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HOW TO SURVIVE CHRISTMAS DAY WITHOUT PUNCHING ANYONE

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Luke Toulson offers his tips...

Comedian and father-of-two, Luke Toulson takes a look at Christmas Day 

You’ve beaten your way through the baying mob at your local shopping mall, just about resisting the urge to hand your own kids in to the Lost Children place. You’ve sat through a nativity play watching child after talentless child recite their solitary line with all the feeling of a train station announcement. You’ve been round one of those Bavarian markets which are just a way for Germans to charge £8.50 for a hotdog. The weather’s been shit, the queues get longer every year, and if you had faith in God at the beginning of December, there is very little chance you have retained it by the time you get to Christmas Eve. 

But your biggest challenge still awaits. Christmas Day can be a turkey-fuelled nightmare of tantrums, squabbles and huff-puffs. The kind of 24 hours that would make Jack Bauer curl up and cry. 

First up, it’s stockings. When I was a kid, finding an orange in my stocking was a bit of a joke. I hadn’t fully taken on board that for my parents’ generation, growing up in post-war Britain, finding an orange in their Christmas stocking was a genuine treat. Last year, when my nephew was going through his stocking, he found a mouldy orange that he clearly hadn’t even bothered to remove from his stocking the previous Christmas.

Weather-wise, we’re all wishing for snow. Snow transforms a rubbish Christmas into an amazing Christmas of snowball fights, snowmen and sledging. Plus it increases the chance of your in-laws not being able to make it.

My sister eeks out the power she holds over her children for the longest possible amount of time.

The big question is: when to let your kids open their presents? I understand some families let their children open their presents first thing in the morning. Are you f**king crazy? The only power you had over your kids was dangling there in front of you, and you’ve offered it up straight away. Let us hope you are not part of the government’s Brexit negotiation team. The moment your child has opened all their presents, the day is effectively dead to them, and they have already started counting down the days till their birthday. 

When I was growing up, we had to wait till after The Queen’s Speech before we could open our presents. This is a major factor in why I am now a republican. My sister has implemented a good system whereby her kids are allowed to open one present an hour, thus eeking out the power she holds over them for the longest possible amount of time. 

My biggest problem with religion is its failure to modernise, but the same could be said of the Christmas lunch menu with its ingredients straight out of the Dark Ages. Why are we forcing kids to eat Brussels sprouts? Seriously parents, pick your battles.

My family always want to go for a walk after lunch. In my youth, this more than anything else convinced me I was adopted. Fortunately, I have passed on my lazy gene to my children, who require a cattle prod to prise them off the sofa. 

I have no doubt that you’re a lousy parent the rest of the year, but for this one day, you are a gift-giving legend.

If you are the sort of family who would rather watch a film together, under no circumstances let your kids see any of the Taken movies. Liam Neeson gives them a massively unrealistic expectation of what a father is willing to do in the event of his children being kidnapped.

If your kids really don’t stop moaning, feel free to use my favourite line, 'Imagine if you were growing up in Syria...' The more serious you say it, the better. 

Remember that, while I have no doubt that you’re a lousy parent the rest of the year, on this one day, you are a gift-giving legend, so take absolutely no shit from your kids. 

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