I quite like Christmas. I honestly do.
I enjoy the food, and I am easily dazzled by bright colourful lights. I like being given presents, and my guilty pleasure is using so much sellotape that no-one can ever get into ones I gift. It’s not just about giving, it’s about making them work for it.
However, therein lies the problem.
Not only have you got to spend an obscene amount of time with people you spend all year avoiding, you have to prove how well you know them. This comes in the form of an ideal gift.
It’s at this point when you’re wracking your brains when you realise that you don’t actually know the person you’ve known all your life. Short of buying your dad chocolates, cigarettes and alcohol, all of which will help to gradually kill him, what can you get him?
And this is the same for everyone.
If you buy Christmas presents for the children in your life too early, you run the risk of them losing interest in Thomas The Tank Engine before the big day comes.
It’s a hassle. And it gets harder every year to muster up the festive spirit, even after consuming a table of free drinks at the office Christmas party.
So here is my advice to having yourself a very merry Christmas…
1. Set A Budget
One way of enjoying a debt-free Christmas is to budget for every person. Then, completely ignore it. So just don’t add up Christmas and eat your bank statements. If you make it to Easter without the bailiffs knocking on your door, you know you must have done okay.
2. Order Your Presents Online
The Internet is one of the greatest inventions of the modern era. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to shop on Black Friday in my underwear. Chances are, you can get some great deals at half the effort. So what if you then spend months shouting at customer service agents via email because the item hasn’t arrived? You’ll hear the phrase ‘unexpected high demand over Christmas’ so much, you’ll begin to wonder if this is the first year we’ve had a Christmas.
3. Gift Cards Are An Excellent Present
It’s a great way of giving something and making sure the recipient gets exactly what they wanted… Plus, there’s no better way of saying ‘I forgot to buy you a present’…
4. Watch The Christmas Ads
Don’t waste money buying DVDs, or use up all your free time watching Christmas specials, just watch the adverts. They’re just as entertaining and often made much better. I think John Lewis have a bigger production budget than almost anything on Channel 4.
5. Do Your Pre-Christmas Exercises
Everyone always thinks they need to do their workouts after Christmas to remove the bloated stomach Father Christmas gave them. But you need to do these before Christmas as well. Clench your bum muscles to hold in those farts. Practice your facial expression for all those gifts you didn’t want. And prepare your mouth for the really chewy turkey.
6. Use Advent Calendars To Revert Back To Your Childhood
Remember getting excited every morning before school because you could have chocolate for breakfast? You can still do that. But you might get annoyed that there is no variety in the shape of the chocolates like they used to be, and groan yourself to death at the bad jokes.
I’ve never seen anything so unsure of a joke that it phrases the punchline as a question… pic.twitter.com/qZOV3Jdzk8
— Chris Parsons (@ThePocketWatch) December 5, 2015
7. The Argos Catalogue
If you’re fed up of keep asking ‘What do you want for Christmas’, then give them an Argos catalogue… Across the face… As hard as possible… And then once more.
8. Last Minute Shopping
Haven’t you started your present buying yet? Then just buy lots of bottles of cheap booze. Then drink yourself into denial. It’ll all be okay.
9. Don’t Watch TV Cooks
Your Iceland Christmas dinner just won’t look as appetising by comparison.
10. Play With The Toys
Celebrate Christmas in the way it was intended… By playing with a remote control helicopter and slicing the nose off your Grandma.
11. Visit A Stranger Who Is By Themselves This Christmas
It will, of course, cheer them up to know there are some truly nice people still around… Plus, it solves the debate of whose parents you should spend Christmas with this year… neither.
12. Don’t Have High Expectations
Lots of people moan about Christmas. It’s because they hold it high regard, and the films always lie to us. We expect snow, no arguments, perfect presents, well-cooked food and fun company. Instead, it’s raining, war has broken out, you’ve received another gift box of shower gel, the roast potatoes are black, and everyone is miserable with colds. Just look forward to the day you go back to work.
13. Let Your Hair Down
The office Christmas party is the chance to talk to the person upstairs you never see, and chat in an informal setting without the boss scowling at you. Or get really drunk in the corner of the room at a table by yourself. Either way…
14. Practice Fire Safety
I don’t mean being careful to not place lighted candles near curtains and having a fire-retardant Christmas tree. I mean give everyone a smoke alarm and practice your emergency evacuation plan out the bedroom window while you have a full house.
15. Decorate Everything
You may be like me when it comes to decorating the home for Christmas, and completely smother it in tinsel, lights and plastic penguins covered in glitter. But in public, you’re much more subdued. Perhaps a bit of tinsel draped over the phone on your desk and around the screen. This is the extent of decorations in our office:
A decorated Christmas tree with the lights turned off as they’re too distracting, and a light-up thing on my desk…
‘Tis the season to be jolly… But you’re going to be fed up and depressed, so just accept it.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.