It's Going to Be an Awkward Christmas, Darling

by Helen Arney

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    One family’s uncomfortably suburban December 25th, perfectly captured in 11 original songs. Stories of holiday disasters, endless games of Monopoly, traditional family arguments and an irrational fear of snowmen all conspire to make your Winterval sound wonderful.
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If Alan Bennett and Victoria Wood wrote a Christmas album, it would sound something like this… Wry, humorous, lyrically intelligent and unashamedly poignant – it’s perfect for Christmas fanatics and Humbugs alike.

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released December 1, 2010

All songs written and performed by Helen Arney and Paul Richards, with Martin Randle. Recorded in three days in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, and produced by Martin Randle.
Kat Arney - harp (2, 10, 11)
Tom McDonnell - vocals (3, 6, 7, 11)
Terry Saunders (9)

Originally released by Cracking Tunes -
Illustration by Matt Corrall -


all rights reserved



Helen Arney London, UK

"Geek Songstress" Helen Arney is the UK's finest purveyor of comedy songs with a scientifically verified twist.

"Champion of musical whims" Evening Standard
One of Dave TV's "Top 10 stand-ups to see in 2011"
**** ”Harnesses the spirit of Ben Folds & the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon… delightful” (Chortle)

Also one third of Festival of the Spoken Nerd and author of "The Element In The Room"
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Track Name: Christmas 1994
LYRICS - Christmas 1994

Every family has one gory legend of a Christmas past
More drama than a Dickens story, I will tell you ours…

Remember Christmas 1994
We had just BBC, ITV, and Channel 4,
But Christmas Day 1994
We watched nothing at all

Father knew the night before, when the video spat out its shiny tape all on the floor
He wanted to record Match of the Day, but ended up with just magnetic tinsel on display
Our Radio Times marked up with what to watch and what to tape
The schedule set in stone after weeks of tough debate
Christmas day will be a mess
Without a working VHS

Oh the Horror of Christmas ‘94
Having to agree on watching one thing on TV
Disastermas 1994
Will it be ITV, Channel Four or BBC?

One Foot In The Grave or the Christmas special Heartbeat, Keeping Up Appearances or Coronation Street?
Mum craves Sleeping Beauty, Son is mad for Robin Hood, Dad’s all for Sinatra, Grandpa wants Victoria Wood,
Forget about the turkey, and the unwrapped Christmas socks
Everyone’s dissatisfied with what is on the box
But one thing we all agree on
We’ll definitely watch the Queen on…

Christmas Day 1994
Before iPlayer, ITV online, no 4OD
Traumatic Xmas 1994
Today a broken video – will destroy the family

Mum is in hysterics, Uncle Jerry screams out loud, Grandpa’s had a drink or 2, he’s starting to get mad
Son wants his own way and tries to hijack the remote, Dad leaps across the coffee table, grabs him by the throat,
The noise is so intense that the neighbours call in the police,
Grandpa take it all too far, throws a punch, that knocks a lamp, which hits chair, that bumps a frame, that throws a picture of the happy family right into the centre of the TV screen…

That was Christmas 1994
Officially cautioned for disturbing the peace
Horrendousmas 1994
On Boxing Day we all went out and bought our own TVs

Heinous Christmas 94
Before iPlayer, ITV online, no 4OD
Atrociousmas 1994
The day a broken video almost destroyed our family.
Track Name: Never Built a Snowman
LYRICS - Never Built A Snowman

David’s heart was beating fast, listening to the day’s forecast
First white flakes of this millennium – younger ones have never felt them
Land on lips and tongues and noses
Scream delight but no-one knows his pain
When he was 5 years old,
A snowman knocked him out cold

He’ll never know how good it feels to build a snowman
He’ll never shape a human body from just powder and his mittened hands
Five decades have gone by
But he still can’t look one in the eye

Little David raced into the street, to where his friends said they would meet
A snowman twice as tall as him, with carrot nose and twiggy limb
Surveyed his land
Broom in hand
David stepped another nervous pace, towards this kindly frozen face
Suddenly a ball of dirty white, flashed into poor David’s sight
A snowman’s fist
A chilling kiss
Confusion flew through David’s mind
He couldn’t see his friends behind
He’ll never shake the first impression
A snowman gave him concussion

