5 Common Christmas Day Phobias
Christmas Day is a nailbiter for everyone, but particularly the Cantabrigian. BEN DALTON shows you’re not alone…
Yes, Christmas is definitely about screaming “Babe The Sheep Pig!” at your Great Grandma’s charade before she’s even oinked. It’s about doing slow-motion smiling in Church to pretend you’re the main character in a film about Christmas. It’s also about dipping your genitals in mincemeat and/or wishing you were pregnant with the babe divine.
Christmas, however, is also about grasping white-knuckled at your Sunday trousers under the table because you know that behind every well-intentioned Moon Pig is a minor huge-disaster waiting to happen. Any small imbalance in the yuletide continuum could end in breathless, undying mild-horror.
Below are the five most common phobias experienced by the average Cantabrigian at Christmas. Whilst this guide can’t offer you many solutions, know that you’re not alone.
An animal other than the turkey will perish
Once at a friend’s birthday, the family spaniel entered the room looking peaky, did a lap of farewell to make sure everyone was looking and then died violently. The death was the sort Taz of Tazmania might have indulged in – multi-coloured swirl-eyes, tongue on floor, FX gargling – and it made for a macabre centre piece. Guests left with an ASDA party bag and a heart entrapped by sorrow’s blackest kiss.
Just imagine the same at Christmas! (because I can’t be arsed to describe it). No doubt Trish the St Bernard has been neglecting her Mini Marrowbones of recent, or the house rabbit is displaying recognizable scenes of DVT. Your gerbil shoots you a stare which says triumphantly: “I will die noisily mid Queen’s Speech.” You’d be forgiven for thinking they’d planned it all along.
You will admit to a crime you did not commit
The Christmas table is a paradoxical site of strict oral prohibition and mandated oral anarchy. It is as if the order to choke down another trowel-full of bacon-hearted Brussels had been put in place especially to keep you from saying something you weren’t meant to. Your Aunt’s seasonal nephritis is not to be mentioned, nor your uncle’s credit card fraud without which your NEXT gilet would never have been possible. Your Granddad is very happy to have moved in with his ‘particular friend’ Bert, but doesn’t like it mentioned.
Such regulation leads to the sort of clogging that leads hosepipes to explode in Adam Sandler movies. Table-dwellers under particular strain have been known to snap and shout things they didn’t quite mean. “I HAVE KILLED A MAN AND I AM VERY HAPPY” is a common misfortune, as is the unusually fitting “I AM PREGNANT WITH A CHILD THAT IS NOT MINE OWN.”
There will be a willy in the afternoon film
There is absolutely nothing as ambiguous as a 12A rating. We have all seen ‘moderate violence’ refer to a scene in which someone falls through an ill-constructed stile, whilst ‘mild sex references’ turned out to be a sadomasochistic orgy, or Nigella Lawson. With no one having time on Christmas Eve to privately verify the afternoon film of choice, there is always the fear that a willy lurks behind every closed door. Scenes involving changing rooms, Santakinis and park benches are high risk, although conniving productions such as The Simpsons Movie and MIB II show that no setting is to be fully trusted. Although not quite phallus, 2002’s Ballchinian set post-pie pulses racing in all the wrong directions.
A willy can have devastating effects on any Christmas Day gathering. It can cause anything from hernias to riots. Stick to something you know won’t surprise. Like Eastenders.
You will give away disappointment
I have a relative who – so treacherous is her face – takes her presents into a separate room to open, later communicating her reactions in various text messages. Sometimes the smile required to counter a nose-hair trimmer or stale TCO wobbles to the extent that it can soon crack into a better version of what Miley was trying to do during Wrecking Ball. Your lips spread back in faux-delight, snag on dry lips, and force a twitch across your upper cheeks that says “YOUR PRESENT IS MY DEATH”.
An even more traumatic strain of this phobia is the fear that you might accidentally look disappointed with a present you actually love. Whilst such a reaction is similar to the one seen in the weeping of a bride on her wedding day, it can appear unfounded when applied to an unwrapped box of K’Nex.
Someone somewhere is doing their dissertation
A truly Cantabrigian neurosis. You’ve hung up your copy of ‘Archive Fever’ for the day and demoted your Word Reference app to the second page of your iPhone supposedly safe in the knowledge that everyone else is doing the same. This doesn’t however stop you stop you posting “Ah! A day off work!” as your Facebook status in quiet, but deadly, warning. As hours go by without likes, the ugly truth begins to materialise. Somewhere out there irregulars are being conjugated in the past historic, and it’s not just Jess.
So fasten your seatbelts and try to enjoy the ride. Like those ‘WOW Air’ flights you won in a charity raffle, this journey was never meant to be stress-free. There will, however, be bar on wheels (household taste depending) of which the full use is highly recommended.