A new breed of grumpies bring tales of seasonal Tourette's, inappropriate present-buying and the eating of reindeer. Featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Huey Morgan, John Thomson and more.
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# Christmas time is here by golly Disapproval would be folly
# Deck the halls with hunks of holly
# Fill the cup and don't say when
# Kill the turkeys, ducks and chickens
# Mix the punch Drag out the Dickens
# Even though the prospect sickens
# Brother, here we go again! #
Would you Adam and bloody Eve it?
No, seriously. I mean, really, a joke's a joke.
And time speeds up and all that, but blimey, how can it be possible?
How on earth can it be possible that it's come around again?
And here I am sitting at the bloody head of the bloody table
with bloody people I don't bloody like,
eating food that turns my stomach,
listening to blinking Christmas carols,
reading out pathetic jokes,
wearing an utterly ridiculous paper hat
and, worst of all, having to pretend to be happy about it.
Well, when I was a practising alcoholic,
it was the best time of the year.
But when you don't drink, it's just another day.
I'm a humbug, I'm a Scrooge, I don't like it at all.
It's just sentimental claptrap.
I'm sorry, it's awful.
It's worse than a puppy
cos you can't put Christmas in a sack and drown it.
It just goes on and on and on.
I get so grumpy.
I'm in so much pain.
You don't hear anybody saying, "Oh, I wish it started earlier!
"I get so miserable round about the middle of August
"because it's been so long since it was Christmas."
My, God, it's just obscene, really.
It just drives me absolutely mad.
Sod off, Christmas.
Impossible though it must be to believe,
it really is that time of the year again.
Shall I tell you what the worst thing about Christmas is?
No, really, shall I?
Well, I will then.
The worst thing about Christmas is the expectation
of everyone around you that you are supposed to be jolly.
Jolly, what sort of word is jolly anyway?
Or maybe even worse than that...
Yes. Blokes like this one.
Just trying to ingratiate himself by wearing a daft hat once a year
and telling his customers to "Have a Merry Christmas!"
And then you've got to repeat it back like a demented parrot.
"Merry Christmas to you, too!"
Like you could give a damn.
What upsets me is I want to be jolly,
but I don't feel I can be,
because I'm being told I have to be jolly.
Then that just upsets all the jolliness.
It makes me grumpy when I want to be happy.
Cos it's bloody Christmas!
Let's try and whoop the whole general populace into a frenzy of joy(!)
It's Christmas. Cheer up, it's Christmas.
No, be really upset and gloomy cos it's bloody Christmas again.
The way that disc-jockeys have to be
from about the 26th of November onwards,
that they have to do all of that stuff.
"It's coming up to Christmas, absolutely fantastic,
"I've never been so excited.
"Just three-and-a-half weeks away. Are you doing all your shopping?
"It's tremendous out there.
"The lights are flashing on Oxford Street. Ha ha!
"It's gonna be Christmas!"
It's just so awful.
I have Tourette's during Christmas.
Really, I walk down the street and scream something out,
completely left-field and horrible.
I hate it. I hate it.
I can't say how much I hate it.
None of it would be so bad, if it didn't all go on so long.
It feels like we've only just got over Easter
when those little reminders start to appear.
But what's even more irritating -
the people that keep telling us that...
There are 143 days to go to Christmas.
Yes, that's right. We're even irritating our stupid selves.
It's like the gestation period of an elephant.
It comes and comes and comes.
Have you got this done, have you got your Christmas cards done?
Don't even get me started on Christmas cards.
It's Christmas creep, is the problem.
Christmas has crept.
In September, you start being bombarded and pressurised
and harassed and harangued
to buy loads of shit you really, really don't need.
Actually, it can stress you out to such a degree
that by the time it's Christmas Day you are just crying, depressed
and have the worst day in the world with your family.
That's why people have such a horrible Christmas Day.
Before you know where you are it's August
and it's, you know, there are 302 shopping days to Christmas.
It used to be just advent, didn't it?
Used to be an Advent calendar with a chocolate, December 1st.
That used to be when Christmas kind of got going.
And now, I think Christmas starts around about July.
Well, I was in Costco in August
and they had all the Christmas stuff there already.
It just made my stomach turn over.
Because Christmas, once you get past a certain age
it's just a reminder you're getting closer to death.
I mean, where do you start?
Where DO you start?
It doesn't matter.
You can start anywhere, because it's all beyond irritating.
Can anyone for example tell us the point of the Christmas card,
other than to give money to talentless art designers
and unemployable writers of sycophantic verses?
It's a piece of old cardboard with a picture of a robin on it
wishing people you see every day a merry Christmas.
You see 'em every day, tell 'em yourself.
Never sent a Christmas card. Never sent one.
No, I don't do Christmas cards.
I used to be really good, but then when I realised -
I mean, it's quite mercenary -
that I was sending far more than I was getting back,
it starts to grate,
and you think, "No, you're not... I won't bother with you anymore."
Probably for the last 30 years I've intended to send Christmas cards,
not quite got round to it,
got a load of Christmas cards from other people
and then felt bad about it.
It's so tedious.
And I think probably what I'll do now is I'll change that,
so that I still don't send them,
but I don't bother feeling bad about not sending them.
What I really hate and can't understand
is multiple cards between one family and another family.
So you get, you know, cards to you and your missus
and then cards from their kids to your kids.
I just think, nah, what's the point?
When I get cards I think, you sent me a card, straight in the bin.
The worst is when you get a card from an organisation, like your bank
that just says, "To customer..."
Or even not "To customer."
I got one from my mortgage broker
that just had the stamp of the company.
I'm going to invest in a stamp with my name. Boom!
Give us that one. Boom!
On the other hand, there is nothing quite so guaranteed
to lighten the load at Christmas for the grumpy
than to have a good old laugh at someone else's expense.
