Christmas is nearly here! Festive fun, presents, family and good food. Well that’s the finished result anyway. What about all of the hard work before it gets to the fun part? Months of budgeting, shopping, wrapping, planning meals, organising family and remembering to move the elf on the shelf every night! As much as we love it, it can be very stressful or, at the very least, very tiring. Here are some tips for surviving the Christmas pitfalls:
• DON’T GO INTO CHRISTMAS DAY HUNGOVER
Like chess, the first move is possibly the most important. If your first move was to get completely a bit drunk on Christmas Eve, then you are destined to spend the day lying on the living room floor in the foetal position, as younger cousins use your forehead as a Lego base.
• GET WORKING ON YOUR ‘BAD PRESENT ACCEPTANCE’ SMILE
A skill that can take years to truly hone. The fake smile is as much about curling your lips into a general happy shape as it is convincing with your eyes. Try to avoid that dead-eyed stare when opening up a packet of socks or the latest album from Little Mix.
• DON’T GIVE PRESENTS YOU’RE ASHAMED OF
The ‘give bad presents, receive bad presents’ pattern is a continuous cycle of disappointment. It can be tempting to wrap anything up just to fulfil your present quota for the year, but the moment you watch your Dad open a Top Gear boxset is also the moment you realise you’ve short-changed the man who you like to call father.
Emotions can run high at this time of year. Good communication is key. Ask for help if you need it. Write a list of tasks for the family to pitch in with and ask for their support. It can be exciting to all get involved in Christmas together.
• TREAT YOURSELF
When you are rushing around buying all the presents and wrapping them lovingly, don’t forget about you too. Reward yourself for all of your hard work and buy yourself a treat. You can even wrap it if you want!
• IF YOU’RE NOT COOKING DINNER DON’T COMPLAIN. ABOUT ANYTHING
There’s time and a place for being a food critic and the Christmas dinner table is not it. The meat could be like sandpaper and the gravy could taste like Bovril – if you’ve done nothing to contribute then keep quiet or you could end up on a particularly depressing episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show.
• CHRISTMAS TV IS COMMUNAL
Compromise is everything and Christmas television is all about working for the greater good, even if it does involve sitting through a Mrs. Brown’s Boy Christmas Special.
• BE PATIENT WITH OLD PEOPLE AND BOARD GAMES
After-dinner games can be a struggle after the general Christmas booze consumption, so give your elderly relatives a break before you start ruthlessly shouting at them for not knowing how to draw Forrest Gump in Pictionary.
• REMEMBER IT’S JUST ONE DAY A YEAR
Most of all, enjoy it. Christmas Day should be full of festive cheer – a Yuletide annual one-off where you get together with loved ones. That should be enough to help you survive any potential teething problems.