The Winter solstice might mark the shortest day of the year, just days before Christmas, but if you ask us, Christmas day must surely be the longest of the year. At least, it sure feels like it! From sitting and watching the clock until you can scroll Instagram without feeling rude, to watching a backlog of festive crap on the telly. Here are the 11 inevitable stages that we all face on Christmas day.
1. Waking up far too early before regretting it an hour later
Because the excitement of Santa arriving is just too much. Not only are we looking forward to getting the day started, but we can’t wait to see everyone’s faces when they open the gifts we’ve bought them. Most importantly, though, bring on the turkey! Except… that’s so far away still.
2. Exchanging gifts in the morning before realising there’s absolutely sod all left to do for the day
The excitement around opening and giving presents is so real, we’re absolutely deflated once it’s over. And let’s face it, giving people their gifts is one of the few exciting parts of Christmas day – so once that’s done, there’s not much else to wait for. (Except, dare we mention it again? The food! All the food!)
3. Making yourself look busy and ‘cleaning up’ the mess from the Christmas presents
Need an out from helping to make Christmas dinner? Not keen on helping chop veg or stir sauce? The bin-liner trick always does the job. Offer to take one for the team, and ‘clean up’ the chaos around the tree. Simply pick up a bin bag and toss a couple stray pieces of wrapping paper inside before taking a load off near the gifts. To keep the act up, just hoist the bag in the air every now and then and peer around you with narrowed eyes whenever someone re-enters the room.
4. Staring at the clock until dinner is finally served
Arguably the worst part of Christmas day? The painfully long wait until the dinner of the year. I’m drooling just at the thought of a big old hunk of turkey, ham, or roast what-have-you, served with succulent pigs in blankets and crispy roasties, a giant Yorkshire pud (that’s right, controversial I know!), and all the trimmings. That’s all then obviously getting completely smothered in gravy. I. Can’t. Wait.
5. Piling your plate high with ALL the food
With anticipation comes eyes bigger than our bellies. Whether it’s piling up your first plate so high you can barely see the person sat opposite, or getting up for more so often it’s basically a game of musical chairs – we’re all guilty of overindulging on Christmas day. But that’s what the day is for! And then the desserts come out and we find that mythical second stomach that allows us to stuff ourselves silly with even more food.
6. … And then plonking down on the sofa and feeling like crap for a few hours
It feels like years pass in the time it takes for you to recover from Christmas dinner, and feel some sense of normalcy return to your stomach as you sit parked on the sofa. If you’re anything like my family, you’ll probably end up keeping your ass firmly on the sofa for the rest of the day. Because what else is there to do but drink leftover fizz in front of the telly? Oh, yeah…
7. Being forced into playing board games
There’s nothing worse than that limbo point of the day when someone looks around at a room full of dozing people and suggests playing a board game for something to do. Especially after the lunchtime fizz has begun to wear off. And it’s not going to be a good one either – it’ll be an old Trivial Pursuit with outdated questions from the 80’s, or Monopoly all over again. And arguments are bound to erupt over what happens at “Free Parking”. (Hint: it’s nothing. Nothing happens at Free Parking. That’s the whole point.) By now, there’s only one thing left to do: crack open another bottle and embrace the remainder of the day.
8. Heading back to the sofa to get disappointed by what’s on the TV
Every year we get excited by the prospect of the Christmas specials on the telly, and every year we either miss them or are disappointed by them – that’s if we can even find them. Also, what are you on about, there’s no Doctor Who Christmas special this year? No Christmassy Ncuti? For shame… (Although, we are pretty excited for the animated adaptation of Charley Mackesy’s novel, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse!)
9. Inevitably escaping to bed earlier because (what feels like) 80,000 hours with your family is more than enough…
7pm bedtime? Go on then. There’s nothing better than that feeling of contentment after a wholesome Christmas day, tucking up with your (likely) brand new PJs on and popping something on Netflix. Bliss. We’re not going to sleep after all, just going to bed; it’s two separate things.
10. … Before sitting up all night spending all your money on the Christmas sales
Once you get bored with that, there are the inevitable Christmas sales that just cannot be escaped. And I can guarantee I will not learn from last year, and I will fall victim to them yet again this year. It’s my own little Christmas tradition.
11. Wishing it was Christmas Eve all over again
While it might feel like a slog, there’s no denying that we’ll always love Christmas day. The feeling of getting to spend quality time with our loved ones is unbeatable. And we’re sure not against the idea a turkey or roast dinner every night. It really is the best. Why can’t we just have it every day?