Family is what Christmas is all about but for most people, time spent with kin comes with a reasonable amount of homicidal urges, Sophie White shares her top tips for not giving in to the voices in your head
Look, we've all been there. Out for a Christmas walk on a remote stretch of a cliff path, the waves roaring far below with our mother a few paces ahead. The thought creeps across your mind. "I could just say she stumbled and fell." You speed up to close the distance between you. The wind is howling "DO IT" in your ears. You're so close now you could reach out and touch her red puffa jacket. "It was a terrible accident," you'll tell them.
And then she whips around and says:
"Did I tell you that Aunty Kitty's next door neighbour's daughter Saoirse got engaged in Paris?"
And the spell is broken. I can't kill her, the paperwork alone would be a nightmare. And she's the only parent I have kicking around anymore. Though I do keep the old 'fall while out on a walk' in the back pocket as an option, as we all do I'm sure... don't we? DON'T WE?
Okay maybe I shouldn't have committed that to print, particularly what with how specific the plan is.
Christmas is a great time of year but along with the many ups (eating, drinking and being merry) there is a fairly considerable down. Family.
Sure, we love them... at a healthy distance., but if we're going to see them for a prolonged period of time, conditions have to be perfect. For example, if I'm hungover I will never agree to meet up with any of the blood relatives (my children excluded because obviously I don't get to avoid them openly). I just know that a pounding headache and fragile emotional state will not mix well with my family's particular brand of low-grade simmering resentment and passive aggression. Christmas in my experience is not a 'perfect conditions' scenario. Everyone is physically uncomfortable, either agitated and hungry before dinner or else debilitatingly full post-gorging. No one ever gets the alcohol level quite right. Two light on the booze and you'll find you are all too mentally present at the occasion, while too far the other direction is not a good look either.
Given the volatile environment, it's no wonder that the annual festive family gathering is only ever a few pass remarkable comments away from a screaming match. So here is my foolproof tips to fielding passive (or indeed overtly) aggressive family members this Christmas and not homiciding anyone in the process.
When The Urge To Say The Unsayable Strikes
Occupy your mouth. Keep a personal box of Quality Street/Roses out of sight, visit it frequently throughout the day whenever the urge to deliver a vicious verbal annihilation of whoever just offended you hits.
When The Urge To Throttle Someone Becomes Irresistible
I recommend tenderising some meat. Or aggressively prepping vegetables – angry cooking is a great way to channel rage, just ask any mother, pretty much ever. Also it's productive and gives you an opportunity to enjoy a bit of martyrdom, an immensely satisfying occupation... again just ask any mother.
When Another Second In The Company Of Your Loved Ones Feels Like Being Water-boarded While Someone Plays 'Not Touching Can't Get Mad' With your Face
Choose a secret nap location, be sure to stock the nap-refuge with everything you'll need to survive a long period in hiding, basically imagine what you would pack for the apocalypse and use that as the starting point. Go heavy on tinned goods and booze.
When You Begin To Fantasise About Serving Under Cooked Turkey As Revenge For Everything They Ever Did To You During The Years 1996-2004
Remember that if they're are struck down with food poisoning you will most likely have to wait on them hand and foot as they convalesce. And we all know the only thing worse than Man Flu is Fam Flu. Also think about the collateral damage: the baby and the dog have never been mean to anyone, they don't deserve this festive retribution.
When The Voices Start Up
Hmmmm... Those voices can be very convincing, all it would take would be a slip of the hand over the bread sauce... maybe ask Santa for some therapy? Hit the family up for contributions for this, after all they made you this way.
Stay sexy, don't murder...