Oh, go on, it's Christmas!
Time for goodwill to all men, let's make fun of someone.
Preferably someone close to us
who's too nice to even suspect what it is we're doing.
One thing I used to do at Christmas
was send my parents cards from fictitious people,
which is a great game to play.
"From Stan and Edie."
They'd go, "I don't know who they are, who are they?"
I'd be like, trying to compose myself.
"I don't know. Did you meet them on holiday?"
Or the Christmas card that says
"From Kate and Steve and Barbara, Jeff, Pat and Marge."
And you think, "Who the hell are they?!"
I did have visions of creating a further...
Like sending a picture of a baby and going, "Look, we've had a baby."
It could go on and on and on.
If it's not bad enough that your own year has been awful,
it's all so much worse
when you learn that everyone else's has been wonderful.
So let's get one thing straight.
We don't want to know how wonderful life is
for your smug, over-privileged selves
or your precocious kids or your irritating pets.
You never seem to see any that say,
"Yeah, it's been a crap year really.
"Our eldest son is still in a borstal."
"Damian's been coming off heroin and his methadone's been going OK."
"Our youngest girl's off the crack cocaine,
"but she's not on the game any more, so that's good."
"And Barry is still on tag."
"Lawrence has left me
"for the third time.
"Yeah, he's got a new..." You never see those.
They're always about "Oh, we had a wonderful summer.
"Bill completed the fifth marathon, you know, at high altitude."
"Philippa did a walk across the Andes."
Get over it.
All the sickening things that these people have done, these families.
"Ben got straight As."
You're like, "Oh, right..."
They're giving the impression of the perfect family
and you know they've been screaming at each other
over Sunday lunch for most of the year.
So sending out cards is a total waste of time,
but at least it involves choosing a card, writing a message,
writing your address and going down to the post-box.
If all you can be bothered to do is to send the same text
to everyone in your contacts,
honestly, we'd really rather you didn't bother.
They've just thought, I'll text everyone cos everyone will think,
"Oh, isn't that lovely that we've heard from him on Christmas Day."
It's not lovely, it's vile.
Anyway, I won't get it until Boxing Day cos I've got my phone turned off.
You don't see them all year, then you start getting texts
and cards from people you don't really see
cos you don't want to see them. "Oh, I thought of you."
Well, stop thinking about me.
I have been sent a few of those email ones,
but they are quite easy to delete.
That's the nice thing, they leave no mess.
I would just like to send a message out to anyone that I know and love
or know and don't even like.
I wish you all a merry Christmas.
I won't be texting you back, if that's all right.
What especially gets up your snitch
is everyone seems to think Christmas is an opportunity to take advantage.
To do all the stuff they know they would never get away with the rest of the year.
Like knocking on your door, for example.
We don't like having people knock on the door at the best of times.
Usually we pretend be out or we tell them to take a hike.
-At Christmas it's one after another.
And have you noticed,
somehow or other, they've all got their hands out.
The next thing you know we'll have the postman asking for a tip.
Now they can bog off!
I can always tell when it's gonna be Christmas,
because the dustbin men start smiling at you. That's first.
"Hello, Mr Davro, it's nearly Christmas!"
Which really cheeses me off.
Why should we tip people who get paid to empty the bins
or to deliver the milk?
Or the little scumbag who delivers the paper?
Eh? Merry Christmas, I picked up that whole...out of your bin bag in June.
Remember that? Fiver, please.
Although I did actually have a paper round when I was a kid,
I did get a Christmas box and people were very generous,
but I don't care about that because I'm not.
Stop banging on my door. Go away.
So the collective madness that starts to descend in October
and runs well into January
includes eating quantities and varieties of food
we would never countenance for the rest of the year.
Suddenly, it's like we're expecting Napoleon to drop by for dinner
during the siege of Moscow.
And oh, horror of horrors!
We haven't got enough satsumas to feed his entire bloody army.
Now, food shopping for Christmas.
Nowadays, most shops, and I don't know whether you know this,
most shops are open most of the time.
I'm only saying that to be helpful.
The justification is that the shops will be shut for one day,
so, oh, we'd better get a box of kumquats
just in case Aunty Mabel,
who is 93 and never eaten anything more exotic than luncheon meat,
suddenly goes, "Have you got a kumquat, dear?"
Every Christmas, you go in and, you know, you just think,
"Well, it's only a day or two, I can get some more stuff in tomorrow
"so I'll just take a basket
"and I'll put enough food in there for a day and a bit."
And then you are standing behind a whole army of people,
a phalanx of people,
with enormous great trolleys full of stuff.
I don't know how to shop for food at Christmas,
because it doesn't matter what time of day or night you go,
there's no sprouts, or no this or no that.
You cannot do your whole shop at once.
It's 2pm on a Saturday afternoon and Sainsbury's has sold out of sprouts.
How can that happen?
It's Christmas. Did you not think to get more sprouts in?
There's just one manky sprout with a maggot inside it
and people are killing each other for it.
"That's my sprout, you whore!"
What is it about the season to be jolly
that turns an average, normally balanced individual
into a crazed shopaholic?
And considering it's supposed to be a time for goodwill to all men,
you'd think that people might make an effort.
A bit of elementary courtesy.
"After you" and all that stuff.
But, no. It's like, "I matter, you don't, get out of my way."
I hate the fact that when you go shopping at Christmas
there's all these people who don't normally go shopping
so don't know how to move around a supermarket.
It's the kind of shopping equivalent of Sunday drivers.
Why is your trolley in the middle of the aisle
while you're standing there examining a bit of blue cheese?
Move it over, so all these 30 people
who are also trying to use the supermarket can get down the aisle.
I start to hate myself,
cos I hear myself sound like a harridan
in the middle of some supermarket
and it's four days to Christmas and I just want to slap some old lady.
What was that? Who threw it?
