One Question Quiz
Three generation family and friends having Christmas dinner,

ParentsDecember 25, 2017

Summer reissue: We are family: The characters you’ll encounter at Christmas lunch

Three generation family and friends having Christmas dinner,

Is Christmas Day the best or worst day of the year? Spinoff Parents editor Emily Writes has crowd-sourced a list of the characters you’ll break bread with today.

Tis the night before Christmas, and your house is a mess. The kids have gone feral, and you’re not feeling #blessed. You’re starting to sweat about lunch the next day – and all of the shit that your family will say. Last year was intolerable with everyone in tears. You’re self-caring with wine for the impending nightmare. What happens at Christmas, que sera, will be. Which of these family members are you going to see?

Your “In My Day” Nana

She raised 36 children and never complained once. She never made a fuss. She cherished every moment. You’re breastfeeding? Disgusting – do it in the other room (and in her day everyone formula fed and they never made a fuss). You’re formula feeding? Appalling. Poor child – in her day everyone breastfed and they never made a fuss. The baby needs a dummy. Or it doesn’t. It’s clearly hungry. Surely “In My Day Nana” can give the baby a chocolate. Mothers today never stop complaining. They act like pregnancy is a curse – back in Nana’s day she didn’t even know she was pregnant half the time. She’d go to the butcher and the baby would just fall out as she was ordering mince. Then she’d have to walk five days in the snow over broken glass to get it home. Never made a fuss.

Your racist, sexist Uncle who loves Hosking

He yells as he barely chews his food. He accuses everyone of getting upset while they roll their eyes at him. Nobody needs to know that he thinks this generation doesn’t work as hard as his generation did. He literally once bought a house with change left over from his lunch, but never mind that. He truly believes Paul Henry tells it like it is and he gets teary and shifts uncomfortably on his seat to hide his boner for John Key. He misses him. A lot. The National party will be fine mind you because the Greens/Labour/Māori Party are COMMIE PINKO LIBERAL UNION-LOVING SAFE SPACES FEMINAZI SCUM OFFENDED AT EVERYTHING. Someone will mention Hillary Clinton and he will become so offended he will literally fall into a catatonic state. He’s not racist because you can’t be racist against Muslims.

Your drunk aunty

She hates her husband. You hate her husband. She started on the chardonnay early. Her kids are ungrateful jerks who are all spending Christmas with their partners. She whispers conspiratorially that her sister’s husband has an OK Cupid profile. By 1pm she’s singing Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” before falling asleep on the couch at 1.30pm.

Your brother and sister-in-law who are definitely getting a divorce and think nobody knows about it

You’re annoyed because you missed the divorce sweepstake held at their wedding. You guessed they’d last six months but they struggled through to two years. You found out about their divorce eight months ago but they both turned up at Christmas because they don’t want the grandparents to know it’s over. Everyone knows it’s over. He asks her to pass him the potatoes and she whispers “Go fuck yourself” as she does it.

Your cousin who is a nine at least and her new boyfriend who is a three at best

She met him at the Bahama Hutt. She’s a lawyer but she got dragged there for a high school friend’s hen’s night. His name is Chad and he’s “between jobs” right now. He moved in three days after they met. He has pet rats and white boy dreads. She buys him a Rolex for Christmas and he gives her a Post-It note coupon for “a root whenever ya want one” and discounted flowers from the petrol station. He brings a box of Cody’s and watches MMA on his phone during dinner.

“Over It” Grandfather

He sits quietly in his chair in the corner trying to avoid hearing his great-grandchildren talk about where they can score weed. He sighs as his Christmas hymns are turned off and “Anaconda” starts pumping out of the stereo. He would like a nap. Christmas is always at his house because everyone thinks he wants company. But he just wants to watch the Royal Variety Show on his own. He would like to not watch his grandchildren thrusting their pelvises at each other while screeching “I wanna see all the big fat ass bitches in the muthafuckin’ club”. He has a baby put on his lap and it screams while he is forced to pose for multiple pictures. He is 92 and is surprised he has lived so long. He wishes he’d taken up smoking.

