Defrost those pigs in blankets, grab a novelty Santa hat and dry out those orange slices before the family descend – Christmas is almost here. If you're staying in the capital, here are a few wrong turns that can ruin the day.
1. Anything active
Come on. As much as London streets will be abandoned by the sudden migration of non-Londoners to their family homes beyond the M25, it's not a day for jogging, walking or any sort of physical activity. If anything, you can stock up on Barry's Bootcamp
classes come December 27
after you've eaten the week's calorie intake. Some shops and restaurants in the city will be open on the day itself, but do not be tempted to leave the house and engage with the poor souls who would rather be anywhere than at work on Christmas Day.
2. Take a bus or tube anywhere
Mainly because you can't. There is still no Christmas Day public transport service in London.
3. Forget to schedule
Do you know what time Christmas Downton starts? Well, you should. You don't want to be shouting at the still frozen-in-the-middle stuffing when you hear those opening chimes. Create a schedule for the day. It won't ever go to plan but at least you'll have something to cling to while family chaos ensues all around you.
4. Party too hard on Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve in London may feel like the main event when you're in the pub with the mates you grew up with (since new mates have gone 'back up norf'). But alcohol, a boogie and a mince pie will never make up for the family shenanigans on Christmas Day – like the time Uncle Tim put a bit too much brandy on the Christmas pudding before Aunt Fliss set it alight. Spending the rest of the day wondering if your dear aunt was trying to burn your uncle alive is a pleasure that will be severely reduced by a hangover.
5. Clear up
You will be far too busy with presents, eating and talking to people you supposedly love to deal with a dishwasher or heaven forbid, a sink. And where would the fun be on Boxing Day when you wake up hungover and still full but craving turkey? You'd have no dirty plates to pick food off and to bang together to 'subtly' wake up your other half (who should not have bought you a voucher for Christmas, so they have to pay).
6. Miss the Queen's speech
If you miss it you won't understand the parody videos that come out post-Christmas. Also, it's nice to imagine her just a few tube stops away pulling a cracker (although we shouldn't call Prince Phillip that, should we?).
8. Agree to host Christmas next year
Just go to a restaurant next year. It's London and plenty are open
– or even better, go to someone else's house so they can clear up your mess and deal with your family.