Family Christmas

Reminiscing, it most certainly sounds funny: Christmas day which means the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ – spent in front of the television, always switched to the most boring option whenever something interesting appeared, surrounded by mayhem of two toddlers who were allowed to drink bottle after bottle of caffeinated  diet coke. Every time the status symbol of an unnecessary au-pair tried her best to maintain some resemblance of normalcy for everyone by keeping the children in check, she was either told off or the children taken away from her. A screaming tantrum and some more diet coke later, and the children received whatever they wanted.

Thinking that the long-awaited Christmas Dinner would prove a nice distraction, we all sat down expectantly, only to be witness to yet another shouted row from the kitchen. When the food arrived – pre-arranged on the plates – the veg was boiled beyond recognition and the turkey stone cold. As we had been waiting until after 3pm for it, however, no one minded too much. The crackers turned out to look lovely on the outside but a tad lacklustre on the content side of things. After just 3 incredibly naff jokes, we gave up, sported our golden crowns and munched on. This time I had made sure I sat far enough away from my 3 year old niece who thought it was hilarious to stuff her mouth fuller and fuller until the gagging reflex set in and she threw up on her plate.

The dessert consisted of carefully matched chocolate gateau (£2 from Iceland) and Carte d’Or Chocolate Cream. The 4 person sized portion would have sufficed as a meal…

After Dinner, it was finally time to open the presents, and the children made themselves useful in distributing them amongst everyone. My favourite person to watch is always my mother-in-law. Whenever she receives a gift she hasn’t asked for, she sports an expression of utter disgust. In the 13 years I have known her, she has managed to at least not voice her incredulity. One year, we had given her a pair of tickets to a famous London musical – the reaction was the same as to this year’s DVD of the Phantom of the Opera, simply because it wasn’t the pair of thick black tights she had asked for. And the movie is one she professes to love! I mean, who has ever heard of tights as a present?! I must confess that I was properly perplexed when I read my mother-in-law’s Christmas wish.  She could equally have written that she was running low in cereal or needed a new tub of toothpaste for that matter…

Thankfully we were able to leave before too long and escaped the wailing of the horrendously over-tired children, the blaring TV, the fact that no drinks were offered for a very long time and the racist ranting of my father-in-law who had been hoping for a captive audience.

Like my ever-positive mother-in-law shouted when sitting down to the icy roast: Never ever again!!!


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