any small relatives that Santa doesn't exist, or is dead. It's surprising how quickly this can make Christmas day turn sour.