In a perfect world I would have a flat stomach, the homosexual community could choose to marry if they wish, parking inspectors would issue a friendly warning with a smiley face instead of a ticket and Christmas Marketing would begin the day after the Melbourne Cup is run.

I think they should all be made into laws.

Apart from my wobbly guts that is. I need to take some sort of responsibility for that.

But my wobbly guts reminds me of Santa, and that reminds me of shopping centers and lining up with wriggly kids who want to see Santa. Or at the very least, chuck a massive hissy fit at the very sight of him.

The early onset of Christmas Marketing does nothing but stretch out the stress of the entire period. (I was going to write “Holiday” period, but for most of us involved in staging such an elaborate festivus, it ain’t no holiday.)

So instead of sharing my helpful tips on effective table settings using raffia, how to make a prawn and mango centerpiece in the shape of a star, or how to theme-wrap your Christmas Presents, I thought I would share with you some more practical tips. Survival tips, some might say. SO without further ado, I give to you…


10 – THE TEENAGER SERVING YOU AT TARGET… wearing reindeer antlers and a surly expression. He will not lift your spirits one bit. And then he will charge you for a bag to carry the loot you bought from the store.

9 – CHRISTMAS BEETLES. I know, they are not people, but they are still a bit ass-holey. They do nothing but bug you, crawl on you, fly into your face causing you to freak out and the worst? Ending up in your drink. And nobody likes a crunchy glass of wine.

8 – THE MILITANT SCHOOL MUM. You know the one. The lady who sends out numerous emails asking for ideas about what to get the teacher for a group Christmas present (when everyone is just happy to do their own thing) then going on to ignore all suggestions, only to buy something lame and then complain that no-one has given her money.

7 – THE IRRATIONAL RELATIVE … whose passive aggressive attitudes and insane talent at finding fault with everything makes them one person to avoid like the plague, which ironically they will tell you they suffered from during the year.

6 – EARLY CHRISTMAS ADOPTERS. Early Christmas Adopters, otherwise known as the ECA Cult, are just about to make their last payment on their Crisco Christmas Hamper and are dead keen to tell you all about it. Their tree is up, their Santa Photos are done and distributed to all and sundry and they are putting the finishing touches on their 12 page FAMILY YEARLY REPORT, a detailed document going into the highlights and accolades each family member has achieved. I like to read these, as I am a bit of a gossip, But please make them interesting! Personally, would rather read about who got caught shoplifting, who had an affair and whose kid got suspended for throwing a chair.

The Report is almost always accompanied by a photo, like this…

5 – WRITERS. Particularly the ones who use Christmas as an excuse for putting content together…wait…

4 – LARGE GATHERINGS OF FAMILY. What do you get when you throw two-dozen people in one room with average air-conditioning and warm coleslaw? You get an Australian Family Christmas, complete with all the tension and awkwardness that can come with it. I know a lot of people try to avoid the Big Family Christmas, but I am not one of them. The more the merrier I say. And for the sake of peace, leave your issues at the door and fake it till you make it, at least through the first bottle of champagne.

3 – UNGRATEFUL GIFT RECIPIENTS. Mainly kids, who are overwhelmed with so many Christmas gifts that they open a parcel, look at it for a second, put it down and then gesture for the next offering. I have seen my kids do this, and I cannot stand it. Sometimes less is more. Kris Kringle anyone?

2 – THE DO GOODER. The Do Gooder is the person who, instead of buying gifts, decides to donate a chicken to a poor village in a Third World Country. Now before you throw your coffee at your screen in disgust, hear me out!

I love this idea and fully support it. What I DON’T like is the Do-Gooder bragging about it in both the lead up to the festivities, during the festivities and for a good period following the festivities. I get it. YOU DID A GOOD DEED. But sometimes these good deeds mean more if you don’t bang on about them for months.

Or maybe I am just jealous that you got to do all your Christmas Shopping in 36 seconds…

So we have come down to number ONE. And in the spirit of premature Christmases all over the world, and because I am a giver, I have decided to leave that one up to you. So I ask you dear friend…

Who do YOU try and avoid at Christmas Time.

