Financial TimesFinancial Times

Why you shouldn’t try to achieve for the perfect Christmas

By Tim Harford

16 Dec 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

Do you aim to create a "perfect" Christmas? The Financial Times gives some fascinating insights into how we can think about the festive period in a more insightful way.

A strange thing happened to me one Christmas Day afternoon. I was a young adolescent, certainly not too old to enjoy sweets and gifts and the inevitable Bond movie on the telly. Yet after the presents had been unwrapped, and the turkey and pudding consumed, I found myself feeling deflated. I took to my bedroom and lay down in the December dark. When my father found me, I tearfully complained: Christmas was already over, but it wasn’t even four o’clock.

It was all a little juvenile, but then, so was I. Yet perhaps my bout of sadness reflected something more universal. Didn’t Alexander weep because there were no more worlds to conquer? (Possibly not.) We busy humans are always looking ahead to the moment our goals are achieved. And then what? The feeling of emptiness often stalks the feeling of accomplishment like a shadow.

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