20 things we say every Christmas… that are actually coded messages

Deciphered here by Michael Hogan.

things we say every Christmas
Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones’s Diary. Image: Rex Features

‘Is your tree up?’

People who put up their trees too early (November) or too late (Christmas Eve) are plain weird. What we mean: ‘I’m going to judge you on your answer.

‘Are you sending cards this year?’

Blame social media, environmental concerns or laziness, but the tradition is dying. Yet there are still some die-hards waiting to catch you out. What we mean: ‘Do I need to send you one?’

‘All set for Christmas?’

Generic festive small talk for people you don’t really know. What we mean: ‘Saves talking about the weather.’

‘I’ll stop for one drink’

So many parties, so little time. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. What we mean: ‘See you on the dancefloor at 2am.’

‘Any gossip last night?’

Asked every December morning in workplaces nationwide. What we mean: ‘Please say two colleagues snogged so we can obsess and make the day go faster.’

‘Merry Christmas to you and yours’

For when you can’t remember their family’s names. See also: ‘Have a good one’ and ‘Happy holidays’. What we mean: ‘See you next year, maybe – whoever you are.’

‘Are you cooking turkey again?’

There’s always some bright spark who tries to ‘shake things up’ with goose, duck or a whole salmon. What we mean: ‘Exactly how pretentious are you?’

‘Pop round any time for mulled wine’

The catch-all Christmas invitation you never mean. Especially if they don’t text first, the monsters. What we mean: ‘Please God, don’t.’

‘What’s this we’re watching?’

The reflex question of any parent when walking into a room where people are watching TV. What we mean: ‘I hate losing control of the remote.’

‘Christmas is about the kids, isn’t it?’

The greedy, noisy little blighters don’t know they’re born. What we mean: ‘Christmas is about overeating and binge-drinking, isn’t it?’

‘Finished shopping?’

Some people start early, with organised lists and spreadsheets. What we mean: ‘Please say no because I’m still panicking.’

‘Was it busy in town?’

It’s compulsory to ask this of anyone who’s just been to the shops. What we mean: ‘I’m glad you went and I didn’t.’

‘I’ll do next-day delivery’

God bless online shopping – but damn the cost for fast shipping. What we mean: ‘I’ve left it too late.’

‘Hope we get a white Christmas’

We haven’t had one in years – Greta Thunberg can explain why. What we mean: ‘Snow’s a pain but I’m trying to sound magical.’

‘I’ve kept the receipt’

Often blurted out even before the recipient has finished unwrapping. What we mean: ‘If you don’t like it, I’ll be mortally offended.’

‘Just what I wanted’

Well, you could try telling your face. What we mean: ‘I hate it. And you.’

‘Erm, lunch may be later than planned’

The pesky thing about roasting lots at once is that it all cooks slower. What we mean: ‘The turkey’s raw. I’m mid-breakdown. Keep drinking to distract yourselves from impending food poisoning.’

‘I couldn’t eat another thing’

Carb comas are real, but they pass. What we mean: ‘Give me 20 mins, then we’ll bust out the biscuits.’

‘Fancy a nice walk?’

It’ll help work off all that food. It might also save your sanity. What we mean: ‘If I’m cooped up with you lot for one minute longer, I will kill again.’

‘Let’s play a board game’

What could be more festive than some overly complicated ‘fun’? What we mean: ‘Let’s have the annual family row.’