And more importantly… WHY?



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*About Mrs Woog: “I can be found in the laundry, folding laundry, sorting laundry and dropping off the dry cleaning. I am mum to two boys, boss of my husband and master of a cat and two guinea pigs. Come nightfall, I watch TV while tweeting which drives Mr Woog insane. I like to read cookbooks and eat out. During my waking hours I ferry kids around in the Mazda while drinking takeaway coffees and listening to talkback. I think about going to the gym every day. I used to work in the publishing industry before I realised it was nothing like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld made out like it was. Now I write this blog. And I never get writer’s block. It is a gift I have.” You can follow me on Twitter @Woogsworld.

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  • Reply November 14, 2012

    Michaela C

    Oh god Woogsy almost all these will be at my Christmas lunch.

    How about the family member who smiles all year then has a few drinks and spends the rest of the day crying drunkenly about everything that bothered them that they didn’t address during the year?

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    More of a what – last minute shopping. I hate with a passion fighting the shoppers Xmas eve, this includes getting food. I buy gifts throughout the year (buy as I see something I think friend/family member will like). So (generally) I’m well prepared, well in advance – but often then also guilty of overspending as I am very bad at keeping track of what I’ve bought, so generally over-buy for all!

    Who? – After travelling north each Xmas to see my family (and we are the only ones with kids!!) I now avoid the Xmas day traffic (drivers) by delaying our Xmas travel til after Xmas so my littlies can open and enjoy their pressies at home. Xmas is for kids and if my parents/family want to enjoy the day with their only grandkids they can come to us!

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    Oh god, I am the do gooder. Sometimes I do it for lack of graciousness over last year’s gift ie. You snub my gift, you get a manure gift card. That said, community aid abroad’s chocolate and coffee are great gifts. My friend calls it Lettie coffee.

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    Opps leftie

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    Warm beer…the fridge is usually open and full of food, so I always have an eski or two full of ice to keep the drinks cold.
    I had the classic ungrateful kid last year, she had an obscenely huge pile of expensive pressies, all got tossed aside once opened and she had no idea who gave her what. I guess she’s only 8 so I should be more tolerant. Her mum has her this year so she’ll be a little older when we have her again next year.

  • Reply November 14, 2012

    Scandi Coast Home

    The miserly inlaws who don’t treat their grand kids equally.
    They treat my kids as second rate because they don’t like me.
    I think we’ll be too busy to see them this year ;O)

    • Reply November 14, 2012


      Oh, God. I second this one! 🙁 My in laws will be 300km away this year. Just where I like them.

  • Reply November 14, 2012

    Lab Elf

    I became jewish and get to avoid Christmas altogether except for the occasional trips to my homeland for Christmas with my family

    • Reply November 14, 2012


      mazal tov!

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    OMG. My MIL is number 7 and totally unavoidable. Getting more bearable since we’ve been having Christmas at our place and I have control of the wine distribution.

  • Reply November 14, 2012

    Nonny mouse for this

    One of my sisters in law has suddenly become number 2. Always previously happy to receive gifts, she recently posted a public Facebook post about how as we are all so lucky, we should scrap the Kris Kringle for the adults and donate to charity instead. A public Facebook post. Yeah.

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    Our family Xmas here is so bad that we have taken to flying all the way to Sth Africa 2 years in a row to avoid it! The expense outweighs the cost of presents, we leave them to do their own thing and everyone is happy. I’m busy packing at this moment and leave in a few days!

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    Spot on!!!!!

  • Reply November 14, 2012

    Christie @ Fig and Cherry

    Well said Mrs Woog. I’m not up to the ‘Militant Mum’ yet with no school-age children, but I just can’t wait to meet her in the future! Fun times.

