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If you’re not at home for Christmas, instead of lamenting what could have been, why not embrace the traditions of a typical English Christmas...

The characters

If you and your flatmates are arranging a house Christmas dinner, why not assign roles – we’re not talking Dungeons and Dragons, unless that’s what floats your boat – but Mum, Dad, the teenagers, the crazy Aunt or Uncle and the dippy Gran. Here’s some costume inspiration...

Mum: Sparkly tights, a sparkly dress, a sparkly shawl and, the piece de resistance, Christmas earrings.
Dad: A flannel checked shirt that you think makes you look like a hot lumberjack but actually make you look like a farmer.
Boy teen: Your usual outfit of a grungy T-shirt and low-slung jeans. You don’t do dressing up for Christmas. Okay?
Girl teen: A T-shirt adorned with Harry Styles, or a pink onesie.
Crazy Uncle or Aunt: A really bad Christmas jumper, tucked into your waist-high jeans, or worn over tights thinking you can ‘get away’ with wearing it as a dress. You can’t.
Dippy Gran: A grey or blue-rinse wig, a cardigan about three sizes too big, a floral shin-length dress and wrinkled stockings.

Christmas morning

It’s Mum’s job to cook Christmas dinner so get in that kitchen! Remember to slowly get tiddly on G&Ts so that the vegetables end up singed and the turkey is as dry as old boots (if you actually want a tasty dinner, see box out to the right).
It’s Dad’s responsibility to put the presents in the stockings on Christmas Eve because Father Christmas is a lazy bugger and won’t have gotten round to it. The good news is you get to help the teens figure out how their presents work – usually breaking them in the process.
Teen boy and girl, this is your moment. Tear into every present and toss it aside like the ungrateful brats that you are. Argue with each other and generally drive everyone else crazy.
Crazy Aunt/Uncle and dippy Gran, you watch the opening of presents pretending you give a shit. Gran has a tactical snooze while crazy Aunt/Uncle starts hitting the booze, and hard.

Christmas afternoon

Mum’s done her bit, although continues to faff, running between the table and the kitchen as she realises she left the potatoes in the oven and put her mobile phone in the fridge.
Dad, it’s your time to shine as you are given the ‘me man, me cut meat’ task of carving the turkey. When you cut yourself, you pass your blood off as cranberry sauce.
Teen boy, you sit moodily as your crazy Aunt/Uncle attempts to make you pull a cracker, laughs hysterically at the bad jokes inside, makes you wear your party hat and asks about your ‘love life’.
Teen girl giggles at her phone as she has a text sesh with that boy she fancies – this week, at least.
Dippy Gran has to mash her food up so she doesn’t get it stuck in her dentures and sings ‘diddly-dee’ songs to herself from time to time.
After dinner, everyone piles into the living room to fall asleep during the Queen’s speech and watch a never-ending episode of Eastenders where everybody dies.

Christmas evening 

It’s game time! Mum is well and truly tiddled, and so she’s the first one up for Charades. Somehow she manages to make every action look rude – "it’s Cocktail, I was shaking the cocktail thingy!" – so the teens cringe in embarrassment groaning “Muuuum” while the crazy Uncle/Aunt makes inappropriate comments – “Ooh you can see you’ve done that move before Margerie. Bet you can’t wait to get to the bedroom you naughty pair.”
Gran pretends she doesn’t know what everyone’s on about but secretly sits and day dreams about one hot night with David Hasslehoff.

Merry Christmas!


Have yourself a merry English Christmas
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