Ahhhh... Christmas time, when the nuclear families go into melt down, fissioning in small family house-sized reactor chambers before erupting outwards as soon as fucking possible thank you very much into the ensuing days, sprinkling clouds of radio-active fall out over large swathes of our great country like some sort of cheery chernobyl.
Still, here we are, successfully out the other side, probably about a stone heavier, with enough socks to last until next year (in fact, the next couple of weeks will be remarkable as the only weeks in the year that I will be wearing matched pairs), and most of us with just enough of that latent family tension and frustration to unleash on lovers and friends through the otherwise dull months of january and february.
I say most of us because Christmas was a beautifully low key affair for my family this year. My dad was off in Spain, sunning himself in the cool rays with a troupe of baby-boom hippies who still believe that their love is going to save Iraq, one of my sisters was out in thailand doing the lotus position, and my mum was sick with bird flu, so all engagements with extended family were duly cancelled.
Cut to me and my one remaining sibling in a bar in south-central Edinburgh at 8pm on Christmas day trying cinnamon infused pear vodka with a man called Sue and a drunk gentleman from New Zealand who works in the Beef industry. We are both vegetarians, don't really drink and have names appropriate to our sex ( OK, so Oliver can be a girls name in france, whatever). We had nothing at all in common, it was starting to feel like any other Christmas...
"Marry an orphan. You'll never have to spend boring holidays with the in-laws. At most, an occasional visit to the cemetery." ~ George Carlin