For many people, Christmas is the worst time of the year. Heightened expectations never to be met, crap songs you'd had enough of in 1992, presents good only for landfill or the charity shop. Ungrateful children. It's terrible.
Christmas pudding and a bit of time off work if you're lucky is all there is to celebrate, and even nowadays the internet makes being at home the same as being at work, so time off is hardly time off at all.
But you can take the power back. You have the technology to ruin it for everyone else!
Running Christmas for everyone is perhaps a bit petty, but still. When you're expected to laugh and cry on demand for the benefit of family and major brands year after year, spending money you don't have on things no one wants that fulfil no actual purpose, who can blame someone for wanting to spoil things?
Just don't get caught. Do these things. But maybe not all of them, or someone might die from the stress of it all.
Rearrange the EPG
Imagine if it went BBC1, BBC2, Dave, France 24, Ideal World, Tiny Pop, Dave, Channel 4, then maybe Kerrang whenever someone tried to exert control over the entertainment.
No one would want to be in charge of the remote - except YOU, with your secret list of direct access channel numbers. After all, what is Christmas about if not about exerting control?
Pre-drain The Batteries
A rogue grandparent who didn't get the memo about only wanting sustainable wooden products for little Arya and Joffrey this year will, inevitably, blow £60 on a plastic piece of rubbish that takes six AAAs and has an American teen shouting things like "Come on! Let's attack the base!" and "Hey, I'm a feminist too!" at a gratingly low sample rate.
So what you want to do is take all the AAA batteries in the house and pre-drain them by sticking them in a torch for 8-12 hours (longer in LED models) in the days before Christmas. That way, even if the children are clever enough to pillage batteries from elsewhere using knife tips as rudimentary screwdrivers, they ought to be dead in time for when Christmas Top of the Pops starts. The batteries, not the children.
Block "Nuisance" Callers
By nuisance we mean everyone, particularly people who watch TV and therefore only phone in advert breaks when it's convenient for THEM. If you're using a DECT phone bought in the last two decades it ought to be possible to send some numbers straight to voicemail or block them altogether.
Failing that, unplug it at the wall and say it must've come out when you were vacuuming in excitement. Watch tensions rise as loved ones fail to call!
Throttle the internet
You don't want a room full of people all streaming their own things - it means your HD downloads on the "main" computer may not be ready. Can't have that. Buy a router that supports QoS (Quality of Service) tools and lets you allocate 95% of the bandwidth to your important things, so no one can kill the mood by forcing everyone to gather round a tablet for a Skype session with a relative who wangled out of being there.
Also, by teaching a child that technology doesn't always match the advertised claims on the box, you're actually doing them a favour. Never again will they be excited about getting something.
Undercook the potatoes
One of the many unsettling things about Christmas is how no one's allowed to admit they're not having an amazing time. You could serve people raw potatoes and they'd still sit there crunching away, pretending everything's great and exactly like the television adverts. It's a long-game tactic. The worse time they have this year, the more likely you'll have the entirely solitary Christmas you want and deserve next year.
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