Chaplain's thought for the week
Revd Tom offers advice on how to have the worst Christmas ever
Christmas is so often called the Season of Goodwill. It’s a time of joy; a time when families come together; a time for thinking of others; a time when we buy gifts for other people to show that we care…
But what if we don’t want to have a Happy Christmas?
What if we’d rather be miserable?
What if we want to have The Worst Christmas Ever?
I have the perfect six top tips to help…
First of all, in the run up to Christmas try to make yourself feel guilty with a long list of things you really have to get done. Forget the season of joy, Christmas is the season of ‘ought’! You really ought to have got all of those Christmas cards done by now, you really ought to have wrapped up all of your presents, you really ought to have planned the perfect Christmas dinner, your house really ought to look amazingly decorated. If you start to feel the Christmas cheer, just remind yourself of all the things you ought to do!
Second, remember that if you want to have an un-Merry Christmas you must absolutely not – under any circumstances – even think about being generous to others. Generosity only leads to happiness; studies have actually shown that acts of kindness and generosity increases your mental wellbeing. So don’t think about others during the run-up to Christmas – think only about yourself.
Third, on the theme of gifts, try to set totally unrealistic expectations about what you’ll receive. Make your Christmas list is impossibly long. Hope for things that your family would have absolutely no hope of being able to afford. Dream big dreams about everything you could possible ever want; watch as many adverts as you can on TV; go window shopping around Exeter. Do everything you can to stoke your desires and expectations as high as you can, and that way you can ensure that your hopes will be utterly dashed by the time it comes to Christmas Day. You’ll find that everything you have been given is totally disappointing and seems rubbish. You’ll think only about the things you didn’t get. This will ensure that you feel thoroughly miserable on Christmas morning.
Fourth, if you’re serious about increasing your misery over the Christmas season, then there is a perfect way to do just that: family rows. People so often say that Christmas is a family time. Oh yes, and family is an ideal way to wreck Christmas completely! All those family members in the same place is bound to lead to some big arguments: all those conflicting desires, interminable family games, irritating brothers and sisters, exasperating parents. The perfect way to make you thoroughly miserable.
Fifth, make absolutely sure that you don’t help around the house. It’s not only giving things to others that can make you happy. Helping others is a very dangerous thing to do if you intend to be utterly miserable. So don’t even lift a finger. In fact, you could take it further than this: go out of your way to be deliberately obstructive. If someone asks you to do something, why not shout at them? Tell them to do it themselves, or remind them you’re not their slave. This will have the unhappy result that you’ll not only make yourself miserable, but all those around you, too, which will only increase your net misery even more.
Finally – and this one really is the most important – try to forget completely about the true meaning of Christmas. Don’t even think about the fact that Christmas is actually all about love, joy and peace, and other nasty virtues; forget that at the heart of the Christmas message is a spirit of generosity; don’t even think about the baby Jesus coming to earth to show God’s love and bring good news to the poor. Instead, focus on all the things that aren’t the true meaning of Christmas: eating and drinking in excess; getting presents you don’t need; spending money you don’t have. Under no circumstances should you step foot in a church during this season if you want to remain un-merry: you might just hear the Christmas story and that may put a smile on your face.
I wish you a very unhappy Christmas, and a miserable New Year!