Everyone hates Christmas. Not all the time. Just most of the time. We love it for 26 days in December.
Any mention of it the rest of the year makes us very angry. Boy, do we get mad at shops that pull it into October.
Christmas songs suck 92.88 per cent of the year. Charming Christmas decorations become revolting around 9pm on the big day.
Then stay that way until about now. Try watching a Christmas Movie in February. You'll vomit. Musically, Christmas is a very Bublé time of year. What an album Micheal Bublé's Christmas is. Great reworkings of the yuletide classics.
But if you hear even a second of his Jingle Bells in April you'll want to punch the handsome Canadian in the face. Luckily we're in the time of year when we love Christmas. December! The most wonderful time of the year. Now is the time to do Xmas hard. Bublé is safe. For now.
I've been writing about Christmas on the first Monday of December for five years now. Because, while joyful, it can also be a complex, annoying, fattening and expensive time of year. As a result I've put a lot of thought into Christmas. I reckon I've cracked the code.
The greatest gift you can give the world is the gift of not being a dick.So here's my complete guide. Top tips for surviving Christmas parties, the 25th itself and the easiest ways to spread good cheer across the festive season.
Tip for Christmas parties
Stay in the middle of the drinking pack. You don't want to win the yellow jersey of drunkest person. But don't be boring, either. It's a time of good cheer. Have fun. You have to push the boat out. Make a bit of an egg of yourself. Just don't make a complete egg of yourself. Nothing worse than spending the holidays chewing over what a dick you were at the Christmas party. Dreading seeing co-workers in the New Year. An own goal after a year of hard work.
Give your children two presents max. Instead of piling up 1000 bits of crappy plastic, get them a couple of worthwhile, memorable gifts. Kids get so many presents these days that they suffer unwrapping fatigue. I've seen kids forced against their will to finish opening their presents, their fingers hurting from opening all the rubbish. Gross. Spoilt brats. Get them two good ones. Ones they actually use. Your extended family will pile the rubbish up. You'll still fill your recycling bin. But it's up to mum and dad to do the right thing and limit the giving.
Nothing gets the spirit going like the right flick. We watch one a night leading up to the 25th in my house. It's brutal. Compulsory viewing at this time of year includes Elf, Arthur Christmas, Fred Claus, The Nightmare Before Christmas and the Jim Carrey Grinch. All seven The Office Christmas party episodes are great. But Christmas is also a time for viciously cheesy movies. The Santa Clause 1, 2 and 3, A Christmas Prince 1,2 and 3 and Love Actually. If it all gets too sugary don't forget Die Hard and Gremlins are Christmas movies too.
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Your naughty or niceness will be tested in the living hell that is a Christmas mall. But getting angry at people while bringing joy buying presents doesn't seem right. It's hardly the spirit. The greatest gift you can give the world is the gift of not being a dick to others. Be nice, especially to the poor people working retail this time of year. How would you feel running a till while Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer plays on the shop stereo for the 25th time that day?
The best part of Christmas Day is spending time with the extended family. The worst thing is waiting for them to turn up. That's why you have to take charge. Host the eating at your house. Make a schedule and whatever you do don't allow input from the wider family. Don't let anyone bring anything you have to wait for. Give them an inch and they will take a mile. You'll end up eating at an insane hour. If people are late they simply miss out. A happy Christmas needs a brutal dictator. That's you. Rule your family with an iron fist this yuletide for the win.
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. You'd be an idiot not to enjoy it. The key is getting the right amount of wasted at your Christmas party, not getting your kids' too many presents, watching Die Hard, listening to Bublé, being nice to your fellow New Zealanders and clamping down on your wider family. If you follow these simple rules you'll enjoy a trouble-free December. Then on Boxing Day when you're sick of the whole thing, pack it up for the year. As Buddy the Elf said, "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." So do that for a few weeks. Then shut it down completely.