It is important this Christmas to remember those less privileged than yourselves. Those forced to live in misery in war zones around the world. Spare a thought for those forced at Christmas to survive through confined conflicts, seen only at this time. I’m referring, of course, to extended family meals, and the poor souls who endure them, every year.
They start, innocently enough, with a very long drive. In order to authenticate the feeling, the car must be small, but packed with presents, bags, and some form of alcohol. Throughout the extended journey to the final location, the driver will complain about their relatives, they will claim that they talk too much, are annoying, and they wish they didn’t have to go all the way there. After we had fulfilled this requirement, we arrived at our destination; middle class Coventry. Of course, as it is Christmas, we attempted to find a parking space, but could not. After over an hour of driving around, our relations finally revealed that we could park on their driveway; this results in further complaints from our driver, who swears and curses, before grudgingly driving our compact vehicle to the driveway. We are early, according to our host, despite various emails and texts telling us we are on time. We are offered drinks and seats to appease us, and all anger from our driver disappears, as they sink into (what we later discovered was) party-persona. We sit in the front room. The conversation begins poorly, politics being at the top. When asked about UKIP, a tense silence ensues, as we desperately try to figure out if our middle class, white, world weary hosts are UKIP supporters or detractors. After a floaty answer, we are relieved to discover this is a stalling tactic, not actually valid conversation, simply the illusion of such.
We quickly forget about it.
Before the arrival of other guests, we are appeased by our hosts, who seem to have no agenda. This is until we hear the terrifying news. There will be party games. Our hosts and driver head to the kitchen, while we desperately try and email our Lemon Press contacts for advice and support. Suddenly, guests arrive. Guests, at these Christmas get togethers, claim to be related to you. This relation is however notably dubious. It is impolite to ask who they are, particularly when you have met them before, therefore we remained silent. This led to a common issue, when a woman arrives, and a desperate task began to identify her. Alas, we were unable to, and we were left to decide whether finding her hot was acceptable, morally dubious, or downright incest. Finally, after being there for several hours, dinner arrives. However, like anything in this environment, it’s too good to be true. You see, the host is attempting to one-up her close relations, and therefore the food is never normal. For starters was a dish that consisted of over a dozen individual foods. Many are impossible to pronounce, almost all are foreign, and not normal foreign, obscure foreign. They don’t go together, seafood mixed with chicken mixed with fruit mixed with vegetables, and some of it isn’t even edible. The drinks are also strange, cocktails or strange, unsatisfying wine. And even then, it is difficult to reach the table, with over twenty people packed around a table designed for four.
The people next to us are strange and unfamiliar. After the main meal, that was bland compared to the starter, we reconvene for party games. We discovered that these games consisted of activities even CIA interrogators would think is a step too far. Not wanting to place our health at risk, we retired to our cramped corner room, which we assumed used to be a chimney. At dawn, the air-raid sirens wail. Our driver hurriedly wakes us, and we rush to our vehicle outside. Without warning, rockets fired from Gaza land on the next door shed. Our driver, after fleeing the area, informs us that the press were being specifically targeted. We arrive at a petrol station, and witness dozens of cars on the road. While we assumed they were simply driving, our driver informed us they are IS sympathisers, and opened fire with a concealed weapon. In summary, Christmas is shit, and we should all think about what truly awful people we are for liking it.
The fucking nerve.