Step 1: Embrace the Joy Phase
Step 2: Enter the Determination Phase
This is where you sell your soul to the Christmas Spirit and diligently make lists of gifts for all your 40 relatives and buy all the Christmas shopping on behalf of whoever usually does it. Can you trust them to do it? No. You cannot. You must do it ALL yourself. That's the golden rule.
View this phase as a fantastic opportunity to browse the kid's toys section of K-mart where all the cool stuff hides like Sylvanian Families and Dino-Eggs. Not buying for any kids? Got a second cousin twice removed who in under 13? Does someone on your street have a kid? Yes? Buy gifts for them. You have to. Or Christmas is ruined. And don't forget the golden rule.
Fig 1.2 Get thoroughly bent on creating something perfect and downright magical, on your own, for everyone.
Step 3: Overcoming the Panic Phase
The panic phase will probably hit sometime after you have spent all your money on gifts for people you barely know and spent hours baking Christmas cakes and renovating your home for guests. They are probably not going to get your anything.
It's best for me to prepare you for this phase because if you let it bring you down, you will probably stop your insane pilgrimage for the Perfect Christmas. You might start to feel that you shouldn't be slaving to get gifts for people who will get you nothing. You might feel that making homemade chocolates to put on your guests pillows is unecessary.
It's important to be armed with realistic facts to help get your through. Remember, your goal is not a mediocre, weak, baby Christmas. You are going to get the real thing!
Fig 1.3 Why must you do it ALL yourself? Because everyone else is incompetent and they don't understand you. Face it like a man.
Step 4: Getting your Competitve Edge.
Don't let the fact that no-one cares about you or Christmas bring you down. In fact, you can use this successfully to your advantage.
The key is a Survivor Spirit. How do you survive? By getting fierce and dangerous. It doesn't matter that you have no money left and you aren't sleeping at night. Life is tough. You're a soldier and you will deal with it.
Foster a survivor spirit by thinking about how intense your Christmas is going to be compared to everyone else's stupid relaxed holiday. It will be the most Christmassy Christmas ever and failing is not an option.
Fig 1.4 I will win.
Step 5: The Big Event
Attack Christmas with the swiftness of a true Christmas Freak. Get up at 6am to get the Ham on it's timer.
Visit at least 3 relatives and have a meal, present-opening and Christmas carols at each place.
Play with screaming babies.
Invite 24 people for dinner. Make sure you hire tables that can't quite fit in your dining room.
Encourage people to leave their wrapping paper on the floor once they have ripped it off the gifts you spent hours wrapping. It will give you something to do later.
Step 6: The Anti-Climax
You will feel utterly exhausted. You might start saying things like, "I'm all Christmassed out" or "That was too much Christmas. I don't really feel the need to do Christmas next year."
This is completely normal. Whatever you do, don't have a nap!
By vehemently denying your stress levels you may be able to maintain enough trauma that your brain will block out any unpleasant memories, so that - here's hoping - you can go through it all again next year!
Happy next-Christmas everyone!