The thing is I lose my nut around Christmas time
and if you're ever going to see Huey knock somebody out in a shop,
it's going to be around Christmas time.
Oh, there's another one.
When you get to the till and you've got everything up
and it's all going through and getting packed up,
get your purse out so you know where it is,
so I don't have to wait 25 minutes for you to root around in your bag,
because you can't find your purse.
And I know...
I know that they know this.
You get home and think, "I've forgotten the cranberry sauce."
OK, so we hate the cards, we hate the decorations,
we hate the shopping, we hate the false jollity
and we hate the family.
But what's the common theme that binds all that together?
What's going on in the background of all that hatred? Can anyone tell us?
Yes, that's right.
# It's Christma-a-a-a-a-a-a-as! #
As we go in shops in the beginning of November,
and hearing "Merry Christmas, everyone!"
again, every year,
bang out of order.
When they start to play Christmas songs too early,
the people that work in the shops kind of go a bit bovine
cos they've had to listen to it all day.
You go into the shop and you hear...
# It's Christma-a-a-a-a-a-a-as! #
They've had to listen to it all day till the end of their shift,
they've got nothing but that to look forward to.
They just go a bit mad.
If any managers are watching this
who make their staff listen to that music,
please for their sake and for all our sakes,
don't play that music at Christmas, it doesn't help anything.
# Christmastime... #
But the worst, the absolute worst,
the one thing guaranteed to make us want to kill has got to be this man.
You'd rather immerse your head
in a bucket of festive reindeer snot than listen to it.
But you have to.
Somebody beam me up.
You're already fairly murderous, aren't you?
You are in the supermarket, you want to kill people,
you don't need to hear Cliff Richard.
In fact you never need to hear Cliff Richard. Let's face it.
Oh my God, no.
You certainly don't need to hear it
when you're at the point of murdering someone in the supermarket
cos it is just going to push you over the edge.
# With logs on the fire
# And gifts on the tree.. #
Give it a rest.
I know it's an easy target.
People talk about him as being an easy target.
It's an easy target because it is a target,
because it's rotten and it should not be allowed.
Surely there are some artists out there
who can think up some original Christmas songs. Please.
How many hours of my life is there that I'm never getting back
I've had to listen to Cliff Richard singing Mistletoe And Wine?
I should be able to sue somebody.
There should be somebody somewhere that I can deliver a writ to,
to get either money or the time back.
You know, I'm on dangerous ground here,
because I did have a big Christmas song out once.
It wasn't a Christmas song,
but Bob the Builder was the Christmas number one
in the year 2000.
It was a bit of a disco hit as it goes.
I had a Christmas number one, but the only thing was I was in hospital.
When I did that thing with my daughter, Kelly,
I nearly killed myself in a quad bike accident at the house.
I was in a coma for a while, so I missed Christmas.
Thank God! That's a good idea.
One of these Christmases I'll get on my quad bike and break my neck again.
Have a great Christmas everybody!
Isn't it lovely?
No, really, isn't it heart-warming to see?
It's the birth of our Lord and it brings out the best in us.
Goodwill to all men, peace on earth, a spiritual reawakening.
# Oh, baby... #
So, the only thing to be said for Christmas for most of us
is that it's a few days off.
True, you have to be with the family,
but at least you don't have to go to work, so as it's Christmas,
spare a thought for the poor sods who do have to work.
Can you imagine what it must be like to have to entertain this lot?
It's tired, drunk audiences around Christmas and food fights.
I mean, you know, it's not pretty.
And you turn up and you're the only one who's sober,
so you have to watch it and take it in and they never listen.
Christmas is a joyful time of drunken abandon for most people.
What it means for comedians is dodging Bacardi Breezer bottles.
"Let's see if I can hit this one in the face."
Chicken in a basket, listen to the beginning of a joke,
don't listen to the end of it, can be like that at some comedy clubs.
People get drunker and more jovial.
Dealing with people, A - being extremely drunk...
They're eating, they're trying to get off with someone...
And they're having to put up with you trying to tell them jokes.
So, quite a lot of the time, they're saying,
"Do you mind, we're trying to eat here!"
It's pretty rubbish being a stand-up comic around Christmas
from that point of view.
The money is good but it ought to be, because the gigs are crap.
And then the occasional splatter of vomit on a hard surface.
But the thing that makes us sick isn't the excessive alcohol intake.
Oh, no. What really makes us reach for the sick bucket is the fact
that Christmas seems to be the time of year
when every halfwit celebrity thinks it's funny
to make a twit of himself.
None of our grumpiest would ever do that, would they?
I'm playing Buttons.
I've got my bellboy outfit on and everything,
which is luminous blue with silver braid
and it's also made of this nylon material.
I've seen it already, my costume.
I'm going to be secretly seething inside.
If you get a bad audience,
it's one of the worst jobs you can ever do in your entire life.
I'll be like that onstage, but behind going,
"Listen to those snotty little kids throwing peanuts at me!"
When the audience are good, you're on fire,
but when they're not good, you cannot do your dialogue fast enough.
Because what they do, some audiences are really, really thick.
Oh, no, we're not!
CHILDREN: Oh, yes, you are!
Because you're the baddie, it doesn't matter what you say,
you've got these great gags, and lines,
you and Smee messing about and all that,
all they do is "Booooo! Sssss! Get off! Boo!" Constant.
It's all you can hear. A mass of hatred.
Of all the many great mysteries surrounding Christmas,
this one has got to take the proverbial HobNob.
It's Jesus's birthday,
so we're going to go into the high street or into a forest,
murder an innocent spruce that is far too big for our house,
jam it in the car, so the needles drop,
take it home, stick it up in our living room
and cover it with tasteless rubbish.
What the hell could possibly be the point of that?
Did Jesus ever even see a spruce?
Did he ever even contemplate a bauble or a fairy for the top?
