5:15pm: Arrive home to find house disguised as Christmas grotto. Wreaths everywhere, and there is a glittery reindeer in the fireplace tangled in fairy lights.
“What’s that for?” I ask my mother, suspiciously.
“It’s festive! And I got it in John Lewis, it was down from £45 to £22.50! Actually, those lights look a bit skewiff, do you want to try and rejig them?”
I get on my hands and knees to try and shift the lights so they look less lopsided, or at least like the sodding reindeer isn’t sporting a very shiny knob.
“Yes, it’s quite sharp. It’s made of birch twigs!”
5:24pm: On the plus side, my parents’ zero-policy tolerance to margarine is the stuff of sexy dreams after a year on Lurpak Lightest.
5:25pm: Although v. fattening.
6:30pm: We usually have a problem with the dog at Christmas, who although normally as placid as a big rock just completely loses his shit around wrapping paper.
“Don’t worry, I know what to do tomorrow,” my mother says confidently. “I was jumping on bubble wrap the other day – you know, for fun – and he was so scared he ran upstairs and wouldn’t come down.”
I stare at her blankly. “What do you mean, for fun?”
“I think he thinks it sounds like gunshots, that’s why he’s frightened.”
6:44pm: There is so much food in the house it is disgusting. I haven’t even eaten it yet and already I am consumed with guilt and shame.
6:45pm: I wonder what Gillian McKeith has for Christmas dinner?
6:59pm: Apparently everyone is going out so I am alone watching Sky. We only watch Netflix at home so proper telly always comes as a shock. There is too much advertising and too much Graham Norton.
7:20pm: A brush with my old nemesis the Space Toilet in the upstairs bathroom, so called because its design incorporates a perfectly circular, futuristic-looking and magnificently uncomfortable lavatory seat. It also seems to have developed an unattractive gurgling habit, which sounds a bit like a donkey on a waterslide.
9:40pm: Went to bed early in a sulk.
11:52pm: The Space Toilet is keeping me awake.
7:13am: Awoken by eerie absence of sirens and miscellaneous traffic.
9:15am: Parents take dog for a walk. Go along for a jog, consumed with smug.
9:25am: Totally forgot that countryside is not paved. Mud everywhere. Mud on legs, mud on shoes.
9:28am: Have fallen in puddle. Will probably get trenchfoot.
9:36am: Two impossibly fit blokes jog past; they are clearly wearing football boots or horseshoes or trainers with discreet crampons because they are not having any problems with the slidey mud. It is also not caked up the back of their legs in manner of unforgivable bowel explosion.
9:38am: They’re probably gay. Most men I fancy are. This was probably a warm-up before going home for an afternoon of turkey and festive blow-jobs on a bearskin rug.
9:39am: Fucking arseholes. How dare they jog around all quickly and smiley and not falling-overy.
10:15am: Back home, covered in mud. Previously pristine trainers ruined. Stumbled in angry and bitter after imagining the fit joggers going home and sharing some sort of sexy bathtime with posh bubble bath and Jo Malone candles and congratulating each other on not fancying women. Especially ones who lurk in woodland and lurch from bog to bog like a three-legged moose with parasites.
10:17am: Have eaten 440 calories worth of Ferrero Roche to restore Christmassy mood but obviously they are mostly nuts which are good fats and so don’t count.
10:20am: Presents. Quite a lot of good stuff, actually, including the contents of an entire Liz Earle counter. Anticipating face not unlike baby’s bottom in 2014.
10:21am: A big fat face, obviously. But smooth as.
10:22am: Like an ostrich egg.
11:00am: Put lunch on. We have no potato peeler in the house as my mother maintains the best way to peel potatoes is with a breadknife.
11:03am: Argument ensues over potato peeler/breadknife superiority.
12:14pm: I have been here less than 24 hours and already I’ve been called ‘spotty’, ‘chunky’ and ‘thunder thighs’.
3:00pm: There is a wreath hanging off the bird table.
“What is that?”
