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Chattering Class

Prince Harry

Even republicans approve, surely?

Microwaving tea

Recommended by scientists, apparently. Disgusting

No televised election debates

Disappointing; we were rather looking forward to May vs The Sturge


Olivia Coleman = nailed-on Future National Treasure

Spring Bank holidays

Too close together! Very bad!


“I queued for THREE BLOODY HOURS at B&Q for a new recycling bin! The entire town’s in CHAOS”


To be listened to whole on a long journey for maximum effect

Using a proper paper map

Strangely satisfying

The “Flash” Flash ad

It’s back! Possibly the best ever singing dog in an advert ever

Crap tacos

Reheated, with too much chilli: middle-class kebabs, basically

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The Periodic Table of the Middle Class
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    Have a merry ruletide

    How excited MCs get about rules and regulations – and never more so than at Christmas. The complex festivities demand clear guidelines and decisive leadership. Standard rules for the MC Christmas might include:

    • cards only for people you got one from last year
    • gifts only for people you're actually seeing on the day itself
    • presents to be opened after lunch
    • no TV before Doctor Who

    Gift giving is where you'll find most of the Christmas rules lie, because the more potential there is for awkwardness, the more rules MCs will try to impose. “One gift per household/family” is a rule that you'll often hear about these days, along with the increasingly popular Secret Santa arrangement, which has extended from workplaces to families: everyone is to buy one present for one allocated recipient, and sometimes there's a rule on a spending limit.

    Being MCs we love making our rules complicated and with exceptions, so in many MC Christmases you'll find the rule is gifts-as-usual within immediate family and Secret Santa for anyone outside the nucleus. Or one-gift-per-household with the exception of the family that includes two young children, who each get their own individual gift.

    Are MCs ruining Christmas with all these rules? Or is this the only way we know how to really enjoy it? We'd love to hear some of your Christmas rules and regulations. Please do share, and have a very happy ruletide.


    Chattering class: nine nuggets of wisdom

    People running in offices

    Embarrassing. It's just not a running sort of environment

    Tangible Christmas gifts

    Are on way out. It's all about the intangible now: sponsored animals, subscriptions etc

    Products claiming to be muffins that aren't really muffins

    Keep an eye out for this. Heads up from @M_Z_Harrison

    Shrinking Quality Street tins

    An absolute travesty

    BBC's Back in Time for Christmas

    Christmas used to be so much more authentic, didn't it

    Giving plants or seeds as gifts

    Dangerous unless you know the person's garden very well

    Work Christmas parties

    Require a lot of energy when we're really quite tired

    The changing look of the £1 coin

    Let's treasure the round pound while we still have it

    Posting on Facebook about having finished work for the hols

    Insufferable. Stop it


    Joyeux Noël, Mr Bore d’Eaux

    Christmas chez Bore d’Eaux involves peculiarities you won’t find in other households. For instance, Mr Bore d’Eaux is convinced that British culture places too much emphasis on Christmas Day itself – which turns into a "bit of a binge", as he sniffily puts it.

    He’s all for what the French do instead: a big dinner on Christmas Eve to open the celebrations. So, in fact, he ends up with two binges instead of one, but he’s quite happy with that.

    What you won’t find at any point chez Bore d’Eaux is turkey: too American for their tastes. For them only goose, or even capon, has the kind of authentic French rural feel they’re going for with their festivities.

    On Christmas Eve, it will be foie gras, of course. If any of the guests gets squeamish about the prospect, Mr Bore d’Eaux will remind them that the French don’t get "sentimental" about animals the way the British do. Over there, they’re so much more in tune with rural realities, of course.

    Flickr: Jérémy Couture


    'We brought this back from Peru': boasting goes baubles

    The days of the simple, traditional tree covered in your usual old multipack decorations are absolutely over. You may not yet have gone the whole hipster hog and started stacking up pieces of wood in the shape of a tree, but most of us are these days doing something edgier than the standard bauble-drenched spruce. The modern middle class Christmas tree is attractively sparse – verging on austere – in style, carrying very few ornaments, each one carefully, artfully placed for illumination.

    And, crucially, there will be hardly any duplication: most of the ornaments will have been bought or acquired individually, brought back from obscure locations and one-off markets, or donated by interesting associates. MCs will not want this to go unnoticed, and will proudly regale their house guests with the story of each bauble. Whether “brought back from Peru”, "given as a gift from our American cousins”, or “made by Archie in his woodwork class”, each one contributes to the festive-ish whole effect and it's rather impressive indeed.

    Where do we go next with this, though, you might wonder. At MCH we can't help thinking the hipster tree with painfully unique decorations may soon seem tired and too tortured. MCs are excellent at pushing an idea as far as it will go, then recognising a limit has been reached and retreating to a more basic, more fun version. The days of the traditional tree may not be over after all. We'd wager that in a year or so MCs will not sniff at M&S gold and red baubles and a flash of tinsel. And how we'll relish the joyful simplicity of it all.


    Chattering class: this week's ups and downs

    Nigella's halloumi and salad recipe

    She's let us - and herself - down

    People on Facebook doing "'like' if you remember Woolworths"

    It's too soon for this nostalgia, says @kloob. Quite right

    Worrying about what container to use for your work packed lunch

    Old Carte D'Or tubs are not OK

    Christmas lunch in pie form, as witnessed by @ginandcrumpets

    Not sure about this. Not sure at all

    House of Fraser's Christmas ad

    A bit too out there for our liking

    Boomf personalised marshmallows


    Personalised children's books


    Calling them 'roasties'

    Tiresome, especially in gastropubs. Jamie Oliver lingo is very old hat

    Being asked if you want your panini grilled

    Well, yes, obviously! 

    Christmas decorations on exterior of homes

    Lights: a few are OK. Flashing lights: no

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