It’s my favorite time of year, when every time I turn on the TV it seems another sparkling new, fresh-off-the-conveyer-belt holiday flick is on. Things are just simpler in the picturesque, low-budget lives of these Christmas-y folk, and in the midst of the real-life holiday season chaos, I sometimes find myself wishing that I too could live in a world where my biggest source of stress is the drama surrounding a white lights vs. colored debate in the Town Christmas Tree Committee. Thusly, I have created a simple and easy-to-follow guide that will allow anyone to transition their lives into the cheerful naivety of their favorite Made for TV Christmas movie.
Step 1: Quit your job immediately.
There is zero time for work during the holiday season, because celebrating Christmas properly is truly its own full-time job. In any singular day, you could be baking and constructing a gingerbread village, attending a fancy skating soiree, rescuing and befriending one of Santa’s reindeer, and spending hours upon hours elaborately plotting how to win this year’s Annual Snowman Building Contest–or similar town event–which is undoubtedly one of the most important days of your calendar year. The only people that work during the month of December are grandfatherly owners of the town general store, young professionals who have forgotten the meaning of Christmas, and greedy business executives. Anyone concerned with money around Christmastime has forgotten that the true meaning of Christmas is something money can’t buy, and with the baby Jesus on your side, your bills will learn how to pay themselves.
Step 2: Move to the smallest, coldest town you can find.
Ideally, you’d like to find a town with a population of 75 or less, so you can learn everyone’s names and personal history as quickly as possible. Additionally, it needs to be far enough from the equator that there is at least a foot of fresh snow on the ground at all times from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Don’t concern yourself with ever bothering to wear the proper snow gear or winter boots though, unless you’re going skiing or sledding. Take note that your entire holiday will revolve around whatever the big town event is on Christmas Eve, like a Tree Lighting in the square, or the school’s Holiday Concert, so don’t even think about making plans with your family that night.
Step 3: Throw out your entire wardrobe.
As a minimum, you should strive to always look like you just stepped off the pages of a holiday J. Crew catalog. Red and green will be staples of course, but doing it right is all in the details: Try a plaid scarved ensemble, or giant wooly sweaters layered with turtlenecks, or some whimsical wintry accent jewelry; Or even better, throw it all on at once. (Special Note: If you’re over the age of 50, your days of solid colors are over. Elaborate yarnwork and embroidered holiday patterns are your new basics. If you’re a grandmother and over the age of 80, you now live in a Christmas apron. Wear it like a uniform.)
Wearing all white can be acceptable, so long as it’s paired with something holiday, like a not-so-subtle Christmas brooch, or of course if you’re a newly crowned Christmas angel, back from the dead to fulfill someone’s Christmas wish. NEVER, EVER wear black–unless you’re a money-grubbing developer hellbent on cutting down the oldest fir tree in town. If all of these wardrobe rules overwhelm you, just use this simple, sure-fire method: Get dressed each morning and look in the mirror; If you don’t appear to have holiday cheer bleeding out of every orifice, slap on some more Christmas flair and get on your merry way!
Okay, so now that you have a few hundred Christmas sweaters and you’re all set up on unemployment in your teeny tiny, most likely mountainous, practically empty and probably economically-depressed town, here are some steadfast rules you must now live by:
Rule #1: Go big or go home.
You’re a Christmas professional now, so every holiday activity needs to be executed to the nth degree. Thinking of going caroling? Time to break out the top hats, bonnets, and matching knits, light a candle in your antique lantern, find an embroidered silk book cover to hold your sheet music, and enlist the neighborhood orphans to assist you in a five-part harmony. THAT’S the way to go caroling. Even the simplest holiday activity, like decorating Christmas cookies, is a full-fledged Christmas event: Involving the presence of all your friends and family, a tearful, moving monologue on the generations-long tradition of cookie-decorating in your family, and your great-grandfather’s dying wish that it passes down to your children’s children’s children.
Any time that’s not spent fretting about important matters, like finding the right camels for your front lawn’s live nativity scene, will be spent in the kitchen. You’ll no longer consume real food, holiday recipes only. (But remember that no one’s allowed to be fat but Santa, so spend a few hours making snow angels every day to burn those few extra ten thousand calories.) Get to work on perfecting your great-grandmother’s Weihnachtsrezepte recipe, make a few gallons of eggnog every morning so you can drink it like water, and start tackling the Feast of the Seven Fishes for a Tuesday night dinner in front of the TV. After an extra tough day of present-wrapping, skip the alcohol; You can now look forward to knocking back a hard mug of hot chocolate, with extra marshmallows.
Rule #2: Every problem needs to be resolved by Christmas Eve.
Love of your life moving to Paris and you need to tell them how you feel? There are apparently no phones in Paris, and the never-returning-flight leaves on Christmas Eve. Old Mr. Jenkins trying to raise enough money to save his store? The deadline before the greedy bank forecloses and the whole town collapses is Christmas Eve. Evil executives trying to (gasp!) make money off of Christmas?! The only way to thwart their diabolical plans of earning an income is to bombard them with Christmas magic, and remind them that worrying about paying their mortgage is missing what Christmas is all about!— but by Christmas Eve, when all major business deals close. If an issue arises in your life that may seem too complex for a Christmas Eve deadline, just ignore it. It can’t exist in your world anymore. If a problem isn’t resolved by then, no one knows what will happen. Maybe everyone just dies. You don’t want to be the one to find out.
Rule #3: Ignore the creepy behavior of any white-bearded, overweight stranger that makes allusions to being an all-knowing, see-you-when-you’re-sleeping kinda guy.
Unless of course, you’re the town’s 12-year-old outcast, who figures out the new school janitor’s real job and somehow helps him to save Christmas (by Christmas Eve). If you’re an adult, there’s no need to be concerned that a fat, hairy old man who’s always alone and keeps a massive collection of children’s toys on hand is hanging around town, trying to befriend your kids. This old fellow constantly
stalking showing up just to drop mysterious hints about knowing all the intimate details of your personal life and childhood with a twinkle in his eye is not a problem. It’s also not worrisome at all that he knows everyone’s names, even though no one has seen him before the month of December, and that he pretty much only hangs out with lonely children…………… He’s probably fine.
Rule #4: Fall in love on the most surface level possible.
Forget deep talks, common interests or future goals. None of that is necessary anymore. The only real confirmation you need that you’ve found your soulmate, is a five-minute conversation where you each confess how sad your childhood Christmases were to explain your lonely, Grinch-like state, and an impromptu and romantic snowball fight. Your first kiss, paired with a bold declaration of love after the handful of magical days you’ve known each other, has to wait until Christmas Eve–preferably at nighttime during snowfall–and it must happen either under some mistletoe, or framed in front of a Christmas tree. Lastly–and this is very, very important–if you do fall in love around Christmas, you only have about 3 months to get pregnant, so get crackin’. This is just law. The next time you’re seen in front of a Christmas tree, you better have a bouncing baby on your lap, because how else will anyone know that you’re happy?
That just about covers it, folks. Now that you have all the essential tools you need, be away with you to forget all your responsibilities, ignore your better judgements and live your life through the magic of TV Christmas!