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A-Dad-s-Guide-to-Christmas-Day

A Dad's Guide to Christmas Day

You better watch out. Christmas Day can be a tricky one to navigate what with boring gloves, burned roasties, cursing in front of your grand aunt and bucket loads of Prosecco. Our resident Dad, Pat Fitzpatrick, gives his advice on how to survive it all.

Christmas Eve, 10:30 pm.

Don’t exchange gifts with your partner on Christmas Eve. This was cool and often ended in living-room sex back before the kids came along and used up all your money. Now you’re exchanging bargain perfume and leather gloves. This has the same effect on your sex drive as watching an episode of One Born Every Minute. You’ll end going to bed worried that the fizz has gone out of your relationship. Wait until the morning for the pressie business, when the kids’ enthusiasm will put a gloss on everything. If that doesn’t work, crack open the first bottle of Prosecco. Gloves! I love you so much.

Christmas Morning, 4am.

Don’t go in and force the kids to get up and look at their presents. It isn’t their fault you have a weird obsession with Santa and tend to get over-excited at Christmas time. Or that you ate a tin of Roses last night and probably won’t sleep again until January. If you are really looking for something to do, get up and put the turkey on. After all, it wouldn’t be Christmas time in Ireland if we didn’t have turkey that is actually drier than the Gobi Desert. Don’t mind that Jamie Oliver, trying to poison us all with a turkey that was only cooked for 5 hours.

7 am, The kids are up and the presents are open

There is just one problem. And no, it isn’t a lack of batteries. You’ve been burned on that front before, and have enough AA and AAA batteries this year to run the LUAS. The problem is the size of the screw on the cover of the battery compartment. It’s smaller than Marty Morrissey. It’s health and safety gone mad. You try and open it with your smallest screwdriver. Nothing happens, except that 2015 will be remembered as the year your three-year-old learned the C word. You also google ‘opticians open Christmas Day’ because, in truth, you can’t see what you are doing. So here’s my advice. When you are out buying batteries for Christmas, pick up an extra small screwdriver as well. And maybe go to Specsavers.

11 am. The real problem with a two-year-old?

They can’t tell you what they want for Christmas. So you buy a retro rocking-horse because who doesn’t like a retro rocking-horse? Well, your two-year-old as it turns out. He has just climbed into the box for your four-year old’s dolls house and pulled the lid down on top of him. This should be the cutest thing of all time but you secretly despise him for not sharing your love of retro rocking-horses. You pour a fresh glass of Prosecco and start to love him again. Aaaaw. How did people cope before Bubbles for breakfast on Christmas morning? Two take-aways here. Two year olds don’t get retro. And don’t run out of Prosecco.

2 pm. The boiled spuds are ready for mashing

Just get the gravy done and the kids can be fed. Except you can’t deglaze the roasting tin because the fecking turkey is stuck to the bottom of it. You let rip with some curses you learned from a Quentin Tarantino movie just as your grand-aunt walks into the kitchen. At least she’ll have something to tell the other nuns when she goes back the convent later. You take the roast carrots out of the oven but there is no work-top space to put them down. You decide to put them back in the oven but there is no room for them there either. How the f**k did that happen? And now your Prosecco has gone warm. And your two-year-old turned up the oven so your roasties look like coal. Worst of all, you allowed the kids to drink Coke for the first time this morning and now they have Toddler Hangovers. The take-away here. A large roast chicken for the adults, pizza for the kids. Now that’s a Happy Christmas.

3 pm. That glorious period when everyone is fed and the kids are still interested in their toys.

This is what Christmas is all about.

3:10 pm. The kids lose interest in their toys.

Possibly because they are already broken. You notice that toys featuring either a queen who turns things to ice or a pass-remarkable little pig with a brother called George are usually the first to go wonky. The take-away here? There isn’t one. Sorry about that. Large corporations will make tacky crap off the back of a movie and you will buy it at a 5000% mark-up. This is also what Christmas is all about.

5 pm. The kitchen is cleared up so you can finally get back to that tin of Roses.

It’s time for the greatest Christmas tradition of them all – agreeing that there is nothing on the telly. You turn on EastEnders that you recorded from earlier. It’s impossible to feel goodwill towards your fellow humans when that has to include Ian Beale. (This is one area where even Prosecco doesn’t work.) So you start flicking through the channels until you get to Chitty Chitty Bang on ITV 4 +1. Brilliant, your kids don’t say, at all. Five minutes later, you are all watching Twirlywoos on YouTube. It isn’t Willy Wonka or The Sound Of Music. But it is the first time today they cuddled into you under a blanket in front of the fire. 

The take-away here? It’s only once a year for a few years. So enjoy it while you can.

About the Author

Pat Fitzpatrick lives in Cork city with his wife and two small kids. He gave up a decent job in I.T. in 2008 to head for the lucrative world of writing. So don't hire him as a life coach, investment advisor or anything to do with your career. His Sunday Independent newspaper columns have been entertaining Irish people through some tough times. Pat is a regular on the on the RTE Today show with Maura Derrane and Daithí O’Sé and pops up frequently on radio shows such as the Right Hook. All of this is a bit too much like hard work, so he has started writing novels which will hopefully fund an early retirement to a hammock in the back garden. His first novel, Keep Away from those Ferraris, is available online and in shops outlined here http://www.patfitzpatrick.ie/novels/. Pat’s kids are both under two, so if you don’t mind, he is now going for a quick lie down.

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