The misanthrope’s advent calendar – day 22

One thing I hate about christmas – and there are a lot – are walks on Christmas day. I’ve the rather questionable pleasure of being subjected to more of these than I would wish and I never wished for them in the first place.

These walks are compulsory, I mean if one can withstand the sideways looks, condemnatory mutterings, barbed comments for a few days, heated but whispered arguments with your winter warmer in the bedroom you share with the thin walls in their parents house. And it was always in a partners parents house, more often than not the first time I’d actually met them, where I’d be trying to cultivate a good impression of me. Displaying anything other than raring enthusiasm to go out for a post christmas dinner walk wasn’t a great way to help achieve it.

I mean, is it only me or is the clue is right there in the name? It isn’t christmas breakfast or lunch, it’s christmas dinner and as dinners are usually eaten later on in the day, and it starts getting dark in December at about 3pm. So the question is, who in their right mind would go for a walk – willingly – in the cold and dark, when option b is to stay toasty in the warm and drink some more champagne?

I’ll tell you who.

Parents who suspect that you’re not ‘the right sort’ for the fruit of their loins and want their suspicions confirmed. Parents who under the guise of putting you at your ease, do the very opposite. Parents who insist on playing cherished family games, with impenetrable rules, which abound with ’You had to be there’ anecdotes, as hilarious to them as they are bewildering to you. Parents for whom it never occurs to them that you too might be sizing them up in exactly the same way and might find them wanting.

Parents whom are the butt of the joke of this John Lewis advert.

And above all, parents, who when you’ve decided you never want to see them or their children ever again, think it a good idea to take up your challenge to play against them as a family at ’Trivia Pursuits’.

It wasn’t.