Not all of us are awash naturally with festive spirit. No – much like ballroom dancing or DIY, “giving good Christmas” is a real skill. But how do you know where you stand in the festive fun stakes? It’s simple. You need to take my Christmas quiz
1. For you, Christmas is...
A) A magical time of bonhomie, renewed hope and unconfined delight. It’s a non-stop diarised cavalcade of fun, fancy food and warm felicitations. You are a frightening snowstorm of Buddy from Elf and Lynda Snell from The Archers – and you must be stopped.
B) A six-day, tinsel-strewn endurance test. Weight gain, financial drain and sprouts (again), but nevertheless it’s still the “most wonderful time of the year”. You’re the Rev Geraldine Granger tactfully eating seven Christmas dinners to keep folks happy.
C) A 650-mile, obligatory round trip, only to sleep on a punctured airbed and hear several reasons why you’re “just like your father”. You’re Shane MacGowan in “Fairytale Of New York”. Happy Christmas, you arse, and pray to god it’s your last.
2. What’s your approach to “Gifting”?
A) Amazon Prime delivered all your gifts by Nov 1st. You’ve mentioned this, on a bi-hourly basis ever since, and subsequently no one shares their mince pies with you in the staff room.
B) You’ve bought some gifts, but still need “bits and pieces”. December 24th will feature a hangover, a McDonald’s breakfast and a little weep in a shopping centre when Jona Lewie floats over the in-store stereo pushing too many emotional buttons.
C) The mere fact I’ve used “gift” as a verb, US-style, here has been enough to give you a heart murmur. You’ll purchase 12 Body Shop “White Musk” bath bombs at Euston Station and dispense them on the 25th, channelling the vibe from Madonna’s “Unapologetic Bitch”.
How Christmas is celebrated around the world
How Christmas is celebrated around the world
In Japan, people book into KFC restaurants or pre-order their KFC Christmas dinners months in advance f the 25th December, to make sure they can eat their traditional fried chicken. The specific eating of KFC on Christmas day was started by an advertising campaign run by the fast-food chain in 1974, and worked so well that it has passed into lore
In Catalonia a small log, with a red hat, is looked after by children. The Tio de Nadal, or poo log, is kept warm under a blanket and 'fed' Turron every evening from 8 December to ensure he eventually poos out lots of treats on Christmas Eve.
Another Catalonian tradition is the the Caganer, a small figure sometimes modeled on public figures, who is always shown crouching with his pants around his ankles while he defecates on the floor. The figurine is placed among nativity scenes, and his faeces is seen as a sign of good luck as it fertilizes the earth, helping to bring a good harvest the next year
AFP PHOTO/LLUIS GENE
Children in Germany put out their shoes to be filled with sweets, not stockings, and they do this much earlier in the month, on 5 December. If they have been bad, their shoe will contain branches with their presents - which is supposed to represent a hiding
Norwegian tradition dictates that witches and evil spirits arise on Christmas Eve, steal peoples' broomsticks and fly through the air. This is why people hide their broomsticks the day before Christmas - and any other similar items - to prevent this
Canada's postal service dedicates time every year to responding to children's letters to Santa, and has a special postal code - H0H 0H0 - where letters can be addressed to. More than 15 million letters are thought to have been responded to in the past 27 years, and they now respond to emails, too
7/10 South Africa
To keep kids from being too greedy around Christmas, South Africa has the legend of Danny, a little boy who was brutally murdered by his grandmother because he ate Santa's cookies.
In some Austrian alpine towns, young men dress up as the terrifying Krampus - the storied anti-Saint Nick who beats naughty children with tree branches.
The old Estonian tradition of a family sauna at Christmas (and New Years) endures. It's normally done just before a Christmas eve church service.
At Christmas time Guatemalans sweep their homes, collect the dust and place it at the foot of a neighbourhood effigy of the devil.
AFP / Getty
3. Who is your Christmas role model?
A) Michael Bublé preferably sitting snugly beside a log fire, sipping buttered rum. Like Bublé, you and Christmas should probably just get a room and do some festive heavy petting.
B) Mariah Carey in her “All I Want For Christmas is You” video wearing a sexy Santa mini-dress, beside a luxury ski lodge and a mountain of gifts claiming not to “want a lot” this year. Who doesn’t like downtime and presents?
C) Bill Murray in Scrooged firing his employees on Christmas Eve, gifting his brother a rough bath towel and stapling tiny antlers to a mouse’s head just for lolz. You’re not having fun during the festive period, so why should anyone else.
4. How does Christmas dinner happen Chez Vous?
A) 1pm sharp: Tom Kerridge’s succulent turkey roll with pistachio and sourdough crumble is served, followed by Fortnum and Mason’s figgy pudding delivered aflame. Dinner ends at 3pm for the Queen’s Speech – and some guests have even managed to stay awake.
B) Sometime between 3pm and 6pm (approx): a collection of M&S pre-prepped roasties, devils on horseback, posh stuffing and fizzy wine is presented to a gaggle of plainly pissed adults and sullen teenagers glued to iPhones. The entertainment consists of Uncle Terry’s views on immigration.
C) Sometime between 11am and 9pm: dry turkey crown (which tastes oddly like fish), Paxo Sage’n’ Onion, lumpy mash, marrowfat peas, not enough gravy and the sad acceptance that it’s probably an A&E trip for the niece who pushed a full Quality Street toffee finger into her ear.
5. What festive TV are you most excited about?
A) You and your kin gathered around the Radio Times double edition weeks ago, armed with colour-coded markers. Now it’s just a case of watching it all. The major highpoints will be Miranda, Dr Who, Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot with Dustin Hoffman and the BBC4 Wallender special. Oh and Midnight Mass from Arundel Cathedral on Christmas Eve, obvs.
B) All the fart jokes in Mrs Brown’s Boys, the very, very long Downton Abbey, the frat-house jocularity of Big Fat Quiz of the Year, and Michael McIntyre’s very Christmassy Christmas show. Basically you are heavily pro anything on TV that shuts everyone up for a while so you can snore in a wilted party hat.
C) Anything you watch on an iPad on the loo while hiding from everyone and feigning stomach cramps.
Mostly As – You’re top of the tree when it comes Christmas. You’re also literally insufferable. If the three wise men had met you they’d have tipped off Herod, even if you did give them the homemade stollen you began making in August.
Mostly Bs – You “step into Christmas” in a perfectly acceptable, non-nauseating way. You’re like Mel Smith and Kim Wilde doing “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree”. You’re traditional with a serious capacity to be silly. Well done.
Mostly Cs – Oh curmudgeon all ye faithful! You’re the nightmare before Christmas, you’re a rejoicment refusenik and a Boxing Day Bore. But we need people like you. If Noddy Holder from Slade and his ilk had their way, it would be Christmas every day – and that would be awful. Happy Christmas!Reuse content