One week on: Admit it, Christmas can be kind of annoying.

Kate Hunter: No one ever, since Christ’s actual birth said, ‘You know, that pic of Mum wearing a paper crown makes her look so pretty. I’ll pop it in a frame’.

So it’s been a week since Christmas. The presents are open and the family’s gone home. Maybe the tree’s still up and you’re still eating turkey leftovers for lunch. We’re done singing the 12 Days of Christmas, and it’s now time to launch into the 12 Annoyances of Christmas. 


There’s lots I love about Christmas.

I love the lights – the more ‘Clark Griswaldesque’ the better. I love a party and I love a skinny Santa with a pillow under his Crazy Clark’s costume. I love a car with reindeer antlers and my mother’s friend Sue who wears bauble earrings all December. I like to watch ‘Love Actually’ with my husband on Christmas Eve and I enjoy church the next morning – men with new-shirt creases across their shoulders and kids literally jumping to get out there to ride their new bikes. I remember that feeling so well.

There are, however, elements of Christmas I’m lukewarm about. Not big things like the expectation of family togetherness that rarely happens, or missing people who should be with you. Those are big things that affect every family, and aren’t to be made light of.

I have, however, assembled a list of my Christmas niggles. The little moans and whinges that complete the tapestry of Christmas. My list is by no means complete – you might like to add to it,  but this is what pisses me off at Christmas:

1. ‘Oyster’ packed toys. It’s a rare parent in 2012 who hasn’t hacked off part of a digit trying to release a Polly Pocket from her plastic shell using a stanley knife. And why is Barbie cable-tied to that backing board? Did Mattel watch Toy Story and worry it might be a documentary and the toys would run amok after the shops close.

2.  Ham. The most overrated of meats. My kids have it in their sandwiches several times a week and wonder why all the cooing when there’s ham on the table on Christmas Day. Then in the omelettes on Boxing Day. And in the vol au vents on New Years Eve. Actually, we don’t have vol au vents on New Years Eve and haven’t done so since 1976 but you get my point about ham.

My bad.

3. Creative Carol Singers. Call me old fashioned, but I like carols sung in their recognisable form. Organisers of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl carols would do well to note: No one wants a soul sister Mariah Carey style warbling version of ‘I Wish You A Merry Christmas.’ Even if it is Mariah herself.

4. Christmas cracker paper crowns. No one ever, since Christ’s actual birth said, ‘You know, that pic of Mum wearing a paper crown makes her look so pretty. I’ll pop it in a frame’.

5. Turkey. While most people quite likes ham, no one feels that warmly turkey. If it was so great, we’d eat it more than once or year. Pity the poor Americans who have to eat it at Thanksgiving as well as at Christmas.

6. Gift vouchers. Controversial I know, but I would prefer a bad guess at something I’d like rather than a gift that shows no thought whatsoever. As a mother, I don’t like my kids getting vouchers as it means I HAVE TO TAKE THEM SHOPPING at a time I never want to shop again. I think being able to say, ‘Thanks Auntie Gwen. That white bath towel was exactly what I was hoping for!’ with enthusiasm and conviction is a valuable lesson for any six year old.


7. Christmas cake. Also controversial. It’s a love or loathe thing. I’m not a fan, but I absolutely respect others’ right to enjoy fruit and alcohol baked into stodgy cake formMy mother in law makes a famous Christmas cake and as she’s now in her eighties the recipe is now also in the hands of my sisters in law and myself. We’re suspicious though, that Betty might have altered quantities, so when the time comes for us to replicate it, people will say, ‘Mmm. Nice, but not as good as Bet used to make!’

8. Wrapping paper folding. When presents are being unwrapped, there are those who rip-and-tear (me) at odds with those who hover anxiously waiting to catch and fold the paper for use next year. Cards can also be salvaged (tear off the written part and use as gift tags) and while I admire the thrift on display, the worry about waste diminishes the recklessness that is Christmas to me.

When you have a themed Christmas tree, where are the home-made decorations?

9. Rum balls. I love chocolate and enjoy rum. But prefer each served separately. The same applies to brandy and butter.

10. People who have a go at normally non-practicing Christians for clogging up the pews on the 25th. Jesus might be the reason for the season but I’m pretty sure he’d be happy to throw the doors open to anyone who felt like showing up. Even if it is but once a year.

11. Themed Christmas trees. We went to a very beautiful apartment once, the home of some very beautiful friends, for a Christmas party. Their tree was 12 feet tall and sparkling white. All the decorations were silver, and the presents beneath the branches were wrapped in silver paper (not Alfoil). Clearly none of their kids were getting Super-Soakers or other awkward-to-wrap toys as each parcel was either square or rectangular. I wondered (but didn’t ask) where the kid-made paper chains and misshapen angels were. Perhaps they had another tree in the garage laden with the kid-robelia.

12. Candy canes at school. When did this become A THING? The last week of school and the place is awash with sticky candy canes and cards, unread by kids and paid for by parents. One school principal I know tried to suggest giving candy cane money to a charity but the kids laughed it off like maniacs on a minty sugar high and the principal went back to picking half-sucked candy canes off his shoe.

Yes I’m a bit  bit bah humbug, but it all contributes to the miraculous madness that is Christmas. And if we can’t vent on mamamia where can we? What are your Christmas annoyances. Share here and ye shall not be judged.