He’ll never know how good it feels to build a snowman
He’ll never decorate with pipe, top hat and wrap a checkered scarf around
Half a century’s gone by
But he still can’t look one in the frozen evil dirty coal black eye

Snowflakes fall and smiles rise, David hides behind closed eyes
Family call but he won’t answer, pretends to sleep in his old armchair
Still has nightmares, he’s been known
To wake up screaming words from Aled Jones’
‘Walking In The Air’
A song that he can’t bear
He’ll always be the boy who never built a snowman
Track Name: It's Going to Be an Awkward Christmas, Darling Part 1
LYRICS - It's going to be an awkward Christmas, darling - part 1

Family’s out, house to himself
They’re worshipping at the only open supermarket – emptying every
Shelf of reduced to clear canapés
Broken crackers, chocolate calendars, and half price cranberry puree

Peace and quiet, carol singers on the telly
Feet on the sofa, scratching his belly
Waiting for the feast,
With a sense of relief cos
Last week on the phone he broke up with his girlfriend,
He thinks that’s what he did, it was hard to define
Through all of the tears from her end of the line
He said “the distance between us has ruined it for me
Life’s not always like Gavin and Stacey”
He’s proud to say he’s a Christmas Single today.

Out of the blue a doorbell rings
She’s there carrying presents for her and presents for him
Drove 300 miles just to bring them and say hello
Now she’s shivering on the doorstep in the snow

Family roll up, delighted to see her
Offer her a discount mince pie flavoured mini pizza
Glad she made it
She’s their favourite

In a heartbeat they’re pretending that everything’s fine
Standing holding hands in awful Christmas sweaters
Lovingly knitted by her barmy Auntie Greta,
She’s so happy to pretend she never got dumped
He don’t wanna upset his mum
So they go with the flow, like a family panto

It’s going to be an awkward Christmas darling
December 25 will be uncomfortable, honey
It’s going to be an awkward Christmas darling,
The Queen’s speech will be unbearable, baby
Track Name: Christmas Dinner Microwave Meal for One
LYRICS - Christmas Dinner Microwave Meal for One

Jeremy Green wakes up with the sun, Christmas day has come
His wife is nowhere to be seen, she must be out in the conservatory
His head hurts like hell but can’t remember why, so he carefully
Places silk pajama-ed feet on golden carpet with a 1-inch pile
What a perfect life
What a perfect wife
What a perfect Christmas

Walks through the hall to their fabulous kitchen, modelled on a magazine feature
Years of overtime, he’s paid his dues, to keep his wife in shoes
Past the bathroom, marble sinks, gold taps, designer curtains
Makes a New Years resolution to be sure to get that shower working
He’s been trying to fix it
Since 2006 but
Then reality hits, and

It all comes flooding back to him
Christmas eve, working late again
By the empty bottle he sees the note and then
Reads the words his beloved wrote – it said:

“Dear Jeremy
I’ve met someone
His name is Bond, James Bond
He’s a plumber from Basildon
He’s my very own Basildon Bond
He can give me what I need
His power shower brings me to my knees.
But I haven’t left you alone
Over there by the stove
For Christmas day on your own”

Slice of turkey in a bag
Roast potatoes looking equally sad
Brussell sprouts, but not enough for two
Chestnut stuffing in there too

She was his reason
He did everything for her but now she’s gone
His soul won’t be restored with a
Christmas Dinner microwave meal for one

Head spinning, his heart exploding,
Thinks he can’t go on, stumbles, weeping through the house but then,
Sees the Christmas card, from them
The family he said he’d never see again – and thinks:

Shove your turkey in a bag
Lonely potatoes won’t be making me sad
Flush those Brussels down the loo
Stuff your stuffing, yeah stuff you

His sister’s family, they all love him but they’re really quite bizarre
Hopes they won’t be weird
’94 was a flop
They had to call in the cops
It was a bit of a shock, but…

