When I was a small child, pyjamas with bum-flap and all, Christmas Day was the greatest day. I was up earlier than ever before, screeching down those stairs the second my eyes opened, thrashing hands ripping wrapping paper to shreds, neck-veins bulging as I screamed the pictures off the wall, fists banging my thighs as I howled “MIGHTY MAX” at the ceiling, left eye temporarily popping out of its socket and my parents frantically pushing it back in the moment I realised dad had managed to nab me the white Power Ranger. But now, it’s shit, I don’t care, and I’m getting up at ten, thank you very much.
But that’s kids isn’t it? You open your presents before breakfast, because it’s the best part of the day, and anything prior to it is just furiously treading water. YES GIMME THE GODDAMN BUCKS FIZZ OK CHRIST WE’LL DO CARDS FIRST OH FOR GOD’S SAKE FINE I’LL SAY HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO THE FUCKING DOG.
Tatler though, that magazine - the oracle of decorum - has put paid to my tradition of early opening. Turns out I was displaying the height of rudeness by sprinting to my presents before the break of day. According to them, you may only pilfer your stockings before brekkie. For the big boys under the tree, the polite thing to do is to wait for the period between the morning Church service (what is that) and lunch.
To display an even steelier resolve, they suggest you wait until after lunch and a brisk walk. Horse chud, I say - if I want to enjoy my Christmas dinner, I don’t want to feel the burn of that big box that sounds like it’s humming, bearing down on my neck through the walls of the living room and into the kitchen. And a walk? I’m not Bear Grylls - there’s stuff on the telly, you berks.
And if you happen to be visiting relatives or friends, then what to do of the inevitable argument over present opening? Maybe your family is very well-to-do, so you like to open the presents at precisely 5.30pm, when Jesus was born or something, but the hosts are so excruciatingly polite that they don’t open them until the world actually ends, in about 10,000 years time. Well, Tatler recommend you go by their rules - whoever is hosting, it’s their call, sorry.
In fact, if you happen to visiting Spain, a lot of families don’t pop open their gifts until 6 January - just imagine that! Supposedly, this particular date is something called Epiphany Day, aka the day-about-which-I-should-have-listened when I was in R.E. class at school. As a result, I don’t know why they do this - seems like overkill to me. It’s far from a perfect itinerary.
Which in case you were curious, is this:
10.00am: Wake up
10.10: Open presents
10.30-13.00: Attempt to get the godforsaken slinky to do more than three fucking steps
14.30-15.30: Have ‘too much to drink’ ‘again’
15.30-Boxing Day: Sleep