We have all experienced the ick. The deep, guttural feeling when something completely inane has turned you off someone irreparably. Unfortunately, Christmas is not immune to ick-inducing behaviour. In fact, it’s an icky hotbed.
Here are some of the things we’re all guilty of that give us the ick, maybe try and avoid seeing, or imagining, any romantic interests in these contexts.
1. Opening a stocking as an adult:
Last year, my co-writer Kit’s delightful mum made me a stocking. I can not tell you how joyous it was to receive it. Yes, I am over 30, but it was no less exciting than when I was a kid. What wasn’t so lovely was the image I had of myself from a bird’s eye view, sitting at the end of the bed opening it. Imagine a former or current partner sitting excitedly on the end of the bed gleefully opening a stocking their parents made them. Ick.
2. Adults in matching pyjamas
It’s adorable when kids have Christmas get-ups. We love to see it. In fact, I don’t even mind a dressed up dog as long as they’re happy about it. What I can’t bear are couples or adult kids and their parents in matching pyjamas. Just stop it. It’s creepy.
3. Family Photo Christmas Cards and Round Robins
Family photo Christmas cards are pretty gross. Just imagine posing for the photo months before Christmas. Getting ready in your matching outfits and setting up your background, then arguing with your family about what photo is the best one. Then designing it, sending it off to print. All of it is gross. Round Robins, too, are pretty icky. Unless they’re full of delicious tea, I’m afraid that your children’s achievements don’t interest me, and I’m sorry your cat got put down.
4. Being Militant About Meat
There’s always someone who is a Meat Militant. Playing around with their thermometer, being very picky about how to carve and sneering at people they deem to do it wrong. It’s a dead animal. Have some perspective. Also, saying shall I be mother when serving food gives me the ick.
5.Your Excited Secret Santa Face
Secret Santas are a bit icky, really, aren’t they? Especially when people get very secretive and take it very seriously. That little expectant smirk when someone opens the gift you bought. Especially if it’s a bit shit and you think it’s great. Ick.
6. Trying to Act Coy When Food Is Being Passed Round
We’ve all been there. You hear the familiar thrum of someone bringing the chocolate box out of the cupboard. You catch it out of the corner of your eye being passed around, only to then have to feign shock when it gets to you, complete with a little ‘ooh!’. Only for your favourites to have already been swiped.
7. Waiting For Everyone to Arrive
Hosting a Christmas event is no mean feat. The table is set, the food is cooking, the music or TV is on. And now you’re just stood around, waiting awkwardly. Ick.
8. Everyone Watching You Open Your Presents
Arguably, the most ick-inducing part of Christmas, is there anything worse than having a room full of people sat watching you open your present, waiting for your reaction. Truly traumatising. The more people, the bigger the ick
9. Everyone Watching While You Can’t Get Your Present to Open
The only thing worse than having everyone watch you open your present, is not being able to actually get into said present. Difficult packaging, obscene volumes of tape, simply horrendous. Especially while everyone is still trying to look engaged as you struggle on.
10. Hometown Acting
Some of my most ick-inducing social interactions that still keep me up at night, have been upon returning to my hometown at Christmas. If you are from a small town, you will know first-hand the awkwardness of bumping into someone you went to school with years ago and haven’t spoken to since. Truly the worst of social activity occurs at these times. Nothing but ick.