The 12 Rules of Christmas

I know the title says 12 but I was just trying to reference the 12 days and there are really only six rules. So let that be a lesson to you about not believing anything you read.

1. Reading:

The Radio Times becomes gripping at Christmas. Usual schedules are shaken up and changed to be full of festive nostalgia and, in fact, Christmas may be the only time you buy the Radio Times exemplifying the fabulous content. I don't remember much about English literature classes but I am pretty sure they asserted, with the Radio Times as evidence, that to be gripping a story does not need a plot. Circle your favourite programs with circles as neat as mine and sit back as your siblings chime in with "We're not watching that."

P.S. read Dickens, only Dickens, also read food labels, P.G. Wodehouse, minds, road signs, small print, Terms & Conditions, Facebook's privacy policy and text messages.

2. Movies:

Movies are made to be watched so watch them all.

[Trust me this works. I use similar logic in nearly all aspects of society, and am yet to die / achieve anything meaningful with my life.]

3. Games:

In this section I am going to tell you a story from Kimber Christmas 2013. Let it be a parable for you all.

It was 3pm in the Kimber house. Much wine had been drunk, much food had been eaten, and one of my brothers had a bruise above his eye from when I said "I bet you can't crack this walnut open on your head." So it became time to play Monopoly. With Christmas emotions heightened, the board game was much closer to reality than fiction and Darwin's natural selection appeared to be in process.

PJ was winning and about forty-five minutes in Joey got a bit cocky. It was at this point PJ took it upon himself to reveal something about the night before. With hushed silence we all looked at PJ, Joey rather more nervously than the rest of us.
"JOEY STOLE MONOPOLY MONEY LAST NIGHT!"
"What the eff, PJ!"
"Well you did, you stole a thousand pounds."
"Err, yes, and I gave YOU fifty to keep quiet!"

Having broken the terms of the hush money which Joey had given him as a silencer on Christmas Eve, everything was up for grabs. PJ was winning, youngest of us all. He was making it rain with Joey's £1's which Joey had to pay. Zach, Dad and Dave were chipping in with an array of insults, each as good as the last.

But the parable doesn't end there and the hero, PJ, wasn't all he seemed to be. For later, when a property was being auctioned, PJ misjudged the severity with which fake-bids are received. It was getting tense, the price was going up a tenner at a time and, seemingly bored with pure-richness, PJ shouted "A MILLION POUNDS!" to which Dad responded, to every one's delight, but PJ's horror, "SOLD!"

"No, no, no, no, no," was the pleading response but to no avail. PJ was bankrupt, not owning the million pounds he claimed to wish to spend on a property that was worth perhaps three hundred and fifty quid.

The parable, I am sure you recognise, teaches as follows: hush money is not sufficient bribery, jokes are not a joke if your family and the potential of winning a game is involved, and feeling rich does not make you smarter.

4. Food:

I asked Jamie Oliver to write this next bit because he has way more spare time and cash than me.

"Whassup I'm going to tell you how to make Xmas dinner for your whole family in 30 minutes and it will only take you 4 hours.

Right first grab a turkey, any one will do, and stuff it with feeling, like you're stuffing a cushion (© Joey) and there's no chance of a stray pin.

Next up, the carrots. Lift the knife to head height and then whack down hard on the chopping board to get them ends off. Repeat for potatoes, parsnips and whatever veggies your kids LOVE – "What's your favourite vegetable kids!?!" – then chuck em all in the air with a handful of butter before putting them down on a tray.

Right stick on the heat either Celsius or gas mark, any will do, and cook for about an hour.

Shove everything into the middle of the table, drizzle gravy over it all with your eyes closed, and then whack it on their plates with a large wooden spoon.

Then Bob's your uncle. Everyone's happy as Larry and the beauty is this can be done by any Tom, Dick or Harry, even if you're an average Joe. Happy days."

Thanks Jamie.

5. Presents:

At one point rarely mentioned in history, Jesus' birthday became about the manic exchange of material gifts, thanks in great part to expert adverts and marketing.

The more expensive the gift the better, I think, is the tacit understanding, with only 'expensive and a genuine surprise' trumping that. While I think presents should be scrapped entirely, here are some tips anyway.

Tags and labels on presents can seem monotonous but a simple "Dad, It's a DVD, love Emily" will do, changing the proper noun and object description where appropriate. Recycled paper is good for wrapping. Newspapers with carefully considered pages chosen to suit your recipient are thoughtful, eco, and cheap. Three qualities all your presents might have. And finally if the kid is under the age of three do not get them anything. At least give them the chance of have one commercial-free Christmas.

6. Drinks:

It is possible to be perma-drunk for the entire month of December but at the least it is mandatory to be drunk for three straight days of it. A mere tenth! Stop complaining! You're not as nice when you're sober. Ok.

Need waking up in the morning – one part espresso, three parts frangelico and two parts steamed milk.
Need something by the fire – port, sherry.
Need something chilled because the fire's hot – Baileys with ice.
You're eating lunch – wine.
You're not eating lunch – beer.
It's the evening – liqueur.
It's the day – prosecco, wine, cider, vodka, or beer.
You have loads of cheese left over on Boxing Day – whiskey.
You're desperate – vermouth.

Happy Christmas:

So there you have it, an expert's guide to Christmas. Tell me how yours goes. I'm off to wrap presents, do 200 sit-ups before eating my weight in chutney, and push the joke line to 'inappropriate' and beyond.

And remember: dressing up nicely is mandatory on Christmas day. Onsies and pyjamas are for Boxing Day only, as you lay among the empty wrapping paper, covered in cheese smears, with red wine stained lips and a headache, eating cold turkey and cheese on crackers, feeling guilty about the amount you ate, drank and argued the day before, rehashing text conversations and inappropriate responses to the TV, with nothing but Bountys and Snickers left in the selection box.

"Happy Days! xoxo" – Jamie.

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