I am a librarian so I like things in alphabetical order, so much so that using the Yellow Pages can inspire me to great heights of rage (Why so many pages of entries beginning with "The"? Stupid!).
Anyway, Christmas can be a stressful time and in the spirit of the season (ie benevolence, generosity, yadda yadda) I thought I would bestow upon you my very helpful tips to surviving the Christmas period...in alphabetical order, because that, folks, is how I roll...
A is for Alcohol - You're probably going to want some and the bottlestore won't be open so you'd best plan ahead.
B is for Babies - You'll either be asked when you're going to have one (I like to picture my eggs withering on the vine like old grapes) or you'll be expected to hold/play with one. Just make sure you drape some kind of cloth over your shoulder if you have to burp it.
C is for Christ - Apparently this geezer is in some way associated with rampant consumerism and fake plastic trees. Who knew?
D is for Derek - Maybe his name isn't Derek, maybe it's Hayden or Wayne. He might be your second cousin, your flatmate's brother, or your sister's "partner". He'll spend much of Christmas day speaking directly to your breasts in the mistaken belief that you hear through them rather than your ears. He'll make indelicate remarks about your weight after which he'll claim he was "just kidding". Under no circumstances allow yourself to be drawn into a conversation with him while you're holding a carving knife. When he asks how you're doing just tell him you've got your period and he'll leave you alone for the rest of the day. For added holiday fun give him knowing looks everytime you go to the toilet.
E is for Easter - If it all gets too much just console yourself with the knowledge that you've got months before there's another religious holiday that might require you to spend quality time with your whanau.
F is for Food - You're going to eat too much of it. It's Christmas, everyone does. Don't bother feeling guilty about it but certainly think twice about wearing something constrictive around the mid-section.
G is for Games - Back in the day it might have been Battleship or Connect4 these days it's more likely to be a Playstation or similar. Eventually the cheery, festive conversation is going to dry up and you'll need some way to kill the time.
H is for Hyperactivity - The kids will go mental. Just accept this. It may make it easier if you "ride the sugar tiger" yourself. I recommend jaffas (for the red food colouring).
I is for "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus" - One of the more disturbing Christmas songs that may be inflicted upon you. Honestly Freud woulda had a field-day with it. Avoid at all costs (See also N is for Nine Inch Nails)
J is for Justifiable Homicide - If you do find yourself in a conversation with Derek whilst holding something sharp you may want to tell your lawyer that you were doing humanity a favour.
K is for"Killing in the name of" - Not suitable holiday fare for the Christmas Day stereo (at least not until Nana and Pop are having a wee nap after lunch).
L is for "Lovely weather we're having" - You're more than likely going to get stuck talking to someone you don't have a lot in common with. The weather is always a handy conversational standby, though the chances are it will be decidedly average on the day. Or they might be really interested in Uncle Fred's gall bladder operation. People love stories involving surgery. That's why Shortland Street is so popular!
M is for Movies - If Games don't appeal then how about a film about a nun with a guitar looking after a family of badly behaved but sweetly singing children? Oh, come on... there are Nazis in it!
N is for Nine Inch Nails - The songs of such have been scientifically proven to negate the effects of Christmas music. Load some up on your MP3 player and take with meals.
O is for "Oh my gosh, it's just what I always wanted" - Entertain yourself by critiquing everyone's gift reaction "performances". For a fun holiday craft create score cards out of discarded boxes and wrapping paper.
P is for Presents - You will have accounted for everyone that you need to buy for but you never know when an extra Christmas visitor is going to turn up. Have a couple of generic presents wrapped and ready to go. Nothing says "I barely know who you are, and certainly don't care what you actually wanted for Christmas" like a nice shower gel gift set.
Q is for Queen of the kitchen - There always is one. You know who she is. Just do as you're told and don't get in her way.
R is for Retail Withdrawal - The shops won't be open on Christmas Day, so you will have to go a full 24 hours without purchasing anything. This may make you cranky or a bit twitchy. Get the kids to play "shopkeeper" with you if you're seriously jonesing. Just don't be surprised if they need two forms of ID to accept a cheque.
S is for Scorched Almonds - Is there any problem that a handful of chocolate coated nuts couldn't fix? I think not.
T is for Turkey Coma - If you feel a bit sleepy after lunch just go with it. The dishes will still be there when you wake up. What, you thought someone else was going to do them for you? That really would be a Christmas miracle.
U is for Uncle Fred's gall bladder - By the end of the day you will be so sick of hearing about it you'll be ready to be admitted to the hospital yourself but let's face it nothing else remotely interesting has happened to Uncle Fred in the last ten years. It's his moment of glory so let him have it but have a sudden need to "powder your nose" if he threatens to show off his scar. Give Derek a wink as you slope off.
V is for Vanishing act - If you can manage to disappear for a part of the day, to the petrol station to get ice, or just for a walk around the block then this will greatly increase your ability to last the day and there's a good chance no one will even notice you've gone.
W is for Waist - It's going to get bigger over the course of the day. If you're already on the last hole in your belt then you might want to dispense with it altogether. Pop that top button if you need to.
X is for Xander, Jaxon and Bex - Your relatives have probably named their kids something stupid or badly spelled. While it may be tempting to ask "How do you spell it again?" with a confused look on your face, followed by an eye-roll you probably shouldn't. But what the hell, it's Christmas. Go for it.
Y is for Young 'uns - Your niece thought you were the cats pyjamas when she was seven but now she's got emo hair and an attitude and has nothing but contempt for you. This may be hurtful but let the knowledge that you have disposable income, better taste in music, and orgasms for which you weren't solely responsible keep you on an even keel.
Z is for Zebra - which has nothing to do with Christmas but I couldn't think of anything else. You're more than welcome to submit your own if you can think of one but probably all your spare brain power is being used figuring out if you need more gift wrap or if you'll be able to fit all the food into the fridge. But if you can spare any tips, beginning with whichever letter you like then I know I'd appreciate it. After all, it's all about giving, innit?
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