1) Christmas dinner. Normally a joyous occasion filled with laughter and a trip down memory lane. This came to a crashing end five minutes in when my nine year old cousin stabbed my ten year old cousin in the hand with a fork. That would have been fine if anyone was sober enough to prevent the riot that followed. We call one of my cousins ‘The strangler’ now.
2) The family visits. Since I have returned home from the holidays every single member of my extended family has decided to visit. The house has become a museum. I may or may not have developed Arthritis from all of the cups of tea I’ve made.
3) Mass. I haven’t actually attended any mass but everyone and their granny have asked me if I went to mass, what mass I went to, who the priest was etc. I thought Molly was en vogue right now but I guess it’s mass. Now that I know I’ll grab my neon hoodie, grillz and head down first thing tomorrow to connect with the young folk.
4) People asking me how my degree is going and what it’s like to study science. I get exam flashbacks of myself waking up in a cold sweat and trying to remember random facts about Proteobacteria and then sob violently for half an hour yelling: ‘WHY GOD? WHY ME?’ So I try and reply with something like ‘yeah, you know, really interesting, it’s never one made me suicidal and that’s really something.’
5) The amount of times I’ve asked. ‘Is he actually related to me?’ While being ashamed of one family member or another. Followed by the: ‘sure he could be adopted for all we know. He doesn’t even look like me.’
6) The amount of times someone has used the ‘sure it’s Christmas’ excuse to get very drunk and aside from the beverages, observing your cousins milking Christmas for everything it’s worth and sticking to their two main food groups: anything coated in chocolate and anything dipped in cheese.
7) The number of times someone has forgotten that one of my great aunts or uncles is alive and said something along the lines of ‘God rest their soul’ only to be shot evils from everyone in the room.
8) One of my family members calling out every and any other name before they get to mine. ‘Colin, Chris, Jack, John, feck Christina, whatever your name is. C’mere.’
9) Over hearing one of your cousins talk about how you’ve gained weight and how the word on the street is ‘the lights are on but there’s nobody home’.
10) And finally waking up on Christmas morning to find your dog standing suspiciously next to the over turned tree and torn up gifts. Must have been the cat.