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    People who tell you that they buy presents at the Boxing Day sales or throughout the year – so have Christmas wrapped up before December

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    How dare you tarnish the reputation of the Christmas beetle! It is a wonderful insect, announcing to the world (well to Australia at least) it’s time to celebrate! Mind you, no one really feels the same as I do, I am an entomologist after all…

  • Reply November 14, 2012

    Lisa Lee

    What about the people who don’t send cards for two or three years (Yay, less for me to send), and then out of the blue send a really expensive, handmade ridiculously gorgeous one, that arrives on Christmas eve! No hope of replying to that one, and after the event it just seems like an afterthought.
    But…..they always ask you if you received their card, and then you have to say the whole “oh it was lovely, sorry I didn’t get yours sent out in time.”
    I have enough trouble trying to get the school ones sorted.

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    Anything at the last minute – queues, parking hassles, gift wrapping, and trying to work out what to do, along with any price hikes around this time of year.

    One year, I was offered money to move the car that I was a passenger in. It was not my car, and I did not have any car keys.

    This is where the Greek community have it over – celebrating Christmas on 6th January means that they can take advantage of post-Christmas sales.

    A few years’ ago, it cost $100 per head (excluding drinks) for a Christmas Day lunch (buffet style) at a restaurant near where I live.

    The restaurant manager also was eating at that time, and instead of having my table cleaned regularly, there were employees visiting his table, and acknowledging his presence.

    There were some intermittent cleaning, and promises to clean the table that I was dining at, but, finally, after waiting twenty-four minutes, and seeing the restaurant manager lean his torso and head forward, reach behind with one hand, and scratch within his posterior, it was time to leave.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    Loose lips:

    Unfortunately, I am guilty of this one last Christmas:

    Sent a Christmas present to someone in another state, and thought that the gift had arrived within a specific timeframe.

    Sent an e-mail divulging some of its contents, and received a reply advising that the parcel had not arrived yet.

    Thankfully, some Christmas surprise was still left, as not all of the parcel’s contents were divulged. 🙁

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    Retailers that put out Christmas items months before the event.

    I shop reasonably early in the year – October or early November.

    However, having tinsel and assorted Christmas themed items on display in late August or early September is a waste of my shopping trolley space.

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    I loathe Christmas carols and most references to a winter Christmas when it’s usually around 30 degrees. The waring amongst family members about a hot or cold Christmas meal invariably means we end of with both and too much food.

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    Those children – they should be baked into pies!!

  • Reply November 14, 2012

    Valerie Parv

    On my naughty list are email Christmas cards that I have to “pick up”, being bombarded with commercial messages in the process. If I don’t click on the link, I get three more emails reminding me that so-and-so sent me a Christmas greeting. Read my lips. I. Don’t. Care. Send me a real card with a real message, not just a scrawled signature I can’t read. Communicate, people. Even a catch-up newsletter beats a jumping-around e-card.

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    When various family members agree to bring something to your Christmas lunch, (thankyou, yes, I am grateful) but then ask if they can “just borrow your electric mixer to whip the cream for the pav”, or, “have you got a chopping board and a knife” then proceed to take over your limited bench space to assemble their platter with a gazillion deli parcels – it drives me crazy. A friend of mine has a great rule in his family – all food must be ready to go on the table and the glad wrap peeled off, that’s it. If everyone makes an effort to be a good guest, it reduces the chaos and we all get to relax, champagne in hand…

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    Avoid the office Christmas party – particularly if they are on a boat….

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    My mother has the right idea – she’s taking off to Bali for four weeks!

    I am steeling myself for the Battle of Christmas 2012 – MiL still thinks that it would be “easier” for me to pack up two kids, food, sundry presents, amusements and the like and trek to theirs – where the kids are sulking because all their cool presents are at home; rather than the two of them hopping in the car with a couple of chickens and a pudding and a couple of gifts for the kids.

    Plus, I can’t have a drink if we go to theirs.

  • Reply November 14, 2012

    The diligent Xmas card senders. They mean well but I just feel consumed with guilt and inadequacy when I receive them because I know I will resolve to write on in return but forget.

