MSC Christmas Survival Guide

While very exciting, Christmas can also be a stressful time of year. You’ll have to spend a lot of time with your family. You’ll have to spend a lot of time hoovering up pine needles. There will be egg nog.

It’s also a time when arguments are rife. Nothing says Christmas quite like shouting at someone you’re vaguely related to so loud, and for so long, that you pass out. So, as a Christmas gift to you all, Maple Street are going to attempt to settle some of the most common Christmas disagreements, once and for all.

This, is the definite guide to a merry Christmas.

Someone gets you a gift you don’t like. Should you tell them?

Ah, a question as old as Christmas itself. Ever since Mary and Joseph exchanged awkward glances after one of the Wise Men turned up at the stable with some carefully wrapped Myrrh, none of us have ever been sure whether in fact, at Christmas, honesty is the best policy.

Nan has knitted you a jumper. With her gnarled hands. It has taken her the best part of six months. It is enormous. It is a dark, dark green, so dark it’s almost black, and it feels like it’s been made from wire. You’ve unwrapped it, held it up against the unforgiving Christmas morning light and then tried it on. It’s taken the top layer of skin off your arms. Nan is looking at you, her eyes watery, smiling nervously as she asks, ‘Do you like it?’

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Obviously, obviously, you tell her you love it, you absolute monster. You tell her you love it, you wear it all through Christmas dinner, wait for Nan to leave and then throw it into the bin so hard it explodes.

Christmas is not about you getting things you want; it’s about lying to the people you love. Take it from a boy who received a Blue album for three consecutive Christmases, despite never expressing any interest in the boyband Blue.


What is the best Christmas film to watch on Christmas Day, in order to keep the whole gang happy?

Muppets Christmas Carol. Next question.


But what about Die Hard? Is Die Hard a Christmas film?

There’s always one.

‘You know, we could watch Die Hard? It is, actually, a Christmas film. Shall we watch Die Hard?

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Let’s end this once and for all. No. Die Hard is not a Christmas film. Die Hard is a film in which Bruce Willis murders, off the top of my head, at least 10 people. Die Hard is a film in which people get shot to death by a bald man in a vest. Die Hard is a film in which we see Alan Rickman fall to his death from the top of a skyscraper. Die Hard is a film with terrorists in it. No film can be both a Christmas film, and a film that features terrorists.

 Die Hard is a film set at Christmas. That doesn’t give you, a 24 year old man (because it’s always them), the right to make your family watch it on Christmas Day. Eyes Wide Shut is also set at Christmas, but you’re not going to watch that with your cousins are you?


Are sprouts good?

Now, this is a tough one. Sprouts are, famously, quite a hard sell. They’re small cabbages, and there’s no getting around that. Market them however you like, every single person will see them and think ‘those are small, boiled cabbages’.

But, despite this, sprouts are, in fact, good. Nay, sprouts are great. Sprouts are one of the finest, and most versatile of vegetables. And by versatile, I mean you can chop them up or eat them whole and, if you’re a fancy Dad who has received a Nigella recipe book and an apron as Christmas gifts, you can fry them with chopped bacon.


Sprouts are an excellent, integral part of the Christmas dinner, and people who argue otherwise are either a) trying, and failing, to be funny, or b) people who struggle with wind. Don’t be either one of those people. Embrace sprouts


What do you do with all your wrapping paper?

Gone are the days of the big black bin liner on the living room floor. We’ve got a planet to save.

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Recycle your wrapping paper, otherwise global warming will continue apace, the ice caps will melt  and, eventually, Santa will drown.


What is the best Christmas song?

Very, very tough. Arguably the toughest of them all.

Let’s keep this brief. Is it Wham! with Last Christmas? No. That’s a great song, but it’s not the best.

Is it The Pogues ft. Kirsty Maccoll, Fairytale of New York? Ah, the hipster’s choice. Fantastic song, but no, it is not, because Ed Sheeran recently covered it, and it has therefore been, sadly, stripped of all that once made it good.

Is it Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You? Again, close, but no. There are too many notes in that song for anyone to belt it out properly.

Is it John Lennon ft. Yoko Ono, Merry Christmas (War is Over)? Another lovely song, but not the best. It’s Christmas, John, you don’t have to bring war into everything. Also, very generous credit for Yoko Ono there, in my opinion.

Is it Chris de Burgh with a Spaceman Came Travelling? Yes, it is. Drama, intrigue, kind of semi-hidden religion, and WHAT A CHORUS. There’s a Christmas song. That is the best Christmas song. Don’t argue.

Patrick, from Planning, of swan story fame. 

Is ‘The Nativity’ the ‘greatest story ever told’?

It’s a great story. But at the Christmas party last week, Patrick from planning told us a story that ends with a swan eating some pants and sinking in a canal, so no. The Nativity is a close second, but Patrick’s story is, in fact, the greatest ever told.

There, hopefully that will make the Yuletide minefield a little easier to navigate. Have a merry Christmas, one and all, and we’ll see you in the new year.


Merry Christmas!