Quite a few people meticulously plan out a perfect Christmas. They use extremely organised checklists, which often incorporate colour coding and precise timelines. This is nothing like that.
If all you really want for Christmas is to get through it without going bankrupt, taking a trip to A&E or fighting with your family, here’s our alternative guide to help you keep your wealth, health and sanity.
The Actually Useful Christmas Checklist
Buy a real tree. It wouldn’t be Christmas without the wonderful pine smell and vacuuming hundreds of pine needles out of your carpet. Every. Single. Day.
A stepladder is ideal for hanging high decorations. Standing on sofa arms, coffee tables and bannisters is not ideal.
Do not leave any decorations trailing across the floor. Pets will eat them, kids will pull on them and you will trip over them when you stumble in drunk at 1am.
When the baubles are being put on the tree don’t miss the chance to make an innuendo about low hanging balls.
Remember that mistletoe can be romantic but it can also be extremely awkward.
Christmas at Work
Some offices exchange serious Secret Santa gifts. Others buy joke gifts (usually from Ann Summers). Make sure to find out which yours is before making your gift purchase.
Someone will overindulge and embarrass themselves at the Christmas party. Be a loyal colleague and friend by bringing it up at every possible opportunity for the rest of time.
If the person who overindulged and embarrassed themselves at the Christmas party is you, don’t worry, January is peak season for finding a new job.
Be prepared that in the weeks leading up to Christmas, productivity will fall by 50%.
Chocolate consumption, on the other hand, will rise by 150%.
You will cry multiple times at Christmas adverts. Let it all out.
You will try not to cry when you check your online banking and see how much you’ve spent. Hold it together.
Remember, it’s not a bargain until you’ve seen the delivery charges.
Try not to be jealous of the person on social media whose partner gifted them a designer watch, a Caribbean cruise, and a puppy.
Introduce your elderly relatives to Snapchat filters. It’s one of the modern joys of Christmas.
If you haven’t watched Home Alone just watch it. Or lie. Trust us it’s easier.
Board games will tear your family apart. Proceed with caution.
Attend your kids’ Christmas play. It’ll probably mean missing every major TV event of the season but on the plus side, you get to listen to 30 6-year-olds murdering Silent Night.
Prepare yourself for the fact that at least one of your favourite soap opera characters will be killed off in the specials.
If you don’t like All I Want For Christmas Is You it’s best to keep your opinions to yourself.
At first, you may not be able to fit all of the turkey and trimmings into the oven. But where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Try not to show how devastated you are when you lose the cracker pull.
No matter how high your stress levels soar, leave at least some of the brandy to light the pudding.
If you have young children sit them separately at the dinner table so they don’t bicker and punch each other.
If you have adult children sit them separately at the dinner table so they don’t bicker and punch each other.
Brussels sprouts, dates and candy canes must be provided. No one who eats them will enjoy them but it’s not Christmas without them.
When the turkey is carved, don’t miss the chance to make an innuendo about having a bit of breast.
Only light the Christmas pudding. Do not also light the tablecloth, the curtains or Grandma’s perm.
Make sure to make it clear that you couldn’t possibly eat another thing before spending the afternoon snacking on mince pies.
Be on high alert to quickly diffuse the argument about who gets the last roast potato.
Whenever you enter a supermarket you will come out hours later laden with essentials like mulled wine scented washing up liquid and pigs in blanket flavoured crisps.
Whenever you enter a shopping centre you will walk straight back out again because you have your limits.
You are destined to panic that the gifts you want to buy will sell out. You will buy them just before the shop has a massive sale.
The gifts you do wait until the sales to buy will sell out instantly.
You will buy some “emergency” posh chocolates in case you’ve accidentally left someone off your present-buying list. There is a 90% chance you’ll eat all of them yourself.
The only acceptable Christmas breakfast is a tin of Quality Streets washed down with champagne. Embrace it.
Do not serve mashed potatoes as part of the Christmas meal. They are not traditional. Even if they have bacon bits. Especially if they have bacon bits.
No one cares if you hate mulled wine. It’s traditional.
Your friends will all have their own quirky Christmas day habits which they will try and persuade you are traditions you’re missing out on. Don’t trust them.
Watching the Queen’s speech is traditional but then there’s a really good film on the other channel. Decisions, decisions.
Practice tying a bow. Not for presents but so you can get your kid’s shoes on and get them out of the house for a walk before they wake Granddad up from his nap.
Ignore all smug gift wrapping tutorials. They wrap empty boxes. You’ve wrapped six bottles of beer, a football and a toy dinosaur. Who’s the real hero?
Develop your lying abilities. Of course Santa is real, of course the Yorkshire puddings are homemade and of course you remembered to send your aunt a Christmas card. It must have got lost in the post.
Your endurance skills will be tested to the max when you have to put your kids back to bed for the seventeenth time on Christmas Eve.
There is every chance toys will be broken almost instantly and your oven will pack up from overuse. Might be worth keeping a screwdriver handy.
Make a budget. You definitely won’t stick to it but it will make you feel slightly more in control of your spiralling spending.
Work out how many Christmas cards you need to buy then buy extras for the times you mess up and misspell the names of your closest family and friends.
Assuming you have sellotape at home is a rookie mistake. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
If you think for one minute you will wrap your presents before 9pm on Christmas Eve, you need to stop lying to yourself.