The time has come in my guide to 'Surviving Christmas the Slack Way' for me to discuss 'Family Gatherings'
Whether you have children or not you will be required to show your face and mingle with with obscure relatives that under any other circumstances you would cross the street to avoid.
Here are some instructions on how to avoid any family flouncing.
Broken an ornament
Pulled over the Christmas tree
Smeared chocolate on an expensive sofa
Pulled another child's hair
If you can manage to avoid a vomiting incident, count yourself lucky.
At any family gathering there will always be Mr and Mrs Perfect and their Perfect children in attendance. They will be very easy to spot:
Mrs Perfect will smell of perfume and not a heady mix of gin, turkey gravy, burnt custard and brandy butter.
They will smugly eschew alcohol and sip mineral water...pah!
Their children will be clean, well mannered and will never have had nits.
Their children will not be the ones rolling around on the floor fighting over a paper hat.
Mr Perfect will not be the idiot telling the offensive joke that kills all conversation for the next half an hour.... that honour will go to your husband.
You will have the urge to twat the smug bastards in the face. Please fight that urge. No one wants to spend Christmas in the cells. It's just not worth it.
For some couples Christmas is not the season of goodwill. For these couples Christmas is the time to have a big falling out. It is likely that you will encounter one such couple at a family gathering. They will be easy to spot. One, or both, of them will be knocking back the booze faster than Oliver Reed and George Best having a drinking competition at a free bar, they will only speak to each other through gritted teeth and they will make sarky remarks about each other to anyone who will listen. They can really kill a party atmosphere and all conversational topics are off limits. No matter how innocuous the subject matter might be, it will provide one part of the happy couple with ammunition to have a dig at their significant other. There is nothing that you can do, apart from locking away the wine and having the number of your local police station on speed dial should things turn nasty.
If you are the 'unhappy couple' mentioned above, for the love of God please just stay at home.
If you are visiting your in-laws please remember that the volume of alcohol consumed amplifies the annoyance factor of 'relatives by marriage'. You will have to play second fiddle to your significant other while they get fussed over by their family. You will not be fed, watered or allowed to rest. Please don't drink too much wine and tell them all to get lost. Just grin and bear it and remember that one day you will have a say in what nursing home they go into.
I hope that this guide has provided you with the appropriate tools to have a harmonious Yuletide......and remember, Christmas only comes once a year.