We think not.
What's the point of a tree?
What's the point of bringing a tree into your house?
You never bring a tree into your house under normal circumstances.
Why would you do that?
The tree, the tree! Oh, the tree.
Never do Christmas trees.
I got married, my wife wants me to do the Christmas tree thing.
My wife is a lovely lady, I love her more than anything,
so I do the Christmas tree thing. Not happy about it.
It's a pain in the arse.
Because usually I will have been quite late in getting the tree,
so it will be quite a mutant specimen of a tree,
so thereby you can't win.
You either get it too early
and it's dead before you put the decorations on.
So it's like, sort of, putting...
It's like doing full royal icing treatment on a digestive biscuit.
I don't like putting crap on the tree,
I don't like doing anything any of that stuff. Don't like it at all.
You think, does this room really look better now than it did before?
It's not too bad!
There's still plenty of life there.
There is some sadistic bastard who designs Christmas tree lights.
That like, if one blows, you don't... Do you know what I mean?
You don't know how to mend it.
Is it one of those things where you just have to try every bulb
when it's on the tree?
We used to light them on fire,
bring them through the roofs of the buildings we used to live in,
light them on fire and throw them in the street.
That's what they're good for.
Ever seen one of those land on a taxi cab?
That's fun, that's Christmas.
By the way, not that it really matters,
but does anyone remember the actual story?
Anyone know what actually happened? Something about a big star?
Something about a census I seem to recall.
No room at the inn,
shepherds washing their socks by night, was it?
And who on earth was Good King Wenceslas anyway?
It's a bit unfortunate really with the traditional Christmas
and those three presents, isn't it?
Gold, frankincense and myrrh.
I mean, it would have been better if the three wise men
had come with gold,
barley wine, soap on a rope, or something like that.
If someone brings you frankincense, and myrrh,
that is the stuff you are supposed to give people when they die.
You know. So what are you showing the kid,
"I don't know if he's going to make it."
I think - it's only my view -
that the Three Wise Men were caught on the hop,
which is fair enough, it was the first Christmas.
They hadn't been planning, they hadn't been shopping,
they hadn't been told 120 shopping days until the birth of Christ.
If you were Jesus right now,
you'd be thinking, "Oh! What a waste!
"Why did I bother?"
So, with all this unavoidable and unutterable
festive crapulence back at home,
you could easily be forgiven for wanting to get away from it all.
Somewhere hot and sunny,
somewhere where you can leave the lunacy behind. Somewhere sane.
But no, forget it, there's no escape.
Wherever you go, Christmas blooming cheer wants to try and come with you.
Should we go away for Christmas this year?
Great romantic idea about travelling abroad
and sitting in the sun for Christmas.
In Mexico no less I went once with a girlfriend.
I couldn't be anywhere hot for Christmas.
Just the idea appals me.
I mean, it doesn't feel like Christmas anyway.
Where you end up is in some hotel with lots of ex-pat Brits
all with honkers and bloody hats with tassels on them,
going, "Merry Christmas."
Merry Christmas! Yay!
You might as well be in Oxford Street.
It was revolting, I hated it.
People go, "Oh, it's lovely, bit of winter sun, fantastic!"
Merry Christmas! Tis the season to be jolly.
Just think, too weird. It's weird, it's wrong.
I don't know, why do we want to be warm at Christmas?
It's supposed to be cold, isn't it?
People send you pictures of themselves having turkey
on the beach in Bondi Beach or something like that.
You know, that looks crap.
One year, Sharon said, "You know what we can do,
"We can get Concorde and go to Lapland."
I said "See you later."
You know, we spent Christmas Day
riding across the Sahara on camels,
which sounds lovely,
but who knew that the Sahara Desert is freezing cold in December.
And it was raining.
I was sat on a wet stinking camel.
I don't know if you've ever ridden on a camel before,
but they make this noise like a giant coffee percolator
and they foam at the mouth and my one kept turning around,
going "Bl-bl-bl-bllaaa! Bl-bl-bl-bllaaa!"
Like it was going to eat me.
# Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer... #
Or, of course, you could always choose to embrace the real spirit of the festive season
by going to the traditional home of Christmas, wherever that is.
Somewhere north, isn't it?
About six years ago, my sister and I went to Sweden for a holiday
and in one of the restaurants, reindeer was on the menu.
And we both looked at each other and thought
"That's not quite right, eating reindeer."
Then we thought how much do we hate Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as a song?
So we took great delight in ordering and eating it, covered in sauce.
Imagining it was Rudolph and it was our revenge on that song.
In certain Middle European countries,
I believe they offer Noddy Holder on the menu.
One of the unvarnished joys of Christmas
is that it's a time to be with the family,
but which family?
His? Hers? The ex's?
Whichever one you choose, you're guaranteed to upset somebody
and isn't it fun to spend all that time on the motorway
with overtired and over-excited kids on the back seat?
What do we think?
Should we set off early to avoid the last-minute rush? Ha!
When I was a lad, we'd go up to Birmingham
where my mum's side of the family lived.
But I seem to remember it always started off,
first of all with this journey that seemed to take so long,
stuck in so much traffic with so many people on December 23rd.
And then at the end of the journey,
there being a period of about an hour and a half
where we just stood around
while my dad and various men from the family discussed the route
that he'd taken to get through Birmingham off the motorway.
The worst thing about Christmas is the hectic dash
from one eggy gift-giving event to another.
And you hurry from one arena of disappointment to a fresh one.
That's the kind of pressure that's horrible about Christmas.
One person wanting you and another person wanting you.
Do you know what, neither of you are having me,
I'm going to sit on the loo with a cooked turkey breast from Tesco
and drink three bottles of claret and a bottle of Scotch
with a portable television and you can all bugger off.
I have this memory of hours going by.
