Mum: It’s so sad, what’s happening with Margaret’s family…
Dad: What happened?
Mum: Well her children from her previous marriage are always torn between spending Christmas day at Margaret’s house, or spending it with their dad and his new wife. This year, they’ve all been fighting about it, and now all this nastiness has come out of the woodwork and it looks like they might not have Christmas lunch at all.
Dad: Can they really not reach an agreement this year?
Mum: I don’t think they will, no. The daughter-in-law is being extremely defensive and firing up at everything Margaret says. Every time they try to have a conversation, it descends into bickering.
Dad: It is a pity. But maybe these issues need to be dealt with before the family can move on? Maybe it’s a good thing?
Mum: Yeah, I guess even normal families have to compromise at Christmas time. I mean, we always have to drive up to Newcastle to see your dad, and he hasn’t come down here in more than five years because he simply refuses to make the drive. Then we have to meet him at some awful club because he won’t cook lunch for us.
Dad: What? Dad made lunch for us on Christmas Day three years ago!
Mum: Yeah but it was woeful. A barbequed chicken and some salads.
Dad: Well is Christmas about the food you eat or the people you eat it with?
Me: Guys, Christmas is about getting drunk and admitting how you really feel about people. It’s about starting fights over repressed grudges and having painfully awkward public arguments in front of all your other family members, who scramble like mad to get out of the firing line as you attempt to embroil everyone else in your petty disputes. I’m glad to see you two are already getting into the swing of things.
Mum: Oh shut up, Annik.
Me: That’s the spirit!