While Christmas generally brings out the big kid in us all, plenty more split personalties raise their heads during the festive season. As this week hits peak party time, here’s your handy spotter’s guide to the types of people you will probably meet at one of them…
1. The peak-too-early merchant
She got all her shopping done by November and loves to boast about it. Christmas cake and pudding are already made. Organic meats are ordered. Now she’s busy hand-crafting twee trimmings like a demented Blue Peter presenter or Kirstie Allsopp clone.
How to spot one: Looks irritatingly relaxed, although, underneath, she’s tenser than Theresa May in a Brexit debate.
2. The party-pooping Grinch
The Grinch defines his/herself by their faux-superiority and vocal disapproval. They bah-humbug at any festivities, joining in reluctantly or not at all. Prefers to give and receive vouchers only. And forever loftily explaining how it’s all become “too commercialised”. Keep them away from kids or they’ll spill the beans about ol’ St Nick. Plus probably the tooth fairy and Easter bunny.
How to spot one: The only lunch guest not wearing a paper hat. Also dead behind the eyes.
3. The public transport pest
Commuters don’t talk to each other. Come Christmas, though, certain festive freaks commit the cardinal sin of striking up small talk. They’ll desperately try to catch your eye while laden with shopping bags or wearing post-party flashing antlers. They’ll breathe prosecco fumes in your face while yapping, “A time for family, isn’t it?”. They might even (quelle horror) start a singsong. Pull the emergency cord and save yourself.
How to spot one: Do your best not to or they’ll corner you for the entire journey.
4. The smug foodie
They’re a farmer’s market bore at the best of times, but Christmas gives the gastro snobs an excuse to be even more insufferable. These wannabe Nigellas spend weekends “sourcing” ingredients (like buying but posher) and endlessly bray on about bone-in prosciutto, small batch damson gin, quince jelly and five-bird roasts, like Henry VIII without the charm.
How to spot one: They’ve contracted gout from sheer self-satisfaction.
5. The Christmas-crazed kidult
Probably over-compensating for some long-buried Yuletide trauma, this overgrown toddler has tinsel around his computer monitor at work, a Christmas ringtone on his phone and changes his social media handle to a festive pun. Eye-rolling resistance to his puppyish enthusiasm at the office party results in a whine of: “Come on, where’s your Christmas spirit?” Console yourself by imagining the cruel comedown on December 27.
How to spot one: They’ll be wearing a Christmas jumper and manic expression of delight for the entire month.
6. The surly barman
Ok, so he’s sick of the Christmas compilation on the jukebox and serving tipsy once-a-year punters. But there’s no need to be a complete fun sponge, wordlessly serving you with a murderous scowl. Pop the change in his tip jar and see if he cracks a smile.
How to spot one: Black shirt, stony face, air of simmering resentment. Lips get even thinner if his boss has asked him to wear a Santa hat.
7. The charity guilt-tripper
We all feel more charitable at Christmas, but come on, there’s a limit. Sure, we’ll donate to the food bank. Ok, we’ll buy charity cards and gifts. But we draw the line at sponsoring your tedious spouse’s ‘Santa Run’ or entering your child’s school PTA raffle. And please stop casually mentioning how you’re volunteering at a homeless shelter on Christmas Day. We know you’re trying to make us feel evil and, frankly, it’s working.
How to spot one: Earnest furrow of brow, halo above head. Loud boasting about how they are not drinking because they are going to drive by a food bank with any leftovers.
8. The social media show-off
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” she’ll post on December 1 beneath an artfully filtered pic of her holding an artisanal bauble in a sparkly-nailed hand. That’s just the start of the onslaught. Expect try-hard photos of tastefully decorated trees, chic door wreaths, ice-skating, cutesy nativity plays and rosy-cheeked children outside grottos.
How to spot one: Phone surgically attached to hand. If she’s not snapping away, then she’s manically checking how many likes she got.
9. The enforced fun organiser
Someone always appoints themselves Minister Of Entertainment. They over-plan the office lunch so it involves fancy dress, karaoke, party games and other nightmarish activities. They insist on Secret Santa, as if you haven’t got enough shopping stresses. They sneakily try to make the last day of work another “bonding” social occasion when all you want to do is get home and collapse with your family. It’s enough to Scrooge-ify Santa himself.
How to spot one: Crying in the corner because nobody’s thanked them for all their hard work.
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