by NATH VALVO
Christmas day is almost here!
That one day a year when (like it or not) you spend hours and hours sitting and standing around with your beloved family members.
Boxing Day is a national public holiday because everyone needs the time to recap Christmas Day and call the relatives they actually like, to bitch about the relatives they don’t like. Who wore what, who was drunk and who has put on weight (for those similar to me who have female siblings, this also happens on Christmas Day during the car ride home).
Now, I want you and your dysfunctional family to enjoy Christmas this year so I have compiled some simple DOs and DON’Ts to help your day look like one of those scenes from a wanky Christmas hamper TV commercial.
Let’s start with the DON’TS…
1. Try and not call anyone by their name. Every year – without fail – I am overwhelmed on arrival at the size of my actual family and always manage to call an aunty or a cousin by the wrong effing name. To safeguard this I will be approaching every family member with phrases like “Look who it is!”, “Hello beautiful”, and my favourite, “As I live and breathe!”
2. Don’t mention anything to do with money. Ever. Sitting three seats away from you is your uncle who made bad business choices a few years ago and still owes a number of people at the table thousands of dollars. Awkward.
3. By god do not say the word ‘sex‘. Mum’s on her sixth white wine and you do not want to hear anything she has to say on this topic. Stay well clear.
4. Don’t ask ANY female relative if they may be pregnant. Even if she is waddling, talking about craving chalk and looks like she’s shoplifting a watermelon under her dress – do not ask. There is a small possibility she is not pregnant. I made this mistake years ago and my cousin has never ever let me forget it. You can never be certain. They may not be. Just don’t. No.
5. Don’t ask big groups of cousins what Santa brought them this year at the same time, the difference in gifts is a little insight as to which families are doing better this year financially. For example: You: “…and what did Santa bring you this year?” Little Johnny: “I got a colouring-in book.” Little Cindy: “I got a plasma!”
6. Also, don’t sit at the head of the table! This is reserved for the older, more respected family members (i.e. the ones that can’t hear anyone anyway).
I hope you’re writing these down, as I move on to the DOs of Christmas Day…
1. Whenever you can, bring up embarrassing stories of what cousins did when they were younger. Whether it be vomiting at their 18th birthday parties or getting caught masturbating when they were 12, family members are loaded with humiliating information on each other and provoking more stories is hilarious (if it makes you feel better, my family always mention the time I roller-bladed naked around the house and urinated in a pot plant for attention … I was 12).
2. Get your arse seated at the kids’ table. As long as I can remember my dad’s side of the family have upheld the “kids table” tradition. The shonky wooden small table for the youngsters was placed away from the grown ups chit chat. I grew out of the kids table about 17 years ago but I still choose to sit there every year.
The six-year-old cousins are an easier audience and we share a common appreciation for a good fart joke. Animals at the zoo, what presents they received, and which member of High 5 is their favourite is a far more relaxing way to enjoy my lamb than hearing about politics and my aunty’s detailed plans to renovate her kitchen.
3. Make an effort to laugh at peoples’ bad jokes. Christmas Day is a minefield of bad dad jokes. When your aunty’s new partner puts the fake lolly teeth in his mouth and pretends they’re his own (like he’s the first person in history to ever think of doing that joke) just fake laugh – it’s what Jesus would have done.
4. This is a weird piece of advice but I cannot recommend it highly enough – create a bet. For the past 3 years myself and a few select family members have privately placed a bet on what time we think my Uncle Richard will fall asleep on the couch after dinner. There is actual money invested and won and it is a highlight of the day.
5. If you want a good topic of conversation bring up music – this is always a good laugh for the younger members of the clan. Your uncle who is desperately trying to seem “cool” will no doubt embarrass himself by claiming that he listens to “Triple G” or that likes that new “Lady Goo Goo” song.
6. My final piece of advice is … Doggy bags. Uni students and semi starving artists pay attention! If – like me – you visit the supermarket once a month, Christmas day is like an episode of supermarket sweep. Pile up like it’s the Y2K bug all over again! Grab the leftovers! Grab so much food that you need two trips out to your car. Nothing will give the aunties in the kitchen more joy than thinking they are feeding you for the next few weeks, and you get free food that will take you past New Year’s! Everyone wins.
Enjoy your day! Oh, and don’t talk about the carbon tax. Merry Christmas!
Nath Valvo is a comedian based in Melbourne. He can be heard on the Nova FM network and will one day host his own talk show. You can follow him on twitter here.