"What you did is you should have taken the A234 off of Stechford
"and that way you cut out the bottleneck at Digbeth
"and you go round the back of Erdington..."
I have had Christmases where I have had to have
more than one Christmas dinner on Christmas Day
for fear of offending people.
It's just been easier that way to eat two full Christmas dinners.
I can't do these people that drive,
do three different drives to keep everyone happy.
Once you pop a sprog out you can do anything.
"I'm sorry, I've got kids. We just can't travel, I've got a baby
"and no-one in the history of Earth has ever had a baby before.
"If I leave the house,
"we will all achieve gaseous form and die instantly".
"Everyone has to come to us now, because I'm lactating".
My dad going, "You see, the mistake I made was that at Sutton Coldfield I went..."
"Oh, right, well, that's what you did. In future, go..."
And this was Christmas to me.
I'm sure I've remembered it wrong,
but I seem to remember that going through most of Christmas
and then we left.
As for Christmas morning, it's brilliant. The roads are empty.
There's just a few malicious police going,
"Everyone's over the limit. Who shall we pick, PC Gary?"
"I don't know, PC Ga..." This is Southend Police.
"I don't know, they're probably all drunk. Isn't that right, PC Dave?"
So, one of the many things that grumpies like us don't do very well is buying presents for other people.
We're just not very good at it.
We can't work out why we have to give people presents
on Jesus's birthday anyway.
There's so much rubbish on sale that we can't work out what to buy anybody.
So we leave it and we leave it and then before you know where you are,
it's the last minute and you're in a panic.
And I will be stopping at every service station, panicking,
breaking out in a sweat like a Geordie in a spelling test.
And you try and find the biggest megastore,
where they sell everything under the one roof, as possible.
I go shopping on Christmas Eve, something like half-past three
I'll probably get into the shops on Christmas Eve.
And run out of ideas very, very quickly.
I tend to buy my father a book that I know he's already got,
so that I can have it.
Why would you go shopping on Christmas Eve?
It's just a total waste of money and time.
I suppose it's the price you pay, isn't it?
For Christmas, "the giving season".
I know somebody that goes, "Oh, it's such a wonderful atmosphere, the carol singers... "
And you think, "What? You are mental!"
Crowds and crowds of like-minded, irritable, dead-eyed souls.
Buying presents for anyone is tricky enough,
but getting the right thing for your loved one?
Well, you've got more chance of parting a banker and his bonus.
Good luck with that.
You get the usual thing, don't you, when it comes to presents.
It's like, "Don't get me anything this year."
Would you risk that one?
In our family we've kind of got it down now to, it's got to be thoughtful.
I'm rubbish at being thoughtful.
Really rubbish at being thoughtful.
"Well, I thought I'd get you a golf-club polisher".
Especially presents for wife is very difficult, you know.
I think most men feel like this.
There's only one golden rule -
for God's sake, don't go anywhere near the kitchenware department.
If you're a last-minute shopper, and I think a lot of men are,
you get to this point on Christmas Eve with about two hours to spare
and you think, "Right, I've got to do it now."
And every shop you look into becomes a possible present for a minute,
you're looking at things - "I'll get her some perfume.
No, that's too obvious".
"I'll get her some underwear. Mm, no, wrong message.
"Well, right message, but the wrong time of year".
"Er, I'll get her a dress.
"What sort of dress shall I get her? "What dress? I don't know what dress.
"The one on the assistant looks really good".
"Erm, maybe I'll get her some meat.
"No, I'll get fish. That'll be really good,"
"It's going to be extinct soon. It'll be a collector's item".
"No, I can't, that's ridiculous. What will I get her?
"I'll put a bet on a horse. Yes, I'll put a bet on a horse".
"It'll be different, original..." Rubbish.
Last year, and this is true, there was about half an hour left.
I was in Wimbledon, I was doing a pantomime in Wimbledon.
And a van went past me for the London Door Company,
and I briefly thought, "I could get her a door!"
# The holly and the ivy... #
OK, it's almost Christmas.
So we need to go to a place of spiritual awakening.
A place where we can imbibe the spirit of peace and love
and goodwill to all men.
A place where we can lift up our hearts and sing.
The local church for the midnight carol service maybe.
Where else could we possibly express the true spirit of Christmas
in the 21st century?
# Jingle bells, jingle, jangle
# Jingle all the way
# Oh, what fun it is to ride In a one-horse open sleigh, hey!
# Jingle bells, jingle bells
# Jingle all the way
# Oh, what fun it is to ride In a one-horse open sleigh. #
When I was younger, you used to go home and see all your friends,
you'd go out and go to a pub.
There was always a pub on the market square.
You'd all meet up, 20, 30 of you.
You'd get pissed, you'd come home, you'd puke in the hallway.
You'd get up the next day totally hung-over,
and ruin Christmas for everybody.
So says mother.
Christmas Eve is a time when all of the sort of difficulties of Christmas crystallise, if you like,
in that the enforced jollity and the stress all combine
to make it probably the most violent evening of the year, I would think.
And now I stay at home, get totally drunk,
puke up in the hallway, wake up the next day totally hung-over,
ruin Christmas for everyone.
There must be more pub fights on Christmas Eve than at any other time.
The stress of having to enjoy yourself
induces this kind of terrible drinking behaviour,
so I don't think I've had a hangover-free Christmas ever.
That's a bit sad.
Or is that quite cool?
No, it's a bit sad.
Happy Christmas, Lance.
And Happy New Year to you!
So, you've had a skinful the night before...
..Crawled in at 3am, so you look and feel like a rat's bum
when you wake up the next morning.
Then it dawns on you.
You're supposed to be full of Christmas cheer
and all you're full of is dyspepsia.
And guess what else is happening to complete your joy?
Yes, that's right.
The in-laws are coming over.
Oh, joy(!) Oh, bliss(!)
