The Ghosts of Christmas Past

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Seriously, congratulations to everyone who made Christmas happen this year.

Pull up a chair and pour yourself a stiff one, you’ve earned it.

Christmas is not easy. It may well be the most wonderful time of the year but that’s down to the serious graft and money earned, saved and spent by mum, dad, granny and grandpa. It’s exhausting.

And now it’s all over and the meat sweats, alcohol poisoning and the vicious, festering family rows that get more brutal and increasingly personal with every passing year have subsided, at least for a few days until we do it all again on New Year’s Eve.

I’m not your dad so you can do what you like for all I care, but three decades of adulting has taught me this - nothing good comes of heavy drinking during daylight hours.

Staying at your parents’ house, often in your childhood room, only now with your partner and three kids, is claustrophobic enough, but mix in an all-day session with your smug sibling in your mum’s tiny lounge and you can practically hear the countdown clock ticking until the “long overdue home truths” are spoken. Usually halfway down your second bottle of Rioja.

Popular subjects include each other’s children, a partner’s vibrant choice of Christmas outfit and some feud from the late 1980s/early 90s that everyone else had long forgotten but the mere sight of anaglypta wallpaper and Artexed ceilings brings it all flooding back.

Suddenly you’re 14 again and, in your eyes, your brother’s not an investment analyst who drives a 4-litre street tank the size of a greenhouse and paid off his mortgage two years ago, he’s the annoying little s*** who borrowed your Jesus Jones tape in 1991 and gave it back months later all chewed up.

Every Boxing Day, you ask yourself the same question; was it worth it? And every year you swear next year you’ll do it differently - like Hugh Grant, book a golfing holiday to a Muslim country with your dad.

And every year you do it exactly the same. Happy New Year everybody!