'I've got the receipt if you hate it', and six other Christmas throw-down challenges

FILMS and TV would have us believe that Christmas is when we forget our differences but that’s pure bollocks. These classic lines will incite festive violence:

‘I’ve got the receipt if you hate it’

A skilful attack, as it sounds like they’re being thoughtful. However, this is a sneaky way to get you to admit you hate their carefully chosen gift, otherwise they would just have included the receipt in the wrapping. Cue fireworks.

‘Someone’s hungry’

Always accompanied by a pointed glance at your much fuller plate, this apparently banal comment is designed to sting and instantly crushes the main point of Christmas, which is enjoying being able to stuff yourself.

‘Try it on’

Gran has just gifted you a hideous puffy sleeved dress which you hate, but can’t admit to because she’s old. Rather than allowing you to lay it quietly aside before it begins its journey to the charity shop, your bitchy cousin insists you try it on and give everyone a twirl. Oh, how you hate her.

‘We’ll get there sometime in the morning’

Given that this is your increasingly eccentric parents speaking, this could mean 6am or 11.59am. It’s psychological torture as they could arrive at any second. Can you have a lie in? Should you wait to open presents? Every moment is fraught with tension until they finally arrive at 2pm.

‘How about a board game?’

You had scheduled back-to-back Christmas telly for the afternoon, culminating in a long snooze until the cheese and crackers come out. Now that’s been ripped away from you for a three-hour game of Monopoly during which everyone accuses each other of cheating and at least one person starts crying.

‘It’s hard to be on your own this time of year’

Your aunt has been waiting for the right moment to patronisingly deal this stinging barb, opting for in the middle of dinner for the largest possible audience. ‘It could be worse’ you pleasantly retort, with a pointed look at her new husband Nigel, whose tedious, mouth-breathing presence has made you happier than ever to be single.

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'Are you still… you know?' and other questions dickhead family members ask at Christmas

THE season of joy and giving is also a time for knobhead family members to ask insensitive questions, like these: 

‘When’s the wedding?’

Hugely inappropriate no matter your relationship status. If you’re in a relationship you’ve now got to swerve the question without upsetting your partner, if you’re engaged then it’s an awkward reminder no date’s set because it’s not going well, and if you’ve made up a girlfriend it’s a prompt that you really should come out to your parents.

‘Bought a house yet?’

Ah, the one thing you want bringing up at the most expensive time of the year is that you will never own property. After all, life is nothing but a series of milestones to be passed and Christmas is a depressing, annual run-through those missed milestones so you can be admonished, like a dental check-up.

‘Are you still… you know?’

Still what? Unemployed? Vegetarian? A woman? Your family member won’t specify, but they will make a sad little wincing expression then sit back for you to guess what they’re on about. Whichever circumstance you choose to elaborate on they will zone out and mentally file away your life choice as ‘just a phase’.

‘Have you put on weight?’

It’s unacceptable to tell someone to their face they’re a fat prick. That’s why your auntie couches it as a question and leaves you to explain yes, you’ve piled on a few pounds. What do they expect? It’s Christmas. You’ve eaten your body weight in roast potatoes and Malteasers. They’ve got to go somewhere and that somewhere is your waist.

‘So, what about this [controversial topic of the day]?’

This is not polite conversation and it won’t end well. Your uncle doesn’t really give a shit about your views on Just Stop Oil or strikes or trans rights. They’re waiting for you to be wrong so they can sound off their ill-informed opinions from that morning’s GB News. This is why you see them once a year, maximum.