Oh, my God!
Yes, we're all grumpy.
Grumpy men and grumpy women, grumpy boys and grumpy girls.
Miserable in tooth and claw.
But even we, hard-hearted and dyed in the wool cynics that we are,
can't help but get a little dewy-eyed on Christmas morning.
What could be more magical
than the giving and receiving of presents?
The big difference between posh people and common people
is that common people open their presents first thing in the morning
and posh people open theirs later on.
You might want to remember that.
But even this simple stuff is fraught with 1,000 complications.
Did they spend more on you than you did on them?
Did you accidentally give them back the same hot water bottle cosy
they gave you last Christmas?
And hardest of all, when you receive something you don't want
and have given away something you do want,
you are supposed to look happy.
How's that supposed to work, then?
Let me set the scene for you.
Knocking at the door, entering with your hands laden
with this pile of presents,
like a scene out of Meet Me In St Louis.
In you go with your presents for all your brothers and sisters
and families and friends and all their little ones...
Cut to leaving the place with one small paperback
that you've already read.
The really rubbish thing about Christmas is you have to enjoy the gift of giving.
You actually have to do that, that's one of those things,
when you're told younger that the joy is in the giving and you think, "Oh, piss off!"
No, the joy's the frenzied unwrapping,
like a sort of crazed Velociraptor,
tearing its prey apart like that.
When the Christmas spirit normally hits me,
is normally that 30-second period on Christmas morning
when I grab a present from under the tree and rip off enough paper
to realise that somebody's bought me the same old tat again.
Actually, what I've done is sometimes,
and it's a bit inexcusable this,
I've looked at it and thought,
"What a pile of cack you've sent me here!"
"Who don't I like very much I've got to send a present to?
"I'll send it to them". I redo it and send it back.
It's going to be something that someone gave them
that they didn't want that they gave you cos it's last-minute stuff.
If you have people over at your house,
they feel they've got to bring something.
If you come to my house, don't bring anything.
Just come. Bring liquor. Bring Scotch.
As my nan lost her mind more and more,
she would just wrap up found objects, weird objects.
You know, she'd just wrap... My brother got a stone one year.
It was just clearly a stone that she'd found.
She'd be like, "Something you're going to like".
It's just a stone in wrapping paper you have to...
My dad, you're getting the eye.
You have to go, "Brilliant! Just what I wanted, a stone!"
My mum, God bless her, she will buy presents,
but she'll buy them on spec in the middle of the year.
She'll go somewhere, to something like...
the Wensleydale Cheese Sculpture Centre, or something like that.
And she will get carried away in the moment.
It's not about the getting. It's about the giving.
I realise that, but...
So, when was the last time you received a present you really wanted?
You know, like a motorbike or a drum kit?
As it is, if you can manage to look grateful for an electric tin-opener,
you deserve an Academy Award.
"Oh, how lovely, Marjorie, just what I always wanted.
"Did you keep the receipt?"
Oh, you are a one! Honestly!
We asked our grumpiest to show us how to do it.
Oh, that's so sweet.
You shouldn't have. Really, you shouldn't have.
What lovely, appropriate paper.
A lot of tape on this!
Now, what an original piece!
Really nice. Is this glass?
That's lovely. Now, I can... I'd put that in... In a bedroom.
Oh, God, that is... That's lovely.
Oh, it's so sweet. Thank you so much.
It's really thoughtful of you.
Oh, that's so cute! Oh, I love it!
Nice. Did you...
Did you like the diamond necklace I bought you?
Here you go, Granddad.
For common people, then, it's time for lunch.
Oh, what a treat.
Enough turkey to give you constipation for a month
washed down with sweet, fizzy wine,
because Grandma doesn't like that dry muck you usually serve.
There's always the consistently disappointing crackers to pull,
the dry leathery turkey to eat, the fart-inducing sprouts to avoid
and the slightly too-drunk in-laws to placate.
Great(!) So the wait's been worth it(!)
Christmas dinner. Well, I haven't always cooked Christmas dinner,
because I've often gone off to family and in-laws and things.
But now I've got kids of my own, I have done it a couple of times,
because I want to start my own traditions that they can take
and memories of their mother
screaming and crawling on the kitchen floor,
going, "What happened to those?!
"They were like parsnips when I put them in and now...
"What is that? What is that?"
My mum left the giblets in a plastic bag in the turkey
and the plastic melted in the turkey on to the spuds,
so everything tasted of plastic.
It was just so miserable, because my dad just couldn't...
Doesn't have the ability to laugh it off.
"The whole Christmas ruined!"
One year they had Christmas dinner at midnight in my house,
because it takes me so long to make Christmas dinner,
cos I get really into it
and like, start peeling cranberries with my bloody...you know.
And doing all sorts...
I'd have to make it all from scratch and it drives my family nuts.
And they in turn are then horrible to me because they're hungry.
I can't bear it when Christmas dinner turns up and some of it's cold.
You don't feel you've got the right to moan,
cos someone's been trapped in the kitchen the whole day.
"Excuse me, my mashed parsnips are at room temperature.
It's the most important meal of the entire year,
so what do we choose out of everything that you could have?
What do we choose?
Turkey with cranberry jelly, which is basically like chicken with jam.
It's like posh chicken with jam, isn't it?
And let's serve it up with Brussels sprouts,
which are the grapes of the devil.
So, let us pause just for a moment to consider the gentle turkey
and what Christmas means to it.
Now, two weeks before Christmas,
the turkey population of Britain is probably about 10 million.
A week later, probably about a hundred.
Basically, it's turkey genocide.
But these days, just being a common or garden turkey isn't enough, oh, no.
We need to know the provenance of our Christmas lunch.
You've got to have a turkey
that has been spoon-fed hummingbird nectar from a pipette
and massaged on the slopes of Mount Fuji,
before being given its own choice of humane killing
at the hands of a vegan conscientious objector or something.