“It’s for the birds! It’s made of nuts and things. I got it from Frost’s.” Pause. “They don’t seem to be eating it though.”
3:32pm: Lunch is served. A triumph. I am a genius. Nothing is burned.
3:35pm: “It’s funny really, if you think about it,” says my mother, attacking a honeyed parsnip with a fork, “you put all this work in to Christmas dinner and it all just ends up as poo.”
3:39pm: My sister is in charge of one fucking thing and she can’t even make enough gravy.
4:10pm: “Ooh, do you think we can reuse that?” my mother asks, indicating a 10 x 10 inch square of foil that was used over the stuffing to keep it warm. Pointed out if she’s so hard up she needs to reuse foil then she shouldn’t be buying sharp bastard reindeer ornaments and special nut wreaths for fucking birds.
4:45pm: It is traditional in our house to buy a new board game every Christmas. This year we have the Logo game, which is a quiz based about adverts and branding. We have been playing five minutes and we have already had a row about who gets to be the question master.
4:55pm: “What kind of arsehole uses up the last of the toilet roll and doesn’t replace it!?” I scream from the downstairs lavatory.
“A dirty one,” my dad yells back.
4:57pm: Still waiting for loo roll.
4:59pm: Still waiting.
5:01pm: HIDEOUS DEVELOPMENT. THERE IS NO LAVATORY PAPER IN THE HOUSE.
5:02pm: Jesus Christ, everyone is a ticking time bomb. Wish I hadn’t eaten so much for dinner.
5:35pm: My mother has accused me of being ‘frigid’ because I said I wouldn’t ever sleep with a work colleague. She is so unprofessional.
5:40pm: We knew this already though, ever since she told me she used to hide in the toilets when she was a nurse and it was her turn to do operating theatre duty. Apparently she doesn’t like blood.
6:16pm: After an hour of eschewing Ferrero Roche and cheeseboardly delights because of dire bog roll/ticking time bomb situation, my mother reveals that the spare toilet roll is actually kept in the shower in my parents’ en suite bathroom because it is broken and now a storage cupboard. Of course.
7:30pm: Seriously think future reproductive capabilities may be reduced, if not because all the vital organs have been squished into oblivion by gallons of swaddling fat but because by the time Christmas is over I shall be so overweight my chances of ever getting laid again will be seriously limited.
7:45pm: Phone call from Grandma. Apparently my mother wrote a Christmas card to Auntie Cecily and Uncle Derek, completely forgetting that Uncle Derek died in October.
7:52pm: “Thanks so much for the money, Grandma, it’ll come in really useful.”
“That’s quite alright dear, do you know what you’re going to spend it on?”
“I think we’re going to Cuba next year so I’ll probably put it towards flights. I’m really excited – have you ever been?”
“I haven’t, but I think your parents have.”
“Yes, but Mother poisoned Dad before they left with bad prawns and he spent the entire holiday in a darkened room shitting his guts out and wishing he was dead.”
“Oh. She said she had a nice time though.”
8:20pm: Why do I keep on eating!?
8:25pm: There is now no doubt in my mind that my lineage has been tainted somewhere with deep sea angler fish, whose desolate existence in the deepest and darkest depths of the ocean has equipped it with a jaw and stomach that can distend to allow it to swallow prey more than twice its own size. That’s me.
8:28pm: Although to be fair today hasn’t been as bad as the Christmas dinner I had with my flatmates. I ate twelve pigs in blankets and the entire bacon lattice we used to roast the turkey in. God only knows how many of our porcine friends died to satisfy my grotesque lust for swine flesh.
8:45pm: A row starts over whether my mother deleted the movie Jumper off Sky Plus. Jumper is one of the worst films ever made, but apparently it is one of my sister’s favourites.
9:20pm: Hide in bedroom to avoid any more arguments. Luckily I had the foresight to buy my mother Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse box set, which will distract them.
3:10am: It is three in the fucking morning and my fucking sister is still watching fucking Dollhouse.
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