How to survive a family Christmas

Don't let Christmas be the one time of year when all inhibitions go out the window...

Christmas: that fateful day that comes but once a year, with a ridiculous amount of pressure put on it from all angles. Whether it’s your mother calling you in October asking you what time you want to eat Christmas lunch, or Sainsbury’s starting to sell advent calendars in August, Christmas is inescapable. And, although it’s fair to say that some people take Christmas much more seriously than others, it’s an important day to get right.

Family members are bound to have travelled far and wide to get to you, your mother is likely to have spent the last 3 days in the kitchen and your grandmother is undoubtedly going to be keeping a very beady eye on you. So, while no gentleman should ever need to be told how to behave, Christmas seems to be the one time of year when all inhibitions go out the window. Here are 10 things that no gentleman should ever do on Christmas day.

1. Start an argument

How to survive a family Christmas

There will be family members who you don’t want to be around and there will be a lot of pressure put on ‘family time’, but instead of arguing with everything that anyone asks you to do, take it all in your stride. Try your hardest to nod and smile, to just get on with it and get through the day. That’s what a gentleman would do – not start an argument.

2. Get too drunk

How to survive a family Christmas

If there’s one time of year when it’s acceptable to permanently have a drink in your hand, it’s the festive period. There’s a difference, though, between being drunk and having a drink in your hand. A gentleman will always keep it classy, stay at the right level and never get too drunk on Christmas day. This will only lead to inevitable arguments and stress – things that can easily be avoided.

3. Show up hungover

How to survive a family Christmas

Being hungover on Christmas day is as offensive as being drunk. Yes, Christmas eve is the perfect time to celebrate; work’s over for a couple of days and you’ve undoubtedly got big plans with your friends. Exercise self control, gentlemen, because the last thing you want to do is to show up to your parents’/grandparents’/girlfriend’s parents’ house with a stinking headache. Do this and you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Trust us on this one, gents.

4. Say the wrong thing when you open a present

How to survive a family Christmas

Your grandmother may not have clocked onto exactly the type of thing that you’d like to receive, but the thought really is what counts here. Get your game face on and pretend that you love the scarf that someone’s spent all year knitting. All gentlemen should know how to act, and this is the perfect time to hone those skills.

5. Comment on the food

How to survive a family Christmas

Unless, of course, you’re complimenting it. It’s likely that whoever is cooking will have spent hours and hours slaving away on creating – what some people perceive to be – the most important meal of the year. Therefore, avoid the ‘dry turkey’ or ‘overcooked vegetables’ comments. A gentleman should have a plethora of compliments within reach, and now’s the time to use them.

6. Sleep in

How to survive a family Christmas

While we’re not suggesting you get up as early as you did when you were a toddler, it’s still important to show face and to be with your family. Set the alarm, get out of bed and enjoy the day – it’s not that bad.

7. Refuse to participate in the obligatory family dog walk

How to survive a family Christmas

Or any other family activity for that matter. As with putting your game face on when it comes to opening presents, it’s important to just get on with it and do it. Yes, it’s raining and you might not even have a dog, but you still need to get involved. Be the type of gentleman who throws himself into things, gets involved and proves his worth. Don’t be the guy who sits on the sofa on his phone all day, without any interaction with his near and dear.

8. 'Forget' to give presents

How to survive a family Christmas

This is the biggest sin of all, because there’s absolutely no way you can simply forget to give a present. Christmas has been haunting all of us for months, so there really is absolutely no excuse. You need to make sure that you’ve included every single person in the room – and that not one person is left out. You’re a gentleman, and a gentleman gives rather than just takes.

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