I invested in an organic, free-range, privately-educated...
turkey from a high family.
It was knighted, actually, I think, at one point.
You get all these people saying, "I'd only get an organic turkey
"that's been allowed to go on holiday twice in its lifetime,
"all-inclusive, of course."
And I still managed to make it taste like a processed chicken roll.
And my mum, I remember, she used to buy this enormous turkey.
It was like the size of a small toddler.
And try and shove it in the oven
and we'd be there at 11 o'clock at night still waiting for this turkey.
It goes beyond just, we only eat it once a year.
We purposely buy something we've got no idea how to cook,
and then celebrate it.
Who looks inadequate now?
My dad, with his Neanderthal,
has to comment on the actual meat he's eating.
That's all the conversation can be about. "That's a solid crown, boy."
The only thing people like on Christmas dinner,
them little sausages, pigs in blankets.
That's what everyone likes.
Just give them a plate full of those and some mash.
Mash and gravy with them in the middle.
That's it! Everybody's happy!
"Solid meat. Never forget the value of what you're eating."
That's all he talks about.
Yes, Christmas is a time for expensive and useless rubbish.
Greetings cards for people you see every week, presents you don't want,
food that turns your stomach,
decorations that are a fire hazard,
but what is the biggest waste of money of all at Christmas time?
The biggest of all?
It's a hard competition to win.
REPORTER: The girls work harder, the more their work is pulled to pieces.
They're making Christmas crackers, with trinkets
of a type which give kiddies an excuse to fight when they drop out.
And now to insert the treasures which will rattle
when tiny hands shake 'em with a "Guess what's inside?"
There's a huge opportunity for firms to deeply rip people off
on Christmas Day
and it's almost Dickensian.
Cos you can imagine them going,
"Mm, watch what... Now we can put anything in the cracker.
"It won't matter. We'll wrap it up and make it look pretty!"
"And they'll have bought it, they don't know what's in it!"
"They've already bought it,
"they've already put it on their table, it doesn't matter!"
They've got a thing that goes "crack" that works occasionally.
You've got a toy that even the most easily pleased child,
who's not going to get much for Christmas,
will think, "Well, that's crap!"
You get a joke that's not funny
and you get a hat that makes you look like a moron.
That's what you get in a cracker.
Great(!) Let's all buy three dozen for Christmas Day!
Let's boycott the cracker industry and put them out of business.
-"Who invented fireworks?"
"Some bright spark(!)"
If they were really fun
and represented all the jollity of our times,
in March and August and other times of the year,
people would go, "It'd be great to have some Christmas crackers,
"because they just make the party go off."
And the worst thing is, if you have to pull a cracker
with someone that you don't know, it's a bit awkward,
because there's a bit of - what's the cracker etiquette?
If I pull too hard, they'll think I'm a bit of a cow.
If I'm a bit flimsy with it, they'll walk all over me, you know.
So it's a bizarre sort of etiquette.
Oh, nice! Lovely!
"What did one pig say to the other pig?"
"Let's be pen pals."
"What do you get if you cross a skeleton and a detective?"
"When is a boat like a pile of snow?"
"When it's adrift."
Oh! This is brilliant!
"Where do sick gnomes go?
"To the Elf Centre."
"Why are brides unlucky?
"Well, they never marry the best man."
"What do you call a row of men waiting for a haircut?
What a pile of cack!
I'd be very happy if one of those stupid jokes
actually got my mouth
just to turn up a little bit at the corners.
In 41 years I haven't found one yet.
I've based a lot of my material on cracker jokes, actually.
So, once we've forced down more food in one sitting
than we'd normally have in a week, what do we have for dessert?
A light sorbet, perhaps?
A palate cleansing fruit salad?
Oh, no, this is Christmas, and it's the law.
And what is that?
It looks like doggie doo-doos.
Tastes like doggie doo-doos.
Even takes longer to prepare than doggie's doo-doos.
Nobody eats Christmas pudding.
You buy it, steam it for 73 days, literally, it comes out,
it's like you could kill somebody with a Christmas pudding.
If you hit someone on the head with a Christmas pudding,
they would certainly have some sort of haemorrhage in their brain.
I don't think anybody likes them.
Does anybody like Christmas pudding?
Really? Come on!
How come you get to a point where, under normal circumstances,
you would say, "No thanks, no.
"I won't have any pudding, thank you very much."
And everybody would accept that.
They'd say, they're not having any pudding.
They go, "No, just a little bit of Christmas pudding."
You go, "No, really full."
"I spent ages making this Christmas pudding."
No-one likes it.
It's like this much cake,
and all this kind of jellied, dried out fruit stuff
and most of it's apricot,
and some people, they stick liquorice stuff in there -
it's the nastiest crap ever.
"Yes, but I made this specially.
"I took ages making this Christmas pudding."
"Can't believe you're not eating this..."
"I'll just have a little bit, then."
MUSIC: Bond Theme
Lunch over and it's time to sit down in front of the telly
where they operate a little-known law,
that no film less than 15 years old and on its 18th repeat
is allowed to be shown.
Did you know that? Oh, yes! It's the law, all right.
Oh, I do loathe a James Bond film at bloody Christmas, don't you?
I mean, James Bond is surely a brand
that wants, kind of, putting out of its misery, isn't it?
If I have one more Christmas
where somebody says they want to watch It's A Wonderful Life,
I will emigrate.
I hate that film.
There's some good telly on at Christmas.
Except for that Queen's Speech. They got that on again.
The news bulletin at six on Christmas Day is always well worth watching.
Good afternoon. The Queen has spoken...
They report the Queen's Speech like it's news.
I dunno why they bovver. I mean, it's not very funny, is it?
It's a prime slot, that.
If she, you know, got a song in there or something,
she could have had the Christmas number one.
