Did you know that Christmas is one of the leading causes of divorce among new parents?
I mean it might be. I made that up, but you believed me for a second didn’t you? It makes sense.
One of the best things about being a parent at Christmas is watching your kids them enjoying the same traditions that you did; decorating the tree, waking up to a stocking, watching Christmas films, whining for chocolate at 6.30am every day.
But, when there are two parents with two different upbringings and different ideas of how Christmas should go down, it’s unsurprising that it can sometimes be difficult to agree on every aspect.
Here are just some of the festive issues that parents need to sort out.
Ideally before they have children.
I suggest on a first date.
Might be a little awkward at the time but it’ll save you lots of heartache and hassle in the long term.
Decorations never go up before 1st December in this house. I thought this was universally accepted, but Instagram tells a different story.
Of course there is the debate about whether you’ll have a real or a fake tree; we have always had a fake tree because at first we were too poor and had a teeny tiny car, and then we had two children and a dog. This year I cracked under my husband’s pressure to get a real one, because I just needed something else to try and keep vaguely alive, and it’s shedding bloody needles all over the floor.
Woohoo! More hoovering for me.
We still have the fake one. So now we have two trees, and they both look like Christmas threw up on them.
I must say would prefer a more minimalist look, but I have no chance when my husband and kids are team tacky.
On the upside, at least come January the room looks bigger.
2) Christmas elf?
I never realised what a divisive subject this one was.
People either really love the concept and throw their all into creating hilarious and elaborate scenarios to photograph and upload to social media, or they can’t stand that little elf and want to see him decapitated and stored in the freezer.
We tried but swiftly realised we are not those parents. The elf hangs around, but he doesn’t do a lot.
3) What about the nativity?
I like Christmas, but to me it has bugger all to do with Jesus and God and everything to do with Father Christmas and presents and family. I’m pretty anti-religion in general for reasons to numerous to go into, and the nearer we got to ‘nativity’ time the more awkward I found the whole thing.
I’m going with ‘it’s a story with a lot of plot holes and some fun songs’.
4) Christmas day – home or away?
Do you wake up in your own bed, but with the possibility of spending the day driving, or doing a lot of cooking, or do you schlep off to see family for the holiday period?
With two, maybe more, sets of grandparents possibly living at different ends of the country, how on earth how do you choose who to spend it with?
And if you have to go away… WHO HAS TO DRIVE? Definitely not me, I’m sure I drove last year.
5) Thrifty or blow out?
I pride myself on putting away gifts throughout the year so our December spend is actually not too bad at all.
…And then my husband goes out and spends £20 on singing Christmas trees and left to his own devices would merrily spend thousands on a Christmas village.
6) What do you eat for Christmas dinner?
I don’t really like turkey, something that absolutely appals my husband who is a staunch believer in a traditional Christmas day dinner with all the trimmings (including Yorkshire puddings, which have no reason being there FYI). I guess when he cooks it he can have what he likes, which is the same thing I say to my kids most days.
Is there any fucking point in Brussels sprouts given no one actually likes them and they just go mouldy in the fridge?
At least we can both agree that cheese is life and without it, Christmas may as well be cancelled.
7) Father Christmas
This one you really have to get right.
Does he bring all the presents? Or maybe just a stocking? Of course you’ll be adamant that it’s however you were brought up, which only really works if you had the exact same upbringing, which of course you probably didn’t.
Is the Father Christmas that came to the school fair the real one or is he just a helper and how does that work, anyway?
Better have your story straight.
8) How do you open presents?
All at once, first thing in the morning in a flurry of excitement?
Or staggered throughout the day?
Apparently there is a big Class Divide surrounding this one, which I was wholly unaware of until this viral tweet.
The issue of class, of where we all fit, and the boundaries that separate one class from another, are so complex and multi-faceted. But, basically, it all boils down to this. The later you open your presents on Christmas Day, the more middle class you are. #Sociology
— Richard Osman (@richardosman) December 4, 2018
I wouldn’t care to comment on the validity… but I’m definitely a ‘space throughout the day’ person.
Top tip: If somehow you agree on all the above points, but you still fancy a festive fight, then why not start a game of Monopoly?