Ah, Christmas. The most wonderful time of year, right? Wrong. If the movies have taught us anything, it's that the festive period can see danger lurking around every corner. But fear not. From the perils of Christmas shopping to, erm, terrorist situations, we've come up with 15 lessons that Hollywood has taught us about the most common crises of Santa's busiest time of the year.
Don't allow a snake near your Christmas tree
Or it could also be a lesson to never mix up Christmas and Halloween. Two equally excellent celebrations, but two completely separate ones. No one told The Nightmare Before Christmas' Jack Skellington though and despite his best efforts, his take on Christmas is, frankly, a travesty. None more so than the greedy snake who decides to eat both the presents and the tree. And don't get us started on the Jack-in-the-Box. They were creepy enough already.
Avoid eating all of the advent calendar chocolate
A chocolate a day is the best thing about the lead-up to Christmas, but everyone has thought about devouring all the advent calendar chocolate in one go at some point in their lives. Billy Bob Thornton certainly did in Bad Santa and immediately regretted the decision to do so. It's clearly impossible to mend an empty advent calendar and, look, while we appreciate a candy corn as much as the next person, it's no Dairy Milk is it?
Follow instructions on new pets
A dog is not just for Christmas, and a Mogwai is not something you can treat as an ordinary pet. Ignore instructions on watering and feeding, and you'll find yourself in a town over-run by homicidal Gremlins who off your science teacher and try to do the same with your mother. Should you find yourself in the situation though despite our best efforts, just hire a local cinema to play Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and acquire some explosives.
Always have a lot of spare maple syrup
We've all been there. You're just about to serve up spaghetti to your favourite neighbourhood elf, but you're completely out of maple syrup. If you're hosting Buddy (Will Ferrell) in Elf, then he comes with his own spare bottle and your problem is solved. Any other elf though and you're not satisfying one of their main food groups, so you better have some candy, candy canes or candy corns handy too.
Always carry around duct tape and spare shoes
Necessary for when a terrorist decides to hold up your wife at Christmas - and you actually want to get her back. Not only will you be able to carry out the John McClane (Bruce Willis) patented way of concealing a weapon from Die Hard, but you'll be able to do so without bloodied feet if you've brought spare shoes. After all, once the terrorists know you're there, what's the point in creeping around barefoot on broken glass? Just maybe don't wear white trainers; we hear blood is a nightmare to clean.
Never travel at Christmas
Christmas is a time for family, not for being marooned on a desert island. So whatever you do, don't follow Chuck's (Tom Hanks) lead in Cast Away and go on a work trip to Malaysia during the festive period. Otherwise, you will crash and end up spending your next four years with just a volleyball for company. And, yes, Wilson might be the best friend you've ever had, but he doesn't compare to an evening of board games and bad TV.
Never go Christmas shopping
Why? Because if you're lawyer Robert (Will Smith) in Enemy of the State, you'll be lumbered with incriminating evidence that will have you hunted down by government agents which will really put a dampener on getting the turkey done. Or if you're Harry (Alan Rickman) in Love Actually, your wife will find an expensive necklace in your coat and then realise you're having an affair when she only gets a CD. Stick with online shopping, it's quicker and you don't have to deal with people.
Double-check your Christmas tree for illegal drugs
It's the age-old debate: real or artificial Christmas tree? Riggs (Mel Gibson) in Lethal Weapon might have wished he went for the latter. Instead, he found himself in a shoot-out with drug dealers in a Christmas tree yard, pine needles and bullets flying everywhere. It did at least teach us a vital lesson in that the white powder on your tree isn't necessarily fake snow... So, you know, probably best to not play around with it.
Be as mean as possible, and youll get to hang out with ghosts
Secretly, everyone wants to time travel, and if we follow the advice of the likes of Scrooge or Muppets Christmas Carol, all we need to do is be mean to everyone. Sounds simple enough, right? So get away from the family arguments this Christmas - or maybe start a few - and take a trip with time-hopping ghosts. Granted, you'll have to see what people REALLY think about you, but it's a small price to pay to hang out with the Muppets.
Never pretend to be Santa, you'll end up in prison
It's all well and good dressing up as Santa to keep the dream alive for your children, but keep it within your own house. Too many mince pies and too much brandy at midnight might persuade you to step outside and start ho ho ho-ing to random strangers. There will only be one result: like Kris Kringle (Richard Attenborough) in Miracle on 34th Street (1994), you will be arrested and potentially eating prison gruel rather than pigs in blankets on Christmas Day.
Use suitable equipment to put the star on the Christmas tree
It seemed like a good idea at the time. What could possibly go wrong in using a bouncy sofa to put the star on the top of the Christmas tree? A lot as it turns out as Buddy (Ferrell) discovers in Elf. Triumphantly failing to get the elevation needed, he at least carries out a public service in showing a sofa's not the ideal equipment for the job. A trampoline on the other hand...
Leave the man on your roof alone
No one wants to wake to the sound of someone on your roof but maybe if it's Christmas Eve night, it's best to leave it alone. Otherwise, like Scott (Tim Allen) in The Santa Clause, you'll startle Santa Clause, make him fall off the roof and disappear, before being persuaded to put on the suit and finish Santa's job. Before you know it, several hundred pounds of weight and a new white hairdo later, Christmas Eve will become the busiest day of the year for you. And no one wants to be working on Christmas Eve.
Make sure to check you have every member of the family with you
We've all wanted to leave an irritating sibling behind before jetting off somewhere, yet even we think it's a tad harsh to do it over Christmas. That's exactly what the McCallister family do to Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) in Home Alone. Sure, it doesn't initially bother him, but that's before he has to ingeniously outwit a pair of burglars. So the lesson really is that is you have to leave someone behind, make sure he has some fireworks, tar, glue and paint cans lying around. Oh, and a snow shovel.
Never throw a lit cigarette out of the window
Perhaps more specifically, never attempt to throw a lit giant blunt out of the window. Why? Because, as we saw in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, it will catch a gust of wind and blow back in via another window and land exactly where you don't want it to: your Christmas tree. All those painstaking hours of draping tinsel and hanging baubles down the drain and, most devastatingly, no more chocolate for you.
Don't rip up Christmas lists
No doubt about it, families can be annoying at Christmas. Yet that's still no reason to unleash a killer demon on them like Max (Emjay Anthony) does in Krampus. After a family argument, Max decides not to post his Santa letter and instead tear it up and throw it out of the window. Bad move. Before he knows it, his family fall foul of a carnivorous Jack-in-the-Box, malevolent gingerbread men, nasty elves and a teddy bear with anger issues. Drunken charades doesn't sound all that bad now, does it?