1. “It’s just like a big roast dinner!”
The calm, nonchalant words of your mum or dad the morning they start on Christmas dinner.
2. WHY AREN’T THE POTATOES BROWNING?! I TOLD YOU TO TURN THE OVEN OFF/UP/DOWN/INSIDE OUT (delete as appropriate) NOW EVERYTHING’S RUINED
The harassed, furious and screeching words of your now red-faced, vein-popping parent as D-time approaches, emitted at an ear drum-bursting volume. Cue kitchen exodus.
3. “I’ll get the drinks.”
Said by whichever parent isn’t cooking, as they grab the wine bottle and exit the kitchen in reverse.
4. “Well, it IS Christmas.”
First heard at 10am (along with the Buck’s Fizz cork), then throughout the course of the day whenever the bottle, chocolate box or brandy cream passes.
5. “GO ON. It’s Christmas!”
Said jovially to anyone who does not subscribe to the above rule.
6. “Take it in turns, please”
An order totally ignored by you and your siblings as you tear through your stockings with all the ferocity of a Tasmanian Devil – whether you’re 5 or 15.
7. “Now it’s mummy’s/daddy’s/auntie’s/grandma’s (delete as appropriate) turn”
Cue the giving and receiving of a gift so eye-wateringly dull (cycling gloves, garden trowel, tights) it provides an immediate reminder that growing up sucks, in almost every possible way.
8. “Hurry up, or we’ll miss the Queen’s speech!”
There’s always someone so desperate to watch the Queen’s speech they’ll insist on bolting down Christmas pudding at a speed you know will come back to haunt them later. To the amusement and/or total indifference of everyone else.
9. “But I thought you’d grown out of Advent calendars?”
Every year they ask it, as if you would ever grow out of something as exciting as legitimately eating chocolate at 8am.
10. “Sorry it’s not a chocolate one”
When, finally, they remember to get you an Advent calendar – and they completely miss the WHOLE POINT.
11. “But I thought you’d grown out of stockings?”
May the gods defend you from ever hearing these dreaded words, which it’s almost impossible to defend yourself against without sounding just that teeny bit spoilt. It was fun while it lasted, but that, my friend, is Santa calling time on your fun.
12. “What do you want for Christmas?”
Your mum* will have already asked this. Your dad will ask you around the 22 December, with all the wide-eyed innocence of a middle aged man who’s only just realised Christmas is happening.
*Or vice versa, obviously. Christmas is no excuse for gender stereotypes.
13. “Are you sure that will fit in the hall, darling?”
The doubtful parent, or whoever it is that’s responsible for putting up the Christmas tree at the garden centre when the other one feels a competitive, almost primal drive to purchase the tallest tree going.
14. “There’s no way that’s going to fit.”
When you get the tree home.
15. “It’s okay, I’ll just saw the top off.”
[three hours pass]
16. “WHOSE ******* IDEA WAS THIS? I SWEAR TO GOD, WE ARE GETTING A FAKE ONE NEXT YEAR.”
When sawing the extra four feet off has left needles where needles ought never to go, and inevitably leaves the tree bald.
17. “Did you keep the receipt?”
There’s always at least one present in the pile exchanged between partners that falls short of expectations. Short of lying, this is usually considered to be the most tactful response.
18. “Don’t worry, I kept the receipt!”
Said by an anxious parent when giving pretty much any present, whether it’s a pair of suspect heels or some rollerball pens.
19. “It’s dry. It’s dry, isn’t it? Dry as a bone. I knew it would be dry.”
The cook, upon the serving of the Christmas dinner.
20. “Do you need picking up?”
Said with a heavy sigh when you declare your intention to go to your mate’s Christmas party.
21. “I can’t pick up yerup darling. I’vad too much tdrink. Walkorgerra cab.”
Said in a sleepy, rolling slur when you ring them at 10pm
22. “Have you written your thank you letters?”
Every day between Christmas and New Year.
23. “Are you sure you meant these for me, mum?”
Your mum to your grandma upon unwrapping a bumper pack of men’s thermal vests.
24. “No I did NOT make the Christmas pudding. Who do you think I am, Jesus?”
The parent who cooked Christmas dinner to the parent who didn’t cook Christmas dinner when the latter asks innocently if the pudding is home made.
25. “Has anyone seen the matches? Where are the matches? The pudding’s getting cold!”
Birthdays and Christmas. Literally the only time humans ever need matches anymore. No wonder they can never find them.
26. “It won’t light. Why won’t it light? Give me another match, I’ll just GAH GAH GAHHH.”
Lighting the brandy on the Christmas pud. And maybe burning the tree offcuts.