The idea that Christmas is a time of peace on earth and goodwill to all men is, I think we can safely agree, a flawed one.
There's nothing like the pressure-cooker combination of family members, booze and everything being shut to really turn up the heat on conflict.
But despite being naturally irritable and incredibly impatient - or perhaps, because of it - I spend a great deal of time trying to avoid arguments. I would rather talk about the weather for two hours than have a 10-minute debate about politics. I am rubbish at rows, and the one time I flounced out of the pub following a slanging match with my then fiancé, now husband, about our forthcoming nuptials ("you haven't organised ANYTHING.
And now you're insisting on a pianist?") I realised I'd left my handbag behind and had to flounce back in. Which rather spoilt the drama of the thing.
I like harmony. I crave quiet. I don't particularly like anyone trying to beat me into submission with the force of their thoughts, and I think it would be the height of impoliteness if I did it myself. And yet. This week I've engaged in a number of heated debates and rather got a taste for them. I've had my assumptions shaken and rammed my opinion down other people's throats. And it's all down to Christmas.
I've taken part in the great Quality Street vs Roses battle. Once I would have defended Roses to the death. Now Cadbury's have messed with the line-up and relegated the coffee creams, it's Quality Street all the way. But sod the toffee pennies, it's soft centres all the way.
I've drawn a line in the sand over Christmas Day walks (incorrect) and post-lunch naps (our survey says yes). Sadly, even though turkey turns me off, I've lost the beef Wellington war with my husband. In the "marzipan, force for good or work of the devil?" discussion, I've surprised myself by eschewing my youthful loathing of the stuff and am now an almond-paste evangelist.
Trivial Pursuit is the one true game of Christmas, and if you think you can convince me of the merits of Monopoly, you are mistaken. But for once I'll enjoy the argument.
Christmas lunch or Christmas dinner? Presents before breakfast or in the evening? Queen's speech or carols? Let battle commence. I don't want to know how you'll vote in the next general election, but I can't wait to hear your thoughts on brandy butter, greasy treat/ pudding poison.
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