The moment you think your family might be normal, someone starts crying for no reason and hides in a bush for four hours.
Never is this madness more apparent than on Christmas Day.
Tomorrow, most of us will spend Christmas with some assortment of humans that resemble ‘family’. They might not be your family. Perhaps they’re strangers, and you’ve walked into their house at 2pm asking where the prawns are at.
Either way, you will most definitely recognise eight very specific people. And this is what they look like.
1. The nosy aunty:
This character has probably been cooking since 4:30am, and hasn’t slept in five weeks, so in fairness is probably delusional.
They want to know why you’re not married yet. They want to know why you’ve put on weight. When you were younger they aggressively shouted, “what on EARTH have you been EATING?! Look at your skin!” Any confidence you may have built over the year is crushed by this aunty at Christmas. She tells you what she really thinks, and goes to sleep standing up in the kitchen, fully clothed, at 9pm.
2. The train wreck cousin:
If you can’t quite identify the train wreck cousin, then you are the train wreck cousin.
We all secretly love this family member, because they make all of us look immensely successful by comparison. They’re lacking direction, perhaps they’ve been in trouble with the law, they might dabble with the drugs and their Facebook statuses are always the subject of many conversations.
They probably tried to get out of seeing the family on Christmas day, but their parents forced them. Someone (probably the nosy aunty) explicitly offends them by asking something like “so, you’ve put your family through quite enough this year haven’t you?” – which we all know isn’t actually a question.
Train wreck cousin swears every year they are DONE with Christmas.
3. The prodigy:
No young person likes them.
They got an annoyingly high HSC result, or have a great career, or saved a stray dog, or volunteered in Africa for three years, or are just very sweet and loves a well-ironed floral dress and sensible shoes.
Old people love the prodigy. As does the nosy aunty. Everyone secretely wishes the prodigy was their kid, except it’s not a secret, because they keep saying sh*t like, “WHY AREN’T YOU MORE LIKE FRANCIS.” No one resents the prodigy more than the train wreck.
4. The sentimental old person:
This is the person who becomes misty eyed at about 4pm, after approximately three and a half glasses of red wine.
Seeing the family together just gives them all the feelings all at once. This is often a grandparent. They start thinking about the people who are no longer here to celebrate Christmas, expressing a sense of nostalgia which results in them grasping the young folk by both shoulders, telling them how proud they are, and how much they would have loved dear uncle John.
5. The conservative uncle:
This uncle isn’t a fan of ‘the refugees’. He thinks political correctness has gone too far. Don’t even get him started on ‘the homosexuals’. People tip toe around him until around about 5pm, when they decide to just stir sh*t because things are starting to get boring. They suggest we should just abandon border control and let all 40 million refugees in.
The conservative uncle is particuarly hard to buy for.
What’s a brilliant gift for men this Christmas? Listen to Holly Wainwright, Mia Freedman, Jacqueline Lunn and Mia Freedman discuss.
6. The stranger:
Look. We’re not positive that every family has this guest. But on Christmas day every year we come across a person and think, “nope. There is no way I have ever seen you before in my life”.
They turn up either significantly before everyone else (at like 9:30am, when the host isn’t even dressed yet), or absurdly late. Perhaps they are someone’s date, perhaps they are a lonely neighbour, or perhaps they literally know no one and sensed there was a party so walked in off the street.
Somehow they always get a present. The kids all look at each other asking “who the hell is that person?” whereas the adults are too polite to ask. The subject of ‘the stranger’ occupies most of the car ride home.
7. The highly politically incorrect old person:
This person is distinct from the conservative uncle. They think the youth have it too easy these days because when they were young they had to walk 10 kms to school, and started full-time work when they were four years old. They talk a lot about the struggles of their ‘day’, and how kids aren’t obedient anymore because their parents are too soft (i.e don’t beat them). This person may, er, fart at the dinner table.
Seriously, one year our nana farted at the table and everyone stopped and stared at her. She shrugged her shoulders and said “better an empty house than an angry tenant”. Not a single f**k was given.
8. The awkward date:
They. Want. Out. They do not remember signing up for this. What’s with the aunty who keeps asking really personal questions? Does anyone know that guy in the corner who smells weird? Did that woman just… fart? They feel judged, probably because everyone is intensely judging them. If their partner is the prodigy, their day will be bearable. If their partner is the train wreck, this will be the last time anyone sees them.