Oh look, you’ve given your home a makeover that even Elton John’s stylist would cringe at and call too flamboyant. Congratulations, well done to you. If you really think putting a plastic tree in your lounge and hanging garish baubles, walking stick-shaped candy and glitter from the branches actually looks good then why don’t you leave it up all year round? Exactly.
11 Giving presents
Is there anything madder than spending money you don’t have, to buy people you don’t like, a gift they don’t even want? Of course there is – wrapping it in shiny paper, stuffing it inside an oversized, oddly proportioned woolly stocking and hanging it from a fireplace.
10 Receiving presents
After shelling out QR500 on a thoughtful, unique and carefully considered gift, it is something of a disappointment to be handed a pair of novelty socks that came with a carton of pineapple juice in return. At least remove the label before handing it over and expecting your designated recipient to be amused/grateful/not punch you in the face.
The fact that Brussels sprouts are hardly sold at any other time of year makes us suspect they may actually be Grinch pellets. A theory given further support by the fact that they taste so bad it takes a Christmas pudding – a dessert closer to an excavated peat marsh than a chocolate cake – to get rid of the flavour.
8 Office parties
After almost an entire calendar year of petty grievances, unresolved conflict and repressed emotion, many companies decide it’s a good idea to get everybody to a nearby nightspot to enjoy an evening in each other’s company. And perhaps a bit of dancing. Just remember that spontaneity is the mother of embarrassment and camera phones were invented as a deterrent against doing anything you will regret.
Despite the fact there are only three, possibly four, decent festive tunes and radio stations, annoying friends and the office simpleton insist on playing novelty numbers on loop. Remember, if you can’t beat them… actually, just beat them.
Families and loved ones or, as I like to call them, worthless, selfish, good-for-nothing-freeloaders, all come out of the woodwork and invite themselves for a Christmas holiday in Doha and there is literally nothing you can do about it. Well, apart from change address, cut off all communication and hibernate like the grizzly bear you’d secretly like to be. But that, apparently, is against the spirit of the holidays.
Don’t be bullied by the festive fascists into sending cards this year. They might have handwritten a card for everybody in their address book and posted off personalised messages around the world, but that doesn’t mean there is any more sentiment than your group text message or retweet. Does it?
4 Forced jolliness
Hahahaha – that’s brilliant. You’ve got an ironic Christmas sweater and a novelty hat on. What’s this – some mistletoe on a selfie stick, a musical tie and a pair of flashing elf’s ears? What a legend! Actually, no. I hate you and everything you stand for, and if you come any closer with that festive banter I’m going to slap you in your merry red face with a luxury Christmas cracker. Remember when I said you were a legend? I meant complete and utter bozo.
Greedy, snot-nosed brats are out there all year round, obviously, but this is prime season for their ilk. Making noisy demands outside toy shop windows, bellowing in choirs and shows or just toothlessly filling up your Facebook timeline in Frozen onesies, there’s no escaping your friends’ annoying offspring at this time of year.
Just because Uncle Tony has sung carols and cheated at Trivial Pursuit for the past 40 years, it doesn’t mean you have to do it all over again. Traditions are just lazy excuses not to think of something better to do. Want to eat pizza on the beach and play video games on your own all day? Go right ahead.
1 Father Christmas
Fat, lazy and a bit creepy. The Time Out team resent me for being exactly this for 364 days of the year, and yet for one day, Santa gets celebrated. Call me a Scrooge if you want, but that’s just not fair.