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    I love that photograph of kids with Father Christmas!! I am thankful I no longer have to perform for others at Christmas~washing umpteen dishes, wishing birthday happiness as crowds descend to be fed,watered and entertained…..Mrs.Woogs~about those beetles~perhaps a net over glass, and a brief check before putting glass to mouth~ like one of those nets to put over food to keep flies off~ but maybe with decorative colourful dangly bits providing both weight and cheer~without being a choking hazard. See it in a store near you~soon!!

  • Reply November 14, 2012

    sue Bell

    Happy Feasting season everyone. We have Kris Kringle a week before. All presents (very cheap) put in a lucky dip. If you don’t like what you get you can barter with someone else for theirs. I even put in books that I am culling from my shelves, we are all avid readers including the kids. We all do a lot of home made products, last year I did mango jam and plum jam, this year it will be lemon butter and preserved lemons. Anything I buy is usually on line and home delivered, hello ABC shop and Seek Geek. I love the food, I make christmas cakes as presents and shortbreads from g.g. grandmother and g.g. uncles recipes, my favourite Christmas dish is numus, fish cold cooked in lime juice, chilli, and coconut milk. As an atheist I celebrate the feasts of all other religions throughout the year but NEVER the fasts, and my waist line reflects this.

  • Reply November 14, 2012

    Sophie @ PRChicks

    Mrs Woog. My dad writes an annual letter to everyone and anyone! So embarrassing and full of all our family’s lowlights. Apparently “he’s a bit of a card” and everyone thinks his newsletter is “hilarious and entertaining”. I’ll make sure you’re on his list for this year. Sx

    • Reply November 16, 2012

      Mrs Woog

      I would LOVE to read it! x

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    My least favorite thing is Christmas itself! Having lived through 70-odd of them, I am well and truly over it all. Spare me the Happy Families puhlease.

  • Reply November 14, 2012

    Will Marshall

    The day itself seems to be a bit of a pain in the arse for me

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    I love a festival~ and there is lots of back-up from original sources celebrating nature!!

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    I’m not opposed to charity gift presents. I was s little annoyed when my sister gave them from a charity that WASN’T the one my husband and I had worked for, for around … Oh … 10 years… And if that wasn’t bad enough, the one she bought from was across the road from her house… I know I don’t sound very charitable, but I don’t think her gift had much to do with charity … More convenience… Bah humbug!

  • Reply November 15, 2012

    Lisa Mckenzie

    I was just talking to my mother on the phone before and she told me her friend Betty has all the presents wrapped and the cards written with stamps on etc etc and I said Mum that’s because she has nothing to do,she probably irons her undies too!

  • Reply November 15, 2012


    Hysterical photo – thanks!

  • Reply November 16, 2012

    Debbie Paterson

    I am your “slightly” older cosmic sister. I just had to contact you to let you know that my husband (of 18 yrs) & I still receive a chatty Christmas newsletter from his ex-wife!! Wow, talk about the one person to avoid regardless of holiday & every day of the week!!

  • Reply November 17, 2012


    And not forgetting the SIL who charged us $25 a head for Christmas lunch – bring your own wine, salad and bread…I’m sure she made a clear profit on that day!

  • Reply November 20, 2012


    I LOVE christmas. It was the one time of year when i was a kid that our parents went all out to try and make things magical. I love the tree, lights, decorations and stalk the stores waiting for decorations to come out.

    So what do I like to avoid at Christmas?

    Our local shopping centre.

    It’s bad enough and overcrowded on the weekends, but the lead up to christmas is RIDICULOUS! You can’t find a park anywhere unless you get up early before the shops open.

    People are not full of the christmas spirit in those places. They are rude, ignorant and just plain nasty. No wonder internet shopping is becoming the done thing. It’s enough to make you seriously consider becoming a hermit on a deserted island.

  • Reply November 21, 2012

    Annie from Faulco

    My friends with no rellos, or rellos who would spoil their day, go to the zoo.

    Picnic blanket, picnic lunch, a bottle or two of wine. No crowds, just friendly tourists and like-minded locals.

    Ferry rides, wonderful views and no ongoing arguments from Christmases past.

    There are other affordable destinations open on Christmas Day, but the zoo is hard to beat.

  • Reply December 13, 2012


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