Christmas is like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it.
Ladies, I know why some of you hate it; time away from 'the one'
with your well-meaning but in denial family who refer to your
current girlfriend as 'that special friend'. Christmas at home,
away from your cats and Bad Girls box sets can feel like a daunting
task but fear not! DIVA is here to get you through this; we feel
Christmas Eve. OK so this day didn't start
well. You had to change train twice to get home because your
'better' half insisted on taking the car back home to transport her
pot plants home so they won't die whilst you're both away. Your
suggestion of putting the plants outside to soak up the rain did
not go down well and her text messages have been less than friendly
since; apparently "plants have feelings too". The drunken
businessmen in the carriage didn't help your mood either, giving
your breasts nicknames and asking whether your boyfriend treats you
But it's OK, Mum greets you at the door with a glass of wine and
helps you up to your old bedroom; although she has taken down the
half-naked posters of Angelina Jolie, she hasn't found the secret
stash of Jennifer Beals pictures in the wardrobe so it'll be a good
night. You are excited about catching up with your brother and
sister, but her sis is off to her boyfriend's house and your bro is
off to his girlfriend's house and you are stuck playing Scrabble
with the parents. Inevitably, after two bottles of wine and several
gins, you three start to argue; despite your degree in English,
your Dad refuses to believe that "jumentous" is a word and won't
look it up in the dictionary. You go up to bed, livid that you
would have won on that triple word score, and struggle to get to
sleep on your old and decidedly uncomfortable mattress.
Christmas Day. Mum has always been an early
riser and is hoovering at 6.30am. You question her erratic
behaviour and she says she's worried that nothing will be ready for
when the family arrive; they're not coming round until noon. You
stumble downstairs to grab some water, head still throbbing from
the gin-soaked Scrabble argument of the night before and you spy
your brother coming through the front door; at least he hasn't
slept much either. Dad announces "we're not opening presents until
after dinner when the whole family is here" meaning you'll have to
sit with your loud and irritating cousins whilst they badly paint
your nails and throw way too much blusher on your alabaster face.
Family start to arrive at 11.30am and Mum panics. "They're
early, I said noon. SHE never listens," she says through gritted
teeth, holding a knife and referring to your aunt Carol. They
haven't got on since the 'Tenerife incident' in 1996 and are now
only civil for your Nan's sake. Soon you're dishing out drinks and
sipping bucks fizz as a steady stream of guests arrive; Mum is
stressed and in danger of getting too drunk to carve the turkey so
you step in.
Dinner is served at 2.03pm, Carol tapping her watch and rolling
her eyes as Mum emerges from the kitchen, red-faced and sweating.
This is the time when the questions tend to begin so brace yourself
now; your sister is always supportive and sits next to you, ready
to deflect any curveballs thrown at you but Nan catches you both
off guard; "so, how's your love life then?" All eyes on you now,
you have no choice but to speak up "it's good actually Nan, thank
you. I've moved in with someone and we're going great." Uncle Len
pipes up "ah, never out the sack I'll bet. I bet you keep him on
his toes," and before you can go into a lofty speech about Kath and
her clitoris, your sister deflects and starts talking about her
By 5pm, everyone is merrily drunk and the presents have been
opened. As predicted, your spoilt brat cousins get ridiculous
amounts of make-up and insist on you being their model. You
gloomily look over your gifts: a Hollyoaks Hunks 2013 calendar, a
pair of festive socks, two of the same CD, Monopoly and a gift
voucher for Boots. Your brother hands you a large gin and smirks.
Not understanding, your cousins take a picture and show you their
handy work. You look uncannily like a bad drag queen and
immediately go upstairs to wash it all off. Somehow the eyeliner is
stuck on and you return downstairs, looking like a panda and on the
hunt for *more* gin.
The next four hours are chaotic. Dad argues with your sister as
he won't let her go and see her boyfriend. Nan is a sherry induced
sleep and your cousins give her face a princess transfer tattoo.
Mum and Carol have gone back to sniping at each other and your
Uncle Len keeps singing "All I want for Christmas is my two front
teeth", but finally, as the clock strikes nine, you make your
excuses and head upstairs. Three texts from the missus cheer you up
no end and a long phone conversation with her makes the day.
Finally, just as you fall asleep, Mum shouts "Carol, it was sixteen
years ago and we both know you were a bitch!"
Ah Christmas day, the only day where time goes backwards. It was
long, it was hard but you made it through and tomorrow you'll be
hitting the sales anyway. Just as your dream about Lexi from Lip
Service is taking shape, you're shaken awake by Carol.
"Sorry, I think your mum forgot to mention it but…" You end up
sharing a bed with your cousins… and they both wet the bed.
Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sleevsie22
I do, and I have never regretted it.