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Santa Smoking a Cigar

The Six Types of People You Will Meet Over Christmas

By Chris Cotonou

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. As temperatures drop, each day is an excuse to relax at home in solitude, pour something stiff, and reach for a full-bodied Petit Tubos. But Christmas is also a chance to spend more time with your closest family and friends, to observe as the festive season brings out their more unusual or colourful moods – sparked by an abundance of tinsel and bountiful dinner tables. You know exactly who we’re talking about. In fact, you can probably picture them right now.

So, for a bit of festive fun, we’ve listed six types of people you might meet during the holiday season. Santa Claus impersonators not included.

The Competitive Gifter

We all know the Competitive Gifter. He sits by the tree exclaiming, “open mine first, open mine first” as though the neatly-wrapped present he bought you was really is. Perhaps it is, in some ways. This person isn’t buying you what you want, but what he thinks you want – which is, essentially… what he wants. Reply gracefully to his enthusiasm with “Gee, thanks! I really needed another bottle of Bleu de Chanel” (even if he tries to convince you it’s the limited edition) and make a note to buy him the exact same thing next Christmas. 

The Pretentious Cigar Smoker

Most of the time, you enjoy being around this guy. You have so much in common: He likes cigars, you like cigars; he enjoys freshly ground coffee pairings, and so do you (that Japanese hand-grinder wasn’t cheap, after all). Of your close family and friends, he gets it. But when Christmas comes around, he suddenly transforms into the Duke of Stropsbury, regrettably pairing his Partagas Maduro with a mince pie, and moaning to you about how it ruined his Christmas. Unravelling his crocodile-skin cigar case in front of your aunt, as he relays to her the difference between a Parejo and Figurado, you can’t help but wonder… Is this how people see you? 

The Sleeper

“Well Ben, it’s four-thirty in the evening and your face is hovering scarily close to your plate; soon to be drowned in a stew of gravy, apple-sauce, and aunt Jane’s world-famous stuffing. What’s that? I can’t hear you over the excessive yawning. Must have been a big Christmas Eve. Perhaps you should go and lie down for a moment and slump on the sofa like a discarded banana skin. That’s it. Good man. Wait, what? You spent all last night trading NFTs? It’s the future, is it? That’s quite enough, Ben. Now you’re putting the rest of us to sleep.”

The Overeater

Nobody can blame The Overeater for a little holiday excess. ‘Tis the Season, as they say, and even the most ardently disciplined stomachs are indulging in the festive treats. For health reasons, he’s not usually allowed to eat this much sugar, but the wife has allowed him – just for today – to have that extra slice of cake. As the night continues, you begin to notice them disappear at intervals. His ‘seconds’ are really his ‘thirds’ or ‘fourths,’ and each dish is a mishmash of flavours irregularly paired and stacked, as though this is the last time he will eat food in his life. In the end, though, you have to admire his work-rate. He’ll feel terrible tomorrow, but at least he got into the spirit of things. 

The Comedian

You will probably know him as an uncle or cousin. A born entertainer – although his day-job is in sales – The Comedian sits at the centre of the table, marking his dominion. At first, he’s making fun of your new watch or jumper (“It’s pronounced, Mar-nee, uncle John.”) But as the night eases on, and with each passing flight of scotch, the jokes become even worse; now with added props from crackers, or a polyester tie that plays Jingle Bells. He’s been waiting for this night for months. It’s his one time to shine. And you know what? We’re glad he’s here. It might have been a little boring otherwise. Let’s just hope he doesn’t regret anything in the morning. 

The Ghost

The Ghost appears and reappears at random, leaving just enough time for the party to ponder whether he’s left. Ten minutes later, he sort of materialises into the room as though nothing had happened, before vanishing again. Where on earth does he go? The bathroom? For another cigarette? Has he found Narnia in one of your grandmother’s wardrobes? You don’t ask in case the answer disturbs you. But it’s hard not to sympathise, and perhaps it’s something you do, or think of doing. What you wouldn’t give to just draw out a Gordo and smoke comfortably at the table, just like they did in the good old days. No wonder The Ghost leaves for hours at a time… Frank Sinatra didn’t have to smoke outside on Christmas. 

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