Then she could have been celebrating keeping Simon Cowell out of the way.
It'd be a result all round.
All I would say is, if we're going to have the Queen's Speech
then just put a bit of oomph into it.
But rhe sad thing, really, about Christmas now is
that a lot of youngsters seriously don't know the meaning of Christmas
and they genuinely don't know
that it's the time when we celebrate the birth and the life and the work
of Morecambe and Wise.
# Bring me sunshine. In your smile... #
Yes, it's a time for ritual, for customs, for ceremony
and for falling out with your loved ones.
It's the end of the year and frankly, you've had them up to here.
Add a hangover, a bellyful of constipation,
a glass of cheap plonk and the Queen's Christmas message,
and you have a recipe for the St Valentine's Day Massacre.
# Through... #
MUSIC: Sex And The City Theme
It only takes a little bit to get you right back to when you were a kid.
You know when you were a kid and you really hated that auntie,
or your brother was a tosser or your mother just had it in for you.
So I'm doing a lot of this. I'm like...
I feel like Robert De Niro. I'm like...
"Talking to me? Talking to me? I know you're not talking to me."
It's such a vulnerable time when you all get together
and that's when you revert to type,
you revert to those horrible old Christmases
when you were a teenager and your hormones were running wild
and you never asked to be born!
And everybody does that,
probably about an hour-and-a-half after they've eaten.
We're still doing the family Christmas with my dad,
because my dad always says, he starts miserable,
he starts the day by being Kryptonite in the corner.
"Shouldn't have bought it, wasted your money,"
opening presents, a glimpse of scrotum through the dressing gown.
Then you've got certain family members
who can't handle their liquor
and they get like that and you've got to bite your tongue.
Then he drinks four Stellas and becomes irritatingly jovial,
swears until he offends my mum at dinner,
then goes back into depression at the end of the night,
"My life, it's a piece of shit, innit, boy?"
It's tough because, like, I'm newly married,
so I don't want to knock out my uncle.
If you're having more arguments than on a normal Sunday or something like that
it's probably because you've succumbed to the pressure,
you're thinking, "Why aren't we having more fun?"
"Look! The fun monitor's dipped below 100.
"And according to New Labour's guidelines,
"we should be having 120 degrees of fun by 3:15.
"It's all gone wrong!"
That's the key to getting through Christmas,
is drinking just the right amount of alcohol that you don't turn violent,
but enough that blocks out reality.
Pretty much a tip for life as well.
I mean, there is a great relief
if you've got a family Christmas over with
and no one's, kind of, punched each other, really.
You think, "That was one of the better ones, wasn't it?"
If the Queen's speech is over,
then it's probably a good 45 minutes since you finished lunch,
so time for a little snack, I think.
Fancy some cold cuts, Auntie Gloria?
I love all the food.
But then I get the guilt thing over it.
It's just, it's over done.
It's like, the amount of food that gets thrown away,
Christmas Day, is a joke.
With Christmas over for another year,
we can all look forward to Boxing Day.
A time for realising you've seen that box-set of DVDs you got yesterday
and that someone's given you the paperback of the John Grisham you read nine months ago.
But it's all OK,
because you've got that greatest treat of all to look forward to -
Boxing Day for me means one thing - meat sweats,
the sweat of eating too much meat, that pallid...
The sweat that forms on your brow when you've eaten too much meat
and your body's going, "Ooh! I don't know what to do about this."
Things start getting curried, don't they?
The British urge to curry everything that's left over.
"Don't sit there too long, Nan, or I'll curry you."
Cold meat sweat.
That feeling behind your eyes that you've eaten too much meat,
that vegetarians will never understand.
My dad just curried everything.
I reckon if there's ever an apocalypse
and we're all just half-burnt bodies
and the world's been flattened into an ashy dust,
there'll be British people going round currying everything left.
And I do make turkey soup and I do make turkey curry,
I do have turkey sandwiches that evening.
We do have turkey sandwiches on Boxing Day.
Turkey, turkey, turkey.
You don't go back to work or anything.
You just watch loads of telly and eat the leftovers.
Or as Spanish people call it, tapas.
Do you know what?
I always go into the new year feeling a bit depressed.
I don't know why, I just always have.
It's that sort of horrible black hole after Christmas, isn't it?
I feel relieved that Christmas is over, to be honest.
It's been building up and building up.
It's always, always a disappointment.
It doesn't live up to much.
I'm sure that's why some people are on drugs.
Boxing Day is the day to buy sofas.
But didn't it come from... Isn't that supposed to be the present day,
when you box something up and give something to somebody?
Or is it the day you knock the person out
that you've been wanting to knock out all year?
Because I'd like it to be the latter.
And you just need to rest before the nightmare of new year comes.
So it's the best part of it, I think, that little bit in midweek,
when you don't see anybody, you don't speak to anybody
and you keep yourself to yourself and grumpiness reigns.
I like it.
# Oh, Santa
# I've been waiting on you... #
That's funny, kid. Because...
I've been coming for you.
# Oh, Santa
# I've been killing just for fun.
OZZY: I think Christmas is the biggest load of bollocks ever.
Meet the new breed of grumpies: a bit younger but no less embittered. With tales of seasonal Tourette's, inappropriate present-buying and the eating of reindeer, here is the latest in a long line of celebrities with hilarious tales of festive humbug.
Ozzy Osbourne considers himself lucky to have missed the whole thing one year following a horrific quad bike injury; Huey Morgan would rather throw burning conifers off the roof; John Thomson likes confusing his parents by sending them anonymous cards; Neil Morrissey may elect to spend the time locked away in the loo with a portable TV, a few bottles of wine and a turkey sandwich; and Ronni Ancona thinks sprouts are the grapes of the devil.
Why? Because it's Christmas again. Have a very grumpy Christmas everyone.