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The Queen's speech, 2010

There are two views on what every British person should do when the Queen makes her annual address to the nation at 3pm on Christmas Day. One is respectful, the other less so, but not out of any sense of malice. Nevertheless, if irreverence is something you find unattractive, do look away now.

For the rest of you, these are your options. Come the magic hour, which most commonly coincides with the decidedly wobbly moment where everyone leaves the Christmas dinner table and settles down on the sofa to recover from the food assault course they have just subjected themselves to, you can tune in and watch, shushing everyone in the room into a respectful silence, or you can fall asleep.

Dads tend to do the latter. They try hard not to, but they just can’t help it. It’s one of the things that makes Christmas Christmas, watching as first the man of the house, then most of the other grown-ups start to look a little bleary around the eyes, then befuddled and a bit slow on the uptake, and then finally the faces slide down and they’re gone.

If you can stay awake, however, here’s the sort of thing you can expect:

See, it’s nice isn’t it? A little reminder of our collective past, a quick look over the year gone by and some fond wishes for the future. And best of all, once the Queen’s speech is out of the way and everyone feels a little warmer and more cosy, there’s usually a good film on afterwards. A family friendly Hollywood blockbuster – the first explosion of which wakes Dad with a start – followed by Doctor Who. Lovely.

In fact, having watching this again, I’m feeling festive already. Mince pie, anyone?

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By Fraser McAlpine