Christmas is a time for family, a time for celebration and turkey and relaxing and watching the cricket (well, that's Boxing Day) and maybe getting a few bargains at the sales...right? Well that, but it's also a booze-a-thon of non-stop alcohol and partying. L might have a religious holiday complete with trips to church and conversations about baby Jesus, but for the rest of us atheists the only thing we hear is: long weekend.
Perhaps not surprisingly, A comes from a family of alcoholics. Alone they are bad enough, but get them together and there is no bin in the world large enough for the empty bottles. Her uncle, several cousins and grandma all came to stay at the family home for the holidays, each bringing several bottles of red and whiskey to contribute to the celebration. Christmas Eve began with glasses of white wine with octogenarians and her father out for a boozey breakfast. The Uncle played chauffeur, running around picking everyone up who were too drunk too drive. A's father was drinking from 8am until 1am the next morning, stopping only for a nap (passed out) just before dinner. Her cousins spent the day at the pub. Her mother was 'lunching' which meant consuming enough brandy-and-ginger-ale to knock a 200kg man out. Dinner was beer, red wine and several bottles of grapa. Strong stuff. J then joined A, her cousin and her brother drinking vodka in the park. It wasn't even Christmas Day yet. A's father cracked open his first beer at 9am, A made pina coladas and everyone was drunk before the turkey was cooked. The family also happens to eat like a pack of horses, and all passed out around 4pm from food and alcohol hangovers. Boxing Day they all headed out for Chinese food and ended up at the pub, drinking beer and talking (screaming arguments) footy. It isn't even football season.
J is a seasoned drinker, but even she couldn't keep up with A's family. Christmas Eve she joined the drinking in the park but after downing a few too much straight vodka had to be carried home be A's tall, strong and overly egocentric cousin. He was forced to drag her over train tracks when J slumped passed out in his arms. She woke up in time for A to tuck her into bed, but was up hunting for a glass of water an hour later. Unable to stand properly, she managed to knock down her entire shelf. Perfume and tequila bottles smashed and showed glass all over her while the shelf pinned her to the ground. Her parents came running in to discover their passed out daughter trapped under a shelf and shattered glass. J received more than a few bruises and cuts. She awoke in the spare room disorientated and unbelievably hungover. She spent the day sneaking off to the bathroom to throw up while her grandma tut-tutted and her parents glared and her cousins sniggered. For the second year in a row, J had ruined Christmas. Last year on Christmas Eve her mother discovered her tattoo (which she'd already had for nearly a year- and it wasn't even the big one) and refused to talk to her the entire day.
B and K had a very jolly family Christmas, as to be expected in a family like theirs. This year they opted for seafood themed, which was an expensive choice considering the nearly thirty cousins, their partners (and parents) and, in some cases their children. B had an awkward moment when one of her aunts asked her where R was, since she'd bought him to Christmas the previous year. In a family like theirs, dates are only brought if they are marriage material. In fact, there is not a single divorce in B and K's entire extended family. The only people that remarry are those that lose their partners in death, and generally only when the partner died quite young. So it was a pretty big deal for her to bring R, and an even bigger deal that he wasn't there the following year. Of course K gleefully informed the family that R and B were so totally over and he'd left the country. At least there was a chocolate fondue fountain this year.