12 Fun and Effortless Ways to Remain in a State of Constant Guilt During Christmas

Are you doing everything you could be in order to stay miserable?

Image: KellyB.

It’s near the end of 2016 and granted, we are allowed to be a little bitter. I’m not suggesting hide in a bunker (yet) but maybe this year it would be a good idea to opt out of the forced caroling/brought to you by commercialism/come sit on Santa’s lap/candy cane sugar-rush and Peppermint Schnapps hangover of Christmas. Instead, why not try a state of constant guilt? You’ll feel like you’re trying to be a better person but quickly reminded you’re not trying hard enough. Plus, it’ll get you outside.

Tip 1: Make a Christmas List!

Your parents call you to ask if you are serious about a 93-item Amazon wish list. You look at their Christmas card on your fridge: it’s the two of them in June on the Italy trip. You were invited but said ‘you didn’t have enough vacation days at your internship.’ Stare at the emptiness between them, where you should’ve been: Why haven’t you taught them how to use FaceTime yet?

Tip 2: Google Places to Volunteer!

There are so many people and animals that need help but you have a hangover scheduled for this Sunday. Stare at your reflection in the black mirror of your computer screen: What happened to you that makes you hate small dogs so much?

Tip 3: Attend Your Office Holiday Party!

In order to keep your internship, be only the second most drunk person there. Go to the copy room and Xerox your face because it will be hilarious. Look at your printed reflection: God, when did you become such a cliché? And at what point did Office Space stop being funny and become so real?

Tip 4: Visit Your Parents!

After watching nine hours of television and eating too much cheese, go through your high school yearbooks. Look at yourself in your senior portrait: Are you actually nostalgic for this time or do you simply wish you didn’t have to pay student loans?

Tip 5: Pick Out the Perfect Gifts for Your Friends!

Don’t buy them because you don’t have enough money. Show up with a six pack of beer to their party. As the bowl gets passed around, have some of their weed but don’t offer yours. Find your reflection contoured in the smoke: Do you even know what’s going on in Syria right now?

Tip 6: Go to Mass!

Yikes, that’s a lot of crying babies in one room. Use the restroom during the homily. Wash your face, remind yourself that yes, you too, were a baby once. Stare at your reflection in the mirror: Why don’t you have any friends that celebrate Kwanzaa?

Tip 7: Purchase Christmas Decorations!

Buy an Advent Calendar on Dec 23 and eat all the chocolate at once while watching The Real World. Get a headache and a stomachache at the same time. Find your reflection in one of the plastic windows of the calendar, the right light might be needed but the window is small enough to witness one teardrop: Would the people around you be happier if you start being polite and stop being real?

Tip 8: Leave Cookies out for Santa Claus!

Sext something festive to someone who’ll maybe sext you back. As you wait for those three marching dots, take a selfie of your flushed face and reflect: Is it weird that you’ve seen every episode of Celebrity Apprentice?

Tip 9: Give Money to Salvation Army!

Keep one penny. Stare at Abraham Lincoln’s face: Why did he have to die so young?

Tip 10: Meet Your Neighbors!

Ideally, on Christmas Eve, Take a walk around your neighborhood during a light snowfall. Notice that huge tree in your neighbor’s window. Walk through their front yard and right up to the glass pane. Wow, it’s really beautiful. And look: your neighbors’ kids are playing under the tree while their parents sit on a couch and drink (probably very expensive) wine. Look at that untouched cheese plate on the ottoman! How can they let that cheese just sit there? Damn, it’s like a modern Norman Rockwell painting. I mean, this couple can’t be more than 8 years older than you — can you possibly see yourself here in 8 years? And ‘here’ meaning being able to resist that cheese? When your breath fogs up the window, wipe it away but the noise attracts the attention of your neighbors to you — the creeper.


Tip 11: Be with the Children!

Find your reflection in the eyes of a child whose innocence is draining away because you just told him that Santa Claus isn’t real: How do you know if you’re an alcoholic?

Tip 12: Listen to Christmas Music!

Once you hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” for the 100th time in a public setting, take an aluminum bat (that you have on you at all times for such a scenario) and smash the speakers. Jump atop a table and scream “Mariah Carey knows not what she wants! She knows not!” Put replacement speakers on your Amazon wish list. Find your reflection in the CCTV video: Is this the meaning of Christmas?

Madeline Hester lives in Chicago now. She’s on Twitter, but mostly Instagram.