Jumps in his silver coupe
Registration JE22A
Windows down pumping Wizzard and Slade
Change the ending to this Christmas day

Dashing through the snow
In his 240 horse power open-topped Ferrari sleigh
Watch uncle Jerry go
To his family’s lair
No microwave there
Just people to share
Their family meal plus one

Head full of Christmas tunes he’s humming
(Let’s hope no-one mentions plumbing)
Track Name: Only Monopoly
LYRICS - Only Monopoly

Darling, lunch won’t be ready for ages
Sweetheart, get a board game, that’ll fill the day
But Dearest, you always beat me whatever the game is
My love, that’s exactly why I want to play…

It’s only Monopoly
Don’t look at me stroppily
In our relationship you’ve always had the upper hand
You wanna play Monopoly
To get one up on me
Don’t think I’ll let you win just because you are my man

Darling, I’m not normally competitive
But this is our relationship’s ultimate test
Please don’t hold it against me if
I make an ill-judged joke about community chest
In this game I took a Chance and now I’m doing pretty well
I’ve got Bow Street, Trafalgar Square and Marylebone
Straight away you landed up in Jail
The only house you own is on the Old Kent Road

Ha ha it’s only Monopoly
But you’re getting all your parking for free
This was my idea, I can’t complain
It’s only Monopoly
But I’m playing it properly
Yes I think I’ll have another hotel, on my Park Lane

My love I’m not enjoying your smirks
This isn’t how I wanted it to be
Last year you lost and turned on the water works
Now you own both utilities
Sweetheart, I’m only doing what you asked
Why all this rancour?
For once I’m having an absolute blast
But you’re behaving like a proper little banker

It’s only Monopoly
But I wish it would stop-oly
She just screamed and punched the air
It’s only Monopoly
A silly little game with paper money
Now you owe me two thousand pounds for landing on Mayfair

(tapdancing boot solo)

It’s only Monopoly – I know it’s only Monopoly
But I can’t afford any more rent
You own it all from Pall Mall to Piccadilly
My love and my money are almost spent
You’re right, my dear, it’s only Monopoly
I’ll still love you even after you’ve lost
But I can’t help smiling at your imminent bankruptcy
Now your top hat has landed on my Kings Cross

It’s more than Monopoly
Much more than Monopoly
We call it Monopoly
But actual-opoly
It’s war
Track Name: It's Going to Be an Awkward Christmas, Darling Part 2
LYRICS - It's going to be an awkward Christmas, darling - part 2

Tensions high, they’re still faking
He looks stressed, on the verge of breaking
Down, mum asks when they’re gonna hear the sound of wedding bells, he’s trembling like a gazelle,

Mum says “you owe us an apology
Is this just because she beat you at Monopoly?
It’s still snowing
She’s not going”

He storms out of the flat, and tripping over the doormat
Still wearing a jumper three sizes too small
This is not the Christmas he was hoping for
Without him they tuck into their turkey meal
He sits in his car, head on the steering wheel
Flicks the radio on, it’s playing this song:

“It’s going to be an awkward Christmas darling…”
Track Name: The Only Way to Spend Christmas Day
LYRICS - The only way to spend Christmas day

Mum’s had a great idea
Gonna have Christmas away this year
No stress, no presents, no cooking, just once
Let’s take the whole family to the south of France

All of the flights were 99p
Plus airport taxes and booking fee
But we’re having second thoughts now it’s 3am
And we’re driving to Luton in the fog and rain…

Let’s go away
On holiday
What a wonderful way
To spend Christmas day

Seatbelts on and we’re holding tight
Mum still says we’re gonna be alright
I hope Granddad’s gonna be OK
He got lost in a fight at the departure gate

Don’t go away
On holiday
It’s a terrible way
To spend Christmas day

Strap back into the aeroplane
Next year we’re going back to normal again
Mum’s already planning a 20-course meal
And a nervous breakdown by the Christmas tree

Scramble back into the terminal
Fetch grandpa from the left luggage carousel
Christmas at home is a terrible bore
But we’ll never complain about it any more