Your mother-in-law who hates you

“That’s an interesting top.” “Oh did you mean to cook it like that?” “Remember Daniel’s ex-girlfriend Claire? She knew how to cook a roast!” “Oh I’m sorry – I thought you were size XXXL you can always return it. Are you sure you’re a size 12?” “You’re quite big for 37 weeks. Are you sure you’re not eating too much?” “It’s a shame you can’t breast-feed hopefully it won’t damage baby too much. Daniel loved to be breastfed.”

She invites Daniel’s ex-girlfriend to dinner. She insists they sit next to each other and wipes sauce from his mouth with a hanky. He’s 46.

Your nephew who just discovered the darkest corners of the internet

Wake up sheeple! 9/11 was an inside job. Steel beams don’t melt! He swears the US Government has a copy of Sinbad’s Shazam locked in a vault in Pennsylvania. He has terrible teeth because he doesn’t believe in fluoride. He claims his acne is a vaccine injury.

Your 84 year-old Great Uncle’s new 23-year-old boyfriend

Everybody loves him and he makes a mean mimosa.

The Christmas orphan who is maybe on MDMA

They keep grinding their teeth and going to the bathroom every three minutes and now you know why they had nobody to spend Christmas with. They leave suddenly – with the family car.

Your ultra-competitive sister

She imported a free-range turkey from Paris for Christmas lunch and gave your parents a round-world trip for their wedding anniversary. You announced you were pregnant; she says she’s having twins. You become locked in a SingStar death match to Smash Mouth’s “All Star”. Her husband is a “social media guru” who is still trying to make Google Plus a thing.

Your sugar hating paleo lactose intolerant gluten-free allergic to nuts and legumes vegan brother

He can’t eat that. Or that. Or that. He brings raw asparagus dip that he forces everyone to eat. You find him in the pantry at midnight crying and eating peanut butter from the jar.

Your cousin who has had six children and needs to tell you in graphic detail about every birth

“And then my vagina actually came out of my vulva can you pass the salt.”

You – being a legend

When your drunk uncle says racist jokes – you don’t laugh, you certainly don’t join in. You call him out. When everyone starts “gently” ribbing your queer cousin and you can see they are on the verge of tears you tell everyone to fuck up and you tell your cousin that they’re loved and valued. When your sister is getting shit about her parenting because she’s too tired to enforce all of the BS rigid rules everyone has set for her kids – you remind her she’s an awesome mum. You cuddle your baby cousins and remind the olds that Christmas Day can be a tough day for kids. You take them outside so they can let off some excess energy. When one falls over and someone says “boys don’t cry” you tell your nephew about how you cry, how it’s OK to cry. When your uncle fat-shames his daughter you pull him aside and tell him it’s an honour to have children and if you break your kids’ spirit there’s a special place in Hell for you. You check in with your aunty to make sure she’s not too wasted and you sober drive her home and make sure she has a glass of water by her bed. You remember it’s a long day for everyone and a bit of patience goes a long way. But you won’t tolerate anyone bullying the vulnerable folks in your whānau.

Your children

The night before Christmas they’re too excited to wait until morning to give you your present – they pull out a picture they drew. It’s of their family. Those they love the most. There is a sun in the picture. Big smiles. Stick figures holding hands. “I can’t wait till tomorrow” your little one says. “We all get to be together”. You get a sleepy kiss on your nose.

In the morning they leap out of bed. They can’t wait to see their great-Nana who always sneaks them lollies, their great-grandfather who lifts them gently onto his lap for cuddles, their granny and grand-dad who bend over backwards to make their day joyous, their uncles and aunties who shower them in love and gifts, their cousins who help them build Duplo towers as high as the sky, and all of the new friends they get to meet. They get to watch their parents be kind and watch out for those who need extra support.

As they’re packed in the car after a very long day you’ll hear them sigh and say Christmas Day is the best day of the year. When you get home you’ll sigh and pour yourself a big glass of wine.

You made it.

Ngā mihi o te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou.

Emily Writes is editor of The Spinoff Parents. Follow her on Facebook here.

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