The top 10 simmering family resentments you gloss over every Christmas

DO you normally manage to ignore festering family disputes at Christmas? Here are some that could spill over into a blazing row at any moment.

10. Why your younger brother still lives at home rent-free

The kids love that uncle Tom spends hours on his Nintendo and still collects boxed Lego figures, whereas you are more likely to observe that he’s been sponging off your parents for the last 30 years. That’s okay, he’s been ‘thinking about’ getting a job.

9. Who hosts Christmas lunch

Your mum is hosting but keeps complaining it’s really too much for her these days, as if you’re slowly murdering her. But if you offer to host she’s devastated and betrayed. If passive aggression was a martial art she’d be a black belt.

8. Your sister-in-law’s get-rich-quick scheme

No, you don’t want to buy a vastly overpriced skincare range from your sister-in-law, especially when she keeps asking you to host parties to lure in your friends. She’ll be deeply offended if you say the words ‘pyramid scheme’ because she genuine believes she’ll be hosting Christmas on her luxury yacht next year. 

7. Your parents’ career advice

Worried about redundancies at work? You did A-level Spanish so your dad will suggest teaching it to kids. Yes, you can sleep easy at night now, knowing there’s always part-time home tutoring you have no qualifications for to pay the mortgage.

6. Spending all day driving around

Your family Christmas is spent in the car driving around keeping various family members and in-laws happy. You will always get it wrong, despite wasting your Christmas day stuck in a tailback on the A3. You’d like to kick them out on a deserted lane, but you’d never hear the last of it from Auntie Clare.

5. Fake cheer in photos

Everyone pauses the tension as your Insta-happy step-sister takes a shot of the Christmas lunch. You all gurn happily like the best family ever, even if you’d secretly like to drown half of them in the gravy and you’re f**ked off about your parsnips getting cold.

4. Brexit

Your father voted for Brexit due to unfathomable resentment about Britain’s 1992 departure from the ERM, and butter mountains. Now it’s wrecking the economy and you and your children have lost their freedom of movement. If you didn’t keep schtum you’d be rowing during dinner and all the way through Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

3. Who got more love when you were kids

Being back in your parents’ house brings back the fact that your sibling got the massive spare room whereas you had the box room, even though you were older. It still rankles, even in your 30s – probably because your starter home isn’t much bigger. Although it doesn’t have Michael Jackson posters, obviously.

2. Your parents’ adherence to bizarre rituals

Your mum insists on serving tinned custard with the Christmas pudding, even though no one likes it, whereas your dad frogmarches you all out for a walk after Christmas dinner even if it’s pissing with rain. Contemplate initiating a few crazed rituals of your own, such as ritually chucking all the orange cremes out of the Roses tin into the bin, and see how they like it.

1. Who gave better gifts

Every year your thoughtful Hotel Chocolat hamper is reciprocated with a box of Matchmakers, and not even a decent box, a mini pound shop box. Thanks, Aunty Jean. Hope you rot in Hell.

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Five times you can bunk off work if you've got kids

CHILDREN are an expensive, noisy hassle. Their one saving grace is that you can use them to skive off work on these occasions.

Nativity plays

Watching your kid miss their cue, trip over their costume and forget their lines is an annual slog, but it gets you out of the office for an afternoon. When parents in the audience tearfully comment that their little ones are growing up so fast, it’s because they’re mourning the decline of a valuable excuse dispenser. Once they go to university it’s game over.

School runs

What’s wrong with the school bus? Nothing, except that it would mean you’d have to do a full day’s work. A round trip in your car eats up a couple of hours, time which you say you’ll make up but never do. It’s only fair though, you chose to reproduce which gives you certain inalienable rights, one of which is the entitlement to be a workshy twat.

They’ve done one cough

What’s that? Little Tilly did a single cough and doesn’t look the slightest bit peaky? Right, better scrap the afternoon of meetings you had lined up and drive her to the hospital. She’s obviously dying. Your colleagues will have to pick up the slack, which luckily they’re really good at because you do this every fortnight.

Extracurricular activities

School runs and illnesses only take up so much time. That’s why parents frogmarch their kids into sports clubs and music lessons, so they can skive off and attend to those as well. If you line everything up perfectly you can get away with briefly swinging by the office in the morning, taking an hour for lunch, then popping out until the next day.

It’s 4pm

Every day you can start frantically packing up and putting your coat on an hour early because of parental duties you don’t have time to explain. Fellow parents will understand, non-parents will look on with bitter resentment and suspect you’re bullshitting. It’s not like they can follow you and prove it, they’re chained to their desks until five.