Let’s always stay
At home all day
It’s the only way
To spend Christmas day

Don’t go away
It’s a terrible way
To spend Christmas day
To spend Christmas day
To spend Christmas day…
Track Name: Office Party
LYRICS - Office Party

This time last year
At the office Christmas party, down the Wetherspoons, I gave you my heart
But it’s not like that song by Wham, no ma’am, I promise
You could have given it away, the very next day
And I wouldn’t mind
You could have sneaked into my chest, made a cardiac arrest
That would be fine

It’s been a year
And I’m still working here, even though I said I wouldn’t be, and my crush on you is crushing me
And like the coke machine in the canteen, I’m empty inside
Last week I asked to borrow your stapler
Just to feel your hand in mine
Tonight I’ll stop this charade, ask you to dance with me to Slade,
And hope you’ll say... “Fine”

And now the party’s here
We’re standing with our beers by the pool table, and you’re holding hands with our manager even though your facebook status says that you’re single
Why does the internet always lie?
You’ve been given a promotion
You don’t want my drink tokens
I think my heart is broken
I wish I had never spoken to you
At last year’s office Christmas party
Track Name: christmas, funny, holidays, paul richards, helen arney, - Traditional Family Christmas Argument
LYRICS - Traditional Family Christmas Argument

Holly berries glisten in the snow
Robins hop and chirp outside the window
Stars light up the celestial firmament
The real meaning of Christmas is a family argument

On their best behaviour, no arguments all day yeah,
Christmas Day’s been fraught, tempers running short
Who’s going to burst, who’ll blow a fuse first?
The lights on tree, or a member of the family?

Holly berries glisten in the snow
Robins hop and chirp outside the window
Stars light up the celestial firmament
The real meaning of Christmas is a good old traditional family argument

Mother, father, uncle start a bet
On when Grandpa will leave
And let them get on with their Christmas day without him getting in the way

They think that he’s dozing full of Eat Me Dates
But he had one ear open to their sweepstake
Grandpa says “I’ll put on a tenner, on me not leaving ‘til September”

Holly berries glisten in the snow
Robins hop and chirp outside the window
Stars light up the celestial firmament
The real meaning of Christmas is a good old traditional
Unprovoked and all inclusive family argument

Father mutters all he wants from Santa Claus, is a quick divorce (quick divorce)
Mother sobs how could our Christmas bliss, have come to this? (come to this)
Uncle Jerry says forget peace and goodwill, I’m gonna kill (gonna kill)
Grandpa arms himself with mistletoe, thinks this’ll blow (this’ll blow)

“At Christmas play and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year” (Thomas Tusser)

Holly berries moulder in the snow
Robins screech and peck outside the window
Snow clouds hide the celestial firmament
The real meaning of Christmas is
A good old traditional
Sherry-flowing, turkey-throwing
Mind-bending, never ending
Present wrapping, spirit sapping
Carol singing, bauble flinging
Deck the halls with confrontation
Anger and recrimination
Good old traditional
Completely unconditional
Unprovoked and all inclusive family argument
Track Name: It's Going to Be an Awkward Christmas, Darling Part 3
LYRICS - It's going to be an awkward Christmas, darling - part 3

He sits alone, in his Polo
Christmas sucks when you’re do it solo.
They weren’t exactly Romeo and Juliet but that’s good cos it means that no-one will end up dead
Turns off the stereo, swallows his pride
Reaches for the door but she’s there on the other side
She slips in
Sitting next to him

She says “Let’s try starting all over again
How did we get into this terrible mess?
My sweater’s so big it’s more like a dress
I’ll have to tell my auntie they fit us perfectly”
They start to giggle uncontrollably
Eyes a’ twinkling
She says what they’re thinking:

It’s going to be an awkward Christmas darling
December 25 will be uncomfortable, honey
It’s going to be an awkward Christmas darling
The Queen’s speech will be unbearable

It’s going to be an awkward Christmas darling
December 25 will be uncomfortable, honey
It’s going to be an awkward Christmas darling,
Put this all aside until Boxing Day
Happy Christmas

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