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Going home for Christmas?

Sarah Leeves feels your pain. Here's what may be in store

Sarah Leeves

Thu, 20 Dec 2012 12:49:26 GMT | Updated 4 years today

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 your pain.


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 right.


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. Great.


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 boyfriend.


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.


Merry Christmas.


Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sleevsie22

I do, and I have never regretted it.

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