Web Analytics Made Easy - StatCounter
Buzzblog home

Things That Make Christmas a Little Bit Awkward, Really

Posted on 25 Comments 4 min read

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…

Christmas tree, 2019

01.
CHRISTMAS CARDS

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…)

02.
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.

03.
 SECRET SANTA

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.

04.
“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.

05.
THE BLOAT

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?

9 reasons Christmas is just super-awkward, really

07.
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…

08.
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.)

09.
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?

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

25 Comments
  • Myra
    December 3, 2019

    I need to stop buying enough food to feed the street.

    • Amber
      December 3, 2019

      It’s just not Christmas if you don’t, though 😉

  • Lila
    December 3, 2019

    I agree with the one person who you buy you don’t buy, but now I invariably always buy, it’s only biscuits and I keep two or three spare just in case anyone comes in the door so I can just wait till I get yours I haven’t had time to wrap it yet 😅😬

    Cards, I think I have five friend cards, stopped doing the neighbours cards thing, and then only family cards.
    One card is posted, all are recycled after Christmas, but I have always kept special cards, like kids homemade ones and they are in a box in the loft.

    I mostly get gifts I want because I get asked so it’s a win win, but I do have a friend that gives me toiletry sets, which I can’t use because of allergies, and the odd box of chocolates, which I am fussy about, so anything unwanted gets given to sales/raffles/someone who WILL use them.

    As a rule I avoid Christmas shopping in December, if I ever find myself at the big local shopping centre it will be, because I have gone mad 😂, yes and for fun things, like buying nice food, so it isn’t as stressful.

    I also like to avoid the whole Christmas dinner thing on the day, by eating out, and try to eat as many turkey dinners before the day too.

    If I can do things my way, I am more in control and can avoid all these awkward moments 😅and I can be very very awkward 🤣

    • Amber
      December 3, 2019

      All of our Christmas shopping is done online, but, weirdly, I do quite like going to the shops at this time of year, just because it feels so festive – give me a few minutes at the Edinburgh Christmas market, though, and I’ll probably change my mind on that one!

      • Lila
        December 4, 2019

        I agree, though still have to visit the winter markets…Always best to pick a midweek day, before it gets dark, avoid a lot of crowds 👌

        Nearly every year I buy my presents online too but this year I was in a rush, I bought everything before the Christmas shoppers were out in force and I shopped away from any big shops and the main centre.
        It took 2 or 3 shops and everything was ready to be wrapped, just like the pre-internet days, it felt strangely satisfying 🤔

        Then I had one person I had to buy for after this and I bought three things online that just couldn’t be bought at the shops, and I knew these would make the present receiver very very happy.
        Just very different this year 😀

  • Georgia
    December 4, 2019

    I am an absolute Christmas Fan but the one thing that does get me every year is Secret Santa at work, I always seem to end up with the old guy I’ve never spoken too or the new guy I know nothing about – awkward!!! Great post!

    Georgia Rose | http://www.justgeorgiarose.com

    Xx

    • Amber
      December 4, 2019

      Secret Santa was one of my most hated things about working in an office – ours always had a really low price limit, too, which meant you basically had no option but to all just exchange tat, really. I’m hoping it’ll start to die out now that people are a bit more environmentally aware of the impact of all of that stuff ending up in landfill every year, but I guess some people must enjoy it (Or just have better experiences of it!), so maybe not!

  • dubliner in deutschland
    December 4, 2019

    OMG, yes to all of this! As Christmas approaches I just find it more and more stressful. First there is the whole Christmas cards issue- should I even bother sending them? It’s always so unpredictable who is going to send them each year. And the gift dance drives me bananas. We got some surprise gifts from people which we weren’t expecting last Christmas. We had just gotten them some chocolate. Anyway it’s recently gotten back to me that they were very disappointed we hadn’t gotten them anything(chocolate doesn’t count). I hate it, why can’t people just tell you in advance they are going to give you something. I’m going to have to carry around spare wrapped up presents just in case this year and carry them around in my handbag I think!

    • Amber
      December 4, 2019

      Oh, see, that’s just all kinds of wrong – if you decide to spring a gift on someone without warning, you just can’t complain if they don’t have one in return. And chocolate doesn’t count? Madness!

  • Sim @ Sim's Life
    December 4, 2019

    Absolutely chuckling reading this post, every point is spot on! However, until you see it in writing, you do not actually realise how awkward Christmas is! My daughter is with her father this Christmas so I plan to have a very chilled on and hopefully also avoid any awkward scenarios doing so! 🙂 Sim x

    • Amber
      December 4, 2019

      That sounds like the dream – a lack of awkward scenarios is the best Christmas gift ever!

