Christmas is awesome: but, for some of us, it can also be just a little bit awkward, really, with no end of opportunities for over-thinking, and other acts of awkwardness. Here are just a few that spring to mind…
OK, most people don’t seem to bother with them these days (Which, RELIEF…), but, of course, some still do, and you just KNOW you’re offending the old-skoolers who still send you a card every single year, even although you stopped sending one in return back in 2004, don’t you?
Also, what are you supposed to DO with the things once Christmas is over? Because, given that someone has gone to the trouble of buying a card, writing it and then posting it to you, it feels really callous to just toss it in the recycling bin with the rest of the household waste, but, then again, it’s not like many of us have the space to store a lifetime’s worth of old Christmas cards either, is it? (She says, with a lifetime’s worth of old Christmas cards currently stuffed into the Chest O’ Doom in her bedroom…)
THE GIFT DANCE
That awkward situation when someone you weren’t expecting a gift from presents you with one, but you don’t have anything to give them in return, and it’s 9pm on Christmas Eve, so you can’t just rush out and buy something, and, OMG, they’re probably going to go home and cry into their mulled wine because they feel so rejected now, aren’t they? The next year, to make up for it, you buy them something extra nice… only to realise that, this time around, they didn’t get YOU anything, having taken the hint from last year’s debacle, so, in attempting to right the wrongs of Christmases past, you’ve now just succeeded in making them feel bad YET AGAIN.
You’re not going to make that mistake a third time, though, so, the year after THAT, you make sure you don’t get them anything, so they don’t feel bad about not reciprocating. Except THIS year they DO get you something: and you don’t have anything for them. You will now continue with this ridiculous dance for the rest of your lives, carefully taking it in turns to get each other a gift/not get each other a gift, but never managing to do the same thing at the same time.
You both know that a simple conversation would fix this sorry state of affairs once and for all, but somehow you never manage to raise the topic with the other person: you have no idea why.
In which everyone basically buys each other the same Boots gift set, and no one can bring themselves to point out that it would’ve been much easier to just all buy your OWN Boots gift sets, if it wasn’t for the fact that no one actually wants a Boots gift set, anyway. You, meanwhile, will invariably draw the name of the one person you know nothing about, and will spend weeks surreptitiously trying to find out their likes and dislikes, so you can buy them something appropriate. In return, you will get a pair of novelty socks and/or something that very obviously came out of a Christmas cracker this time last year.
“LET’S ALL DO HANDMADE GIFTS THIS YEAR! IT’LL BE SO MUCH MORE MEANINGFUL!”
Because OF COURSE everyone has the spare time and necessary skill to make all of their gifts from scratch. OF COURSE they do.
At any other time of year, you can comfortably eat three meals per day and still have room for more. On Christmas day, you take one bite of the first course and are instantly so full you have to surreptitiously undo your top button under the table. Despite this, you will continue to eat far, far beyond the point of comfort and good sense, and then go back for more. Y THO?
OPENING GIFTS IN FRONT OF PEOPLE
Oh, the pressure of trying to appear appropriately grateful, no matter what it is you’re about to unwrap! Always made worse by…
THE GIFT APOLOGIST
There’s always someone who waits until you’re just about to open their gift before announcing that, actually, it’s not a very good gift, really, and you’re probably going to hate it. This starts off innocently enough, with a casual, “Oh, it’s just a little thing, I wasn’t sure what to get you!” but can quickly escalate to the point where the person is basically telling you to not even bother opening the thing, and just put it straight in the bin, instead. No matter how much you genuinely like the gift, you know you’ll never be able to convince them of that, so you end up having to give the kind of Oscar-worthy performance of gratitude that just makes everything awkward, really. And then you’ll have to do it again next year, too.
(Confession: I suspect I might be the person who does this. Yes, I hate myself.)
(There’s also a certain person of my acquaintance – and you know who you are, is all I’m saying here – who does the same thing with food: so they’ll serve up an amazing Christmas dinner, and then politely urge you not to eat any of it, because they just KNOW it’ll be too dry/too bland/you just won’t like it.)
THAT ONE PERSON WHO ALWAYS WANTS TO PLAY CHARADES AFTER DINNER ON CHRISTMAS DAY
And by, “That one person,” I mean, “It’s Terry. Please stop it.”
I know there’s more things I could add to this list, but I’m going to hand it over to you, instead: how awkward is YOUR Christmas, and why?