10 reasons why Christmas is dangerous

Christmas is about peace and goodwill and food and sharing and family and, well, it’s a damn risky time really. I’m not saying it’s up there with Donald Trump’s double or a Chernobyl chimney sweep in terms of taking the gloss off your day but in my time I’ve had a few close encounters of the cracker kind so let this be a warning

1. I have this thing about mantelpieces. They look pretty all decked out in tinsel and yew with stockings hanging off the end but, see, they have two flaws. First, they stick out and second they are bloody hard. So when I’m bending over, retrieving a chestnut or placing a Yule log, the chance of me returning to the horizontal exactly where the edge sits in the space time continuum is directly proportional to my lack of spatial awareness. As in this equation:

(my vertical velocity from a squat + the density of the mantelpiece) x S (where S is a standard unit of stupidity) = a concussive impact of 13K (where K is bloody painful).

2. Tinsel looks nice in a blingy, glitter-boa sort of way. It can dress a tree, an ornament and a dozing relly in a post-prandial snooze. It can double as a belt, a dog lead and a functioning garrote if you find your in-laws invited for more than two sleeps. It is however not a useful substitute for tying a piece of gammon before baking at high temperatures as it will (a) combust and (b) set off the smoke alarm leading to (c) remonstrations of the squeezed fist kind from the nearest over-imbibed spouse.

3. The classic present for L’homme d’un Certain Age in my house comes in a packet of three. Once a set of novelty prophylactics might have been included but these days it will be either socks or the much maligned handkerchief. In my family one of the many immutable Christmas rules is you must wear every piece of clothing gifted to you at Christmas. As a consequence there can be several socks discarded. If such discards find themselves close to, say, an abandoned mince pie and an acquisitive dog the result might be an ingested sock and a pet needing a rapid visit to an emergency vet.

4. It is a given that the Christmas lights you put away carefully the previous January with 100% working bulbs will have at least 3 now not working. It used to be the case that, like Arthur Scargill’s striking philosophy, one out, all out. Nowadays you can at least see the duds but in my experience trying to replace them is not easy. However frustrating things become, under no circumstances should you check the power is flowing by the application of your tongue to the bulb holder.

5. I don’t know which enlightened Victorian came up with the idea of inserting a threepenny bit into the Christmas pud so some lucky soul had a small windfall. But he didn’t count on a moronic child gobbling his food to try and finish his Christmas lunch in time to see the Christmas Top of The Pops and swallowing the gizmet. Nor did he necessarily anticipate the gleeful Archaeologist attempting his newly learnt Heimlich manoeuvre that both dislodged the coin and two ribs.

6. While on the subject of asphyxiation there are a number of small, perfectly shaped bungs that are ubiquitous at Christmas: variously – lego, cracker gifts, artificial holly berries, polystyrene packaging, and many of the skeletal elements of the turkey. If you have children under seven expect them to turn blue at least twice over Christmas.

7. Present Rage is also close to the surface. It’s like an enhanced Ikea experience with many gifts requiring some combination of assembly, power provision (and you never have the right battery), a number of players greater than the available family members and, these days, the requirement to download an app that instantly corrupts your home network, rendering the internet unavailable, the TV permantly tuned to a Serbo-Croat porn channel and sets your electricity meter onto a spin cycle.

8. Bringing together a wide selection of family members can createย the sort of frisson last seen when Hamas found itself in the final two with Mossad at the UN’s International Drag Queen Bingo Challenge. Aunty Paula hasn’t spoken to Cousin Betty since Brother Martin compared Great Aunt Eloise’s eyebrows to two ferrets emerging from a set of dungarees. Table placement takes the diplomacy of a Kissinger and the Chutzpah of a Kardashian. Get it wrong and one’s chances of siring further offspring will be dangling like a Christmas decoration.

9. These days Christmas trees come ready wrapped in a sort of crazy EL James fishnetty thing made of the sort of plastic that circles the world oceans trapping dolphins like extras in a sea porn extravaganza. To remove it you need something sharp and bladed. Scissors would be most people’s choice but I always think you should do something that challenges you. Sadly that often results in me accepting a challenge at the expense of common sense. So a wide carving knife inserted, blade up while you rip upwards toward your hand does what exactly? Oh yes. This – the scar is ten years old but the ten stitches will remain a memory of one moment of madness.


10. Many other incidents have not made this list. Being held under a mattress on Christmas morning by ones sibling and suffocating rates an honourable mention. The burn from the cinder that landed on my thigh while putting on my fourteenth pair of underpants was ultimately solved with some skin grafting. I managed to paper cut a testicle (really, don’t ask), impale myself on a staple randomly abandoned from some present, and find the missing glass tree decoration when the pieces entered my foot. But singularly the most painful was falling asleep post-eats and waking up in such an odd position I mimicked my own DNA. I could barely move for a week. I’ve never enjoyed the Sound of Music as a result.

So as they used to say on the glorious Hill Street Blues.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in Christmas, families, humour and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to 10 reasons why Christmas is dangerous

  1. Can identify with at least three of these. Cutting tool for Christmas tree packaging? I cut myself on the box getting the knife out.
    Hope yours was a good one regradless Geoff. 2017 can only be better, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Erika Kind says:

    Oh well, I can relate to quite some of your points… lol! Most of all the light bulb issue… haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gordon759 says:

    As with all your biographical pieces which describe your misadventures with the modern world (I speak as an archaeologist here – for us the modern world begins in the late fifteenth century. It really does).
    You should include a health warning at the beginning – do not read whilst enjoying a Christmas present (at least not one that comes in an interestingly shaped bottle) or you will choke in laughter and have to change your Irish cream covered shirt.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Michael says:

    I agree with you that Christmas can be a dangerous time but when you think about it would you want it any other way apart from the blood letting I mean…..best wishes Geoff for 2017…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so highly amused my brain has ceased functioning ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Festivities Geoff, I do hope you survive ’em!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Eileen says:

    Unfortunately, we must share some DNA…..I could relate to pretty much all of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dgkaye says:

    These are hilarious Geoff! Hope your Christmas was lovely. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ha ha one of the funniest post I’ve read for a long time. I’m definitely never going to ask about the paper cut. Incidentally I once worked as a chimney sweep.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. noelleg44 says:

    How wonderful (or not) that we can relate to most of these. My husband’s obligated present is underwear. He’s always complaining about it and he always get some. Tinsel is no longer for sale anywhere around here. Haven’t seen it but don’t miss it. Since my father-in-law died – he who used to put it on the tree strand by strand – we’ve abandoned it. I do like those light which bubble, though. Sorry to hear about the near asphyxiation. My son swallowed pennies on a regular basis when he was little. We just monitored the toilet bowl. The best thing this year is the tree, which was cut the day before we got it and is still fresh. My son is coming home from deployment and wanted us to keep it up, so I’m thankful it will last!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Identify with most of that, yes! Very well summarised. So far this Christmas, my clunk was obtained after a country walk when we dropped into a pub which had recently had its loo re-furbed, and they’d squeezed in an extra cubicle. The resulting smaller manoeuvring area ensured that on the way out, I stubbed my toe on the door which bounced back and has given me a rather disreputable-looking mark next to my right eye!

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.