  • Bee
    December 4, 2019

    Here’s an awkward one: the Chinese Gift Exchange. (Probably not the politically correct way to say it anymore, but I’m not sure what the alternative is…) . Anyway, I have a group of friends and we get together at Christmas to do it. The rule is that you spend $40 on a gift which goes into a pile. You sit in a circle and take turns opening a gift from the pile. Or you can take someone else’s gift that they have already opened if you like it. You take turns opening or stealing gifts from other people until everyone has a turn. The options are endless. The group is great in that everyone usually purchases nice gifts so you usually go home with something good. I usually get pretty angsty about what I buy for it because it never seems to be quite “right”. I think the anxiety comes from one of the first years we did it and I ENDED UP GOING HOME WITH MY OWN GIFT BECAUSE NOBODY WANTED IT. OMG, I wanted to die right there. And it’s not like it was a bad gift, it was a scented Yankee Candle (I KNOW, AMBER!!!) and a box of chocolates. And nobody seems to think that was wrong. Or a bad thing. Ever since then, I end up buying 5 different things for it and then trying to pick the best thing to take. And it is supposed to be a “fun” thing to do. Ugh. I’m disguising my name in this comment, just in case any of my friends read this blog and realize it’s me. I don’t think they have any idea how upset I was. Why make an awkward situation even more awkward!?!?!?

    • Amber
      December 4, 2019

      I’ve just sat here for 5 minutes trying to remember which TV show I saw this on, and it’s just hit me that it was Keeping up With the Kardashians, so now I’m entertaining myself by imagining that you’re on of the Kardashians, commenting on my blog 😉 Seriously, though, that would give me SO MUCH STRESS – especially the bit where other people can steal your gift, because I can guarantee that, by some freak occurrence, I’d get a gift I loved, and then someone would steal it from me. Also: NO ONE WANTED THE YANKEE CANDLE?!? It’s like, I understand all of the words you wrote there, but I just can’t understand how that can even happen? (If it’s any consolation, though, I would most definitely have taken your Yankee Candle – and I’d have fought anyone who tried to steal it from me.)

    • lalie
      December 4, 2019

      Does that really exist?! I saw that in an episode of the Office, that is so much stress and pressure in real life!

  • Karen
    December 4, 2019

    My mam has had so many run-ins with the surprise gift giver that she keeps a couple of presents of different but very generic kinds (a tin of Roses, a Boots gift set, a hat and scarf) wrapped with a blank name tag on, so if someone arrives with a surprise gift she just has to “go and get theirs” and scribble their name on the tag. This is a whole process that must be followed every year. (Sometimes I get to keep the Roses, if nobody arrives with a surprise gift!)

    • Amber
      December 4, 2019

      Ha, Terry’s mum used to do the same thing – there was always a box of chocolates wrapped up and hidden in her room, just in case someone arrived unexpectedly. Unfortunately for me, someone almost always did, otherwise I’d have been all over those chocolates… 😉

  • Alice
    December 4, 2019

    Mine is not at all awkward because I just tell everyone up front that I am not celebrating Christmas, I don’t want presents and cards, and I won’t be sending any.

    (OK, maybe they think I am awkward/mean but at least I’m clear). And I definitely don’t have the time to be putting up Christmas decorations and taking them down again.

    • Kelly Glen
      December 4, 2019

      It’s nice to hear there’s somebody else who thinks the same as me. I don’t celebrate it in anyway either.

    • Amber
      December 4, 2019

      I do celebrate it, but I would love to be able to ditch the gifting aspect of it, other than for children – I just don’t need any more stuff, and I don’t think many of the people I buy for do, either!

      • Alice
        December 5, 2019

        I honestly think you can say that. For a while in my family we specifically asked each other what gifts to get, so as to make sure people got things they wanted/needed. But then we just decided we all had enough stuff and we wouldn’t do it. If you tell everyone up front I think it’s fine! You can even propose a donation to charity instead if you feel you should do “something”. It’s just so much waste otherwise.

        • Amber
          December 5, 2019

          Oh, we’ve tried, trust me! Some people are on board with it, but there’s still a few who feel it’s not Christmas without a gift exchange: we’ve managed to get it down to just one gift per family (We used to buy for every single person, both adults and children, but switched to a single gift that’s something everyone will use…), but I’d much rather put the money towards everyone going out for a meal together or something: that way you still get all of the benefits of Christmas (food, family, etc) but without the waste of it. We’re working on it 🙂

  • lalie
    December 4, 2019

    wait until Max is at school and join the Christmas card dance – 30 kids, that’s 30 cards to write, plus teachers, plus TA, plus family, plus other friends. It’s good practice for their writing, right? Right? (sob)

    You can buy lovely handmade gifts on Etsy or local Facebook, or the school Christmas Fair though…

    • Amber
      December 4, 2019

      Oh God, yes – the school cards make me feel anxious already: and it also seems to be a “thing” now that they have to take in gifts for the teachers/teaching assistants etc, which wasn’t a thing when I was at school (Olden Days) – I’m horrified!

      • lalie
        December 4, 2019

        don’t be scared of suggesting alternatives! Collection for the class – so teachers can buy books, or glue sticks…. and collection for vouchers as a end-of year gift – that’s what we do, it’s optional and so much easier. Our school even has an amazon wish-list for supplies they need, or games they can use on “wet days” (because English children stay indoors when it rains, don’t ask…)

  • Claire
    December 5, 2019

    I can definitely relate to a lot of these! I don’t give/receive very many presents though so that makes it easier <3

    G is for Gingers xx

Previous
11 Things I Didn’t Know About Toddlers Until I Had One
Things That Make Christmas a Little Bit Awkward, Really