Stage 1: Depressive Lethargy
Stage 2: Nicotine Cravings
I spent the rest of the morning in a bit of a funk. Mostly because family Christmasses are so incredibly predictable, and I want at least something to change. Well, this is the first Christmas without my grandfather, but something else changing would be nice.
Stage 3: Accurate Predictions of Doom
I knew, before walking through the door, that my dad would want me intoxicated, and I have for the past five hours been sipping at a reasonably passable Glenfiddich (not my taste, I'm an Islay man through and through). It'd be the first time my parents had seen some blockbuster film that actually didn't suck — Pirates of the Caribbean today, with the promise of Shrek 2 tomorrow. Home cooking is something that requires both no attention and no preparation due to tomorrow's epic gluttony. As the evening wears on, I wrap presents and have to hide them when my brother shows up unexpectedly — though to my surprise, without his girlfriend. After watching some unutterably boring dross on the haunted fishtank, my brother finds some movie featuring automobiles (2 Fast 2 Furious, this year). This reignights one of our running feuds: whether The Fast And The Furious is better than the Nick Cage remake of Gone In 60 Seconds. This goes on for quite some time, with my dad making comments about the women in the film that get lewder as the evening progresses and he gets more inebriated.
Tomorrow, we wake up, consume coffee, open gifts. The haul will be okay, but generally slightly disappointing. This is because I don't dare ask for anything I want (£300+ gadgets are right out) and new socks are a high point. However, I will receive Stuff in the name of a holiday changed into a capitalist's wet dream, which marks me indelibly as a Child of Privilege who is unfit to write economical or political screeds. Brother's girlfriend shows up, they shower each other with presents worth more than every other gift in the room, thus showing him as a class traitor and her as one of the bourgeois. The obligatory visits to grandparents, tinged with my grandfather's passing, means that conversations will turn to "How Long Our Rita Has Left" or "Didn't Expect Jack To Go So Soon". Back home for aforementioned gluttony, interspersed with the giving of yet more gifts. At this point the three blokes in the house will have consumed beer, whisky, wine, and brandy enough to get them completely sozzled. This is a good enough state to watch Doctor Who, which looks marginally better than the godawful season finale.
Stage 4: A Greater Pile
At this point I remember that I have stuff that I needs finish and shoot to Chuck. Which is good, as it gives me an excuse to get away from family. Other writers may take a break around this time of year to be with their family, coming back from a week in Prague which was definitely a Week Off, I needs regain my stride and get words on a page.
Stage 5: Acceptance
In the end, I'll come back with some stuff that I didn't have when I left. That which I do not need or want will make a good trade item. If I'm lucky, I'll have made a dent in the 4K I have left.
I say "sod it", get up, and have a shower.
Happy celebration to all. I'm of the belief that Christmas isn't something that I'd do necessarily, but giving gifts to significant people in one's life is a good thing to do and the time of year is geared to be a generally good reminder. Though more so during the sales.
: The other being over the fact that by living where he does, he's a Shandy-Drinking Southern Jessie, and I'm a Tight-Fisted Jock Bastard. Which is true, but still fun.
: Which is an idiot's bet. Fast/Furious has become a franchise thanks to moronic chav scum who buy in-town runabouts, do unspeakable things to the engines, then apply the most ludicrous body kits and give them paint-jobs that a colour-blind quadriplegic wouldn't put his name to. Nick Cage can't act worth a damn, but at least Gone in 60 features some honestly beautiful cars. Not all of which are American, and thus can actually handle roads that bend.