Saturday 24 August 2019

Katie Byrne... welcome to the day you are most likely to get into a family arguement

Duvet day: Would December 28 be easier if we gave ourselves permission to spend another day on the couch?
Duvet day: Would December 28 be easier if we gave ourselves permission to spend another day on the couch?
Emoji face palm
Katie Byrne

Katie Byrne

Welcome to the worst day of the festive season. Well, at least according to a survey commissioned by Kwik Fit.

The poll, which interviewed 2,000 people, found that December 28 is the day family members are most likely to get into an argument during the Christmas period.

Tempers begin to fray two days after St Stephen's Day as the pressure of living in close quarters intensifies and the annual anticlimax sinks in.

Almost 14pc of respondents said they were likely to row over people not doing their fair share of chores around the house, while 15pc cited "inappropriate behaviour" - i.e. Uncle Larry tearing off his shirt and singing 'Ireland's Call' after drinking an entire bottle of brandy.

Some 12pc of people said post-Christmas clutter was an annoyance (the empty wine bottles lined up like skittles outside the back door don't help matters), while "familial criticism" - aunts asking why you're still single; siblings asking why you're still in the bathroom - was a trigger for 18pc of respondents.

For many people, December 28 is the worst day of the festive season because it's the precise moment they realise they'll soon have to face the music and acknowledge that a mince pie and a glass of port is not a nutritional breakfast.

Some 38pc of those surveyed said it's the day they start to address their over-indulgence, 29pc start to worry about their finances and 12pc worry they haven't properly relaxed over Christmas (others start to worry they haven't got out of their pyjamas since St Stephen's Day).

Survey aside, the position on the calendar of December 28 makes it an obvious contender for worst day of the festive season. It's the valley between two peaks (Christmas Day and New Year's Eve); the point in a journey when you wonder if you can really take on another mountain.

It's also the day people start to realise they spent too much, ate too much, drank too much and, quite possibly, said too much (what went down at the office Christmas party is still a legitimate concern).

Would December 28 be easier if we didn't have unrealistic expectations - if we gave ourselves permission to take another day on the couch?

Every year, without fail, Christmas brings on a sort of selective amnesia. We forget that we get shot out of a canon at the beginning of December before landing in a glittery heap somewhere around the beginning of January.

Despite the best of intentions, we rarely succeed in using the time off to perform a life review, take up yoga and read 12 novels. As for the old 'Christmas abroad' fantasy. Nah. Never happens. Thailand? You're doing well if you get to Funderland…

As night follows day, there will be a white-knuckle credit card incident, a 'WTF?' weighing scales episode and an ugly sibling spat in the days following Christmas.

Those who recognise the inherent chaos of Christmas time tend to be the same people who don't explode on the 'worst day' of the festive period. They're too busy eating Roses and re-watching 'Labyrinth' to care.

The other side of 2016

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Emoji face palm
 

The annus horribilis that was 2016 comes to an end and it's not with a bang, but a whimper.

After Brexit, Trump and Bowie, most of us are lying on the couch like Colonel Kurtz in the final scene of 'Apocalypse Now', whispering, "The horror... the horror..." as we eat brandy butter straight from the jar.

Publishers Penguin capitalised on the widespread despair by bringing out 'F**k You, 2016' just in time for the Secret Santa market, but there are silver linings to be found elsewhere.

Looking for reasons to be cheerful? Well, 2016 was also the year that Elon Musk edged closer to colonising Mars; Portugal powered the entire country on renewable energy for four days; female action heroes became the new normal (check out Rogue One: A Star Wars Story); schools in the US started replacing detention with meditation; the Ice Bucket Challenge led to an ALS research breakthrough and the Unicode Consortium gave us a new suite of emojis, including a very timely face palm (above).

Not so bad after all.

Irish Independent

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