A to Z of an Irish Christmas Day
A IS for armchair. From where the man of the house watches events unfold, praying they'll let him be.
B is for Brandy. Be sure to stock up on a couple of bottles before the last shop shutters fall on Christmas Eve. When that doorbell goes, you will pat yourself on the back.
C is for crackers. Just pull them – the jokes can only be slightly worse than Granddad's.
D is for drama. Eastenders never fails to be the most miserable, though I hear rumours that this year Fair City has a storyline lined up to dampen even the most effervescent spirit.
E is for empty. What the pubs are supposed to be on Christmas Day. Wink wink, nudge nudge.
F is for flatulence. Lads, you have guests. Go easy on the sprouts.
G is for Ghandi. The Ben Kingsley epic usually starts on Christmas morning, and Granddad will still be glued to it when Leopardstown kicks off on Stephen's Day.
H is for holly. Resist the temptation to put a sprig on the mother-in-law's chair.
I is for ill. Too many Roses, and this is what you will become. By the way, put the wrappers in the bin and not back in the tin, or there could be war.
J is for jarred. It's what you become when you drink Champagne before Mass.
K is for kitchen. Men enter it at their peril. All yearlong she'll tell you that this year it's your turn to cook. When it comes to the crunch, she'd rather serve heated beans from a tin than let you within three feet of the oven.
L is for Love Actually. It may not be normal for a man to admit it, but I think this is one of the most enjoyable films ever made. Bill Nighy – comedy gold.
M is for mock surprise. Even though she has been dropping hints since Hallowe'en she'll act stunned when she opens the present that you were telepathically ordered to buy, or face excommunication. Women feign such emotions because they know how to make a man feel clever. Now sit Ubu, sit.
N is for narky. Like in a game of Cluedo, someone will come a cropper by the end of the day. Irritability revels in confined spaces, fuelled by an army of warm bodies.
O is for old friends. We should make an effort to get in touch with at least one this Christmas – Facebook and texts are for the rest of the year.
P is for pudding. For the next generation, Christmas puddings are in danger of extinction. Do you ever see anybody under 40 actually put a spoonful down his or her throat?
Q is for quiz. Trivial Pursuit – the Irish version. Time to put your money where your mouth is.
R is for Rudolph. Leave something other than a carrot out for the poor animal, his sight is 120/20 at this stage.
S is for sing song. After a few jars the sing song starts, usually with something upbeat like Santa Claus is Coming to Town before it reaches 3.00am and the last few standing are crying into their drinks upon hearing the fifteenth chorus of Willie McBride.
T is for Tayto. No home is complete without a box on Christmas Day. And all breaths smell the same.
U is for uproar. It's what happens if two mother-inlaws are sat next to each other at the dinner table.
V is for vanity. No one admits it but we all love going to Mass to eye up what clothes the neighbours got – one day of the year when we all look good.
W is for Waxwing. This winter there has been an influx of the berry-hunting birds from Scandinavia.
X is for XXX. Kisses, what will be expected of you if you leave mistletoe hanging about the place. All depends on if you want to be smooched by the guests or not. Yikes.
Y is for Yulelog. Cadbury's have issued a triple chocolate Yulelog for the season that's in it. Enjoy a slice with a dollop of fresh cream and a steaming cuppa. Heaven.
Z is for Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Afternoon nap – the only way you'll be guaranteed to come out the other side in one piece.