The distant family members you'll meet around the Christmas
It’s a time for sharing, giving, being thankful… and holding your tongue around your family.
Yes, they’re the best people in the world but there is a reason you moved out and a reason you only visit for short periods of time. For every sister that doubles as a best friend and uncle who may as well be a second dad, there are The Others. You know the ones; the family members you’ll swap your mother’s carefully laid place cards to get away from. Good or bad, here are the seven family members you’re sure to meet this Christmas.
You rue the day you accepted your cousin’s friend request on Facebook, as ever since she’s had every last little detail of your life down to a tee. She asks how your best friend is, by name, even though they’ve never met and makes some seriously inappropriate comments about those pictures of your boyfriend in Ibiza.
This one, usually an Auntie, is only mad for an excuse to wear a hat and dance a jive at your wedding. There’s no winning here; if you’re single you’ll be subjected to a well-meaning “pep talk” after her third glass of Chardonnay and an explanation of why you shouldn’t be so picky. If you have a significant other, her laser eyes will cut to your left hand within .5 seconds of you walking in the door and if she doesn’t see a diamond again this year you’re both in for an interrogation.
The Picture of Innocence
For most of us there is a long period where the real magic of Christmas is missing, when there is no one young and innocent enough to write letters, be on their best behavior and struggle to sleep with the excitement of an impending visit from the man in red. When the next generation comes along in the form of nieces, nephews or cousins, there’s practically a stampede to hear all of their stories and play with the new toys, while half lost in the memories of your own best Christmas past.
The Walking Dead
Tear your attentions from the joyous youths for a moment to notice their parents. If it’s a baby in your arms, remember that the adults who brought him/her probably haven’t slept in months. If the child is old enough to walk and talk, know that his/her parents have seen another side to Christmas – one where a list changes every day for a month and women and men who run their own businesses can lose their minds over a missing Elsa doll. Be kind. Take the kids for a while. Make them a drink. Give up the good spot on the couch. Someday, you’ll wish someone would return the favour.
The uncle who hasn’t got the foggiest where you live now, what you do with your life or even what age you are, but waits until this time every year without fail to bring up his front row seat to some of your most embarrassing childhood moments. Also likely to tell you how much you’ve grown, even though you’ve been 5’2” since 1999 and it’s never changing.
The Travelling Soldier
If a sibling returns from Australia, Canada or even the Big Smoke over the Christmas, you’ll just have to grin and bear the fact that your mother will only have eyes for one of her brood this festive season. While your brother talks about his new surfing skills or your sister describes winter in Vancouver, you might as well not be there. It’s less Black Sheep and more “what’s seldom is wonderful”. Try not to take it personally and remember they haven’t had a mammy dinner all year.
The Saint Among Women
The only thing more revered than an Irish mammy, possibly, is the Irish granny. This wonderful woman has a house that permanently smells of freshly baked bread, arms that will never tire of hugging you and a fire you could park yourself in front of forever. There’s a guilty pleasure to be gained from accepting an alcoholic tipple from her too, even though you’ve been legally allowed to drink that glass of Bailey’s for a decade now, you’ll always be a baby in Granny’s house.