I once went home for the holidays over the festive season and my traditional Indian portion of the family would not leave me alone.

It was during a period of my life when I was between marriages and “on the shelf” so to speak.

At the time, I was in my late twenties.

In Indian families this equates to being a Geriatric Society MVP. Stale bread.

The fear of not ever having a life partner is real, and old relatives exist only to remind you of that.

“Are you in a relationship yet?”, “You need to hurry up, you’re getting old”, “It’s time to settle down, what’s wrong with you” – I was harassed with these questions around every doily clad corner of my grandmothers house.

Then, one aunt turned to me and said: What’s wrong with you? Elke pot het sy deksel (every pot has its lid).

By the time this little gem came my way, I was so over the shade being thrown at me that I finally found the right response: Well, maybe I’m a frying pan, I said.

Not a particularly great burn but it shut her up nonetheless. 

You see almost everyone looks forward to December. Work ends and the holidays begin. But let’s be honest, often times we would rather suffer at the hands of some micro-managing boss than have our lives micro-managed by intrusive family members who come to gatherings ready to spill tea and who expect files of receipts regarding what you’ve been up to for the past few months. 

Decembers truly are reminders that January is only going to be a time of existential crisis, brought on by the burn of “friendly” reminders from family members about how lonely you are, how old you are and how much weight you’ve gained among other things. ??

This ends here. It’s time to clap back. First things first, a quick lesson on the clap back… What is it exactly?

In simple terms, a clap back is a comeback - A witty response to a joke – usually.

But during the festive season, clap backs are the things of fire. They are the bombs you drop when family members throw comments and criticisms your way.

To save you from the choking silence I often suffer myself, I bring you the Christmas clap back guide (side note: these can be used at any time over the festive season and are not limited to the 25th of December alone):

1. Busy body family member: You look “healthy”, picked up some weight I see?

Clap back: Yes, I am planning to continue doing that for the next decade or so, like you.

2. Busy body family member: When are you going to have children? Your cousin already has three you know?

Clap back: Yes, but does he or she have a job???

3. Busy body family member: Why aren’t you married yet?

Clap back: Coz I’m waiting for you to show me how a good marriage works. Why haven’t you gotten that right yet???

4. Busy body family member: I think you should eat less cake

Clap back: I think you should lose less hair

5. Busy body family member: You’re wearing so… little

Clap back: Yes, I had to make do after you used all the fabric to make that curtain you’re dressed in

6. Busy body family member: You’re going grey, you should dye your hair

Clap back: You’re going senile, you should stay home.

Disclaimer: Most of the time, people of colour will refrain from the comeback and let their responses burn in the backs of their throats because we come from a culture of respect and well… fear.

So, in the case of the “person of colour clap back”, it is important to dress responses in a healthy coat of half joke and half seriousness.

In other words, you must always be confident that the comment is funny enough to be defended with a lol if needs be. 

Sign up to W24’s newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our hot stories and giveaways.