Way-hey! I’ve just “done” Christmas! And because I am all grown-up and have to take in relatives and stuff, I get to moan about it too! Hey, fellow grown-ups – isn’t Christmas just crap? Don’t you just hate all the hassle? I know I do – and yet, I also don’t. I’ve had a good Christmas, me. And even the bits that have pissed me off have possessed their own special charm.

Hence in a spirit of positivity – and fueled by way too much booze – I’ve compiled my own list of Christmas lessons learned. So here’s what Christmas 2012 has taught me – could this teach you, too?:

  1. It is okay to give your son a doll’s house, even if his grandparents don’t hold with such gender-bending recklessness. Said grandparents will cope by proving themselves incapable of actually saying the words “doll’s house”, constantly correcting it to “house”. And you’ll then have visions of your son bringing home a boyfriend – or rather, a “friend” – for Christmas dinner in years to come (and Grandad will no doubt wonder whether the very reason why he has this “friend” is because you bought him a “house” years earlier). Anyhow, no matter – doll’s houses are ace.
  2. If one of your Christmas presents is money with which to purchase new clothes for your children – complete with a list of shops offering “suitable” ranges – it’s probably best not to think too hard about what this says about how the giver views you as a parent. It’s also probably best not to spend said money on booze and that nice bag you saw in Marks & Spencer (even if you’ve already worked out what lies you’d then tell about the garments you’d pretend to have bought).
  3. A three-year-old who’s obsessed with making up songs about poo is exactly what you need to ease the tension when an ill-judged criticism of the Brussels sprouts looks set to turn into a full-blown row about parental expectations.
  4. It’s not a good idea to launch into a defence of Jimmy Savile within five minutes of arriving with your hosts for the holiday period. All the same, some relatives will feel the need to do this. Apropos of nothing they will tell you how, back in the day, loads of girls they remember from school (but not them, obvs) would have given their eye teeth to be abused by a DJ. It’s just how it was back then. Moreover, these days it’s just what people chat about the moment they’ve been handed a mince pie.
  5. Re, the last point: it’s a total cliché that your house will turn into Daily Mail Island meets the Royle Family every Christmas, but it’s important to bear in mind that it will.
  6. The fact that drinking alcohol is nice doesn’t mean drinking more alcohol is more nice (cf. coffee throughout the rest of the year). I don’t know why this is true, but it is. All the same, I keep forgetting, just in case at some point the rules change.
  7. As an adult and a parent, you will be disappointed that your presents aren’t as cool as your children’s, and this disappointment will be compounded by disappointment in yourself for failing to rise above this. You are obviously a bad person. All the same, you can at least play with the cool presents once your children are in bed (and, unlike them, you can play with them while drunk).
  8. If you find yourself watching Call The Midwife for the first time ever and sort of liking it – even if you’re too busy assembling Lego to even follow the plot – there’s no point in over-thinking this. In fact, I’ve forgotten it already and will never be looking it up on BBC iPlayer. At all.
  9. However much you fear old age, it will at least mean that you eventually go back to not having to “do” Christmas. Your children will do it for you. At least, they better had do. That doll’s house wasn’t cheap.
  10. It’s not a good idea to write Christmas blog posts which criticise relatives while fairly drunk. Ah well. Done it now. *clicks on publish*