Tis the season
It’s meant to be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful – splurging on express delivery to get all your presents on time and waiting for the Hermes driver like a wife willing her husband to return from war; cleaning your flatshare fridge of all its remnants so you don’t arrive back in January to a parmesan-kickstarted ecosystem; the hellish train/boat/plane/car journey back to the sticks. Not least, all of those awkward family convos you’ll be having once the initial Dickensian jollity has faded five minutes after you cross the front doorstep, and all that remains is the lasting lethargy of mince pies, lukewarm eggnogs, and uncomfortable election chat.
Perhaps they’re nagging at you for going vegan, or maybe your tween brother won’t stop quoting TikTok memes, or responding to every sentence with “OK Boomer”. To help you out, here’s how to conquer the holiday season with your folks.
WHY HAVEN’T YOU GOT YOUR SHIT TOGETHER?
It’s Brexit Britain, but it’s still hard for your family – whose lives have been dictated either by the soft cocoon of Boomerism, or the distinctly post-Cold War trauma of poverty, civil unrest, and military coups – to understand why, at the age of 26, you’re still living in a crusty-looking three-bed apartment with four housemates and no living room.
They’ll say things like, “when I was your age, I was married and moving into a semi-detached with your dad”, or, my personal favourite, “we moved to England to give you a better future”, which is inevitably followed by a string of questions, including (but not limited to): “Do you have a boyfriend? How’s work going? Are you really earning that little? But, what about your degree, surely that counts for something?” In reality, we’re all too burnt out and polluted by the London smog to care.
YOUR RESPONSE: “It’s called austerity, mum, look it up.”
I'M A:— Joyce (@Joycemlcy) December 13, 2019
🔘 FUCKING MESS
DID YOU HAVE TO GO VEGAN?
It’s nearly 2020 and the world’s burning, yet mums across the country are still beefing about you going vegan. You’d think the impending ecopolypse would be enough reason to justify your change in dietary morals, but apparently not. Just remind them that M&S has just released its new vegan Christmas range, and you can buy beef-less wellingtons from the frozen aisle. Worst case, a tray of Linda McCartney’s (sausages) never hurt anyone.
YOUR RESPONSE: “If Greta Thunberg can do it, so can I.”
WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR EX?
So you got with a nice chap, been on a few holidays together, introduced him to your rents last summer, only to find that he’s actually a covert fuckboy with poor communication skills and a fragile male ego. You’re tired, and lonely, and poor (blame the £50 you spent on Amazon buying that weighted blanket) – not to mention, exhausted from all that emotional baggage you’ve been carrying around. In fact, when your parents inevitably spring the question, ‘what happened?’, you sigh, and simply utter some iteration of, ‘it simply wasn’t working out’.
YOUR RESPONSE: “I cannot hold the appropriate emotional space for this conversation right now.”
LET’S TALK ABOUT THE ELECTION
With the majority of young people backing Labour and most old folks in the Conservative camp, you’re likely set for a heated political debate with your parents this Christmas. Even if, like me, you have a ban on discussing the election, Tories love to gloat – particularly when it comes to Jeremy Corbyn losing something – so there’s no doubt in my mind that your dad will get a dig in at the dinner table. Maybe his weak banter emerges after you lose at Scrabble. “Ha ha,” he says, “just like Corbyn.” Maybe you ask how many seats you need for the extended family on Christmas day. “More than Corbyn got!” He howls. He’ll push and push until you scream at him to shut the fuck up, then suddenly your mum is claiming you’re the one ruining the day. I guess at least you can thank your blessings you’re not in the Johnson house for the holidays.
YOUR RESPONSE: “Join! The! Labour! Party! (And get a vote in the next leadership contest).”
WTF CAN YOU EVEN FIT IN THAT BAG?
Miniscule bags were, like, so hot in 2019, so you can’t wait to show off your tiny Telfar this Christmas. You march through your parents’ front door in your half-slim, half-flared jeans and Renaissance corset, tucking your earpods into your Jacquemus bag, and declare: “Mum I’m home, and I’m glamorous.” Though she’s obviously pleased to see you, she says, she doesn’t understand why you’re carrying such a small bag. You explain that not only is this bag fashion, but you spent all your money on it, so there’s no Christmas presents for anyone this year – hence why you’re travelling so lightly. You add: if it’s good enough for Lizzo, it’s good enough for me.
YOUR RESPONSE: “My will to live.”
THE EXTINCTION REBELLION DEBATE
Unless you live with climate deniers, you’ll hopefully agree with your family about the powerful impact of this year’s climate campaign. You’ll gleefully discuss the school strike movement started by Greta Thunberg, mutually chastise Boris Johnson for refusing to appear on Channel 4’s climate debate, and reflect sadly on the summer’s tragic Amazon fires. One thing you probably won’t agree on, though, is Extinction Rebellion. The divisive activist group launched multiple protests this year, blocking roads in central London, staging worldwide die-ins, and generally causing climate-focussed havoc. Despite not being impacted at all by the action, your – let’s face it, Tory – parents will criticise the group as “uncooperative crusties”, and assert that there’s other ways to get your point across. “Except there isn’t”, you argue, “and do you want grandchildren or what?” Then you refer them to some further reading on the subject.
YOUR RESPONSE: There’s no time for a response, the planet is BURNING.
YOU CAN’T RESPOND OK BOOMER TO EVERYTHING I SAY