The Christmas Survival Guide: Part One

By Kate Henley

I’m one of those people at Christmas time. I love almost everything about it. I was playing festive tunes by the end of November, I absolutely adore finding perfect presents and I’ll happily wrap your presents if you want me to. And the glitter. Oh, the glitter.

Rarely am I joined in my early celebrations. Or my frequent singing of fa-la-la-la-la. I know Christmas can often seem a chore, especially if the day itself isn’t spent with only two people and there are plenty of small children and drunken relatives there to clog your Christmas spirit.

Willing to believe it or not, it is possible to eliminate a percentage of the stress that comes with the season to be jolly and enjoy the build up to Christmas.

The DOs and DON'Ts of surviving the run up to Christmas

- DO get your present shopping done as early as possible. Don’t you roll your eyes at me. Jot down everyone you need to buy for, what they’d like and how much you’re willing to spend on each person. Spread your shopping out by starting early and keep a note of how much you’re spending. That way you don’t overspend on anyone and you can check each person off, eliminating them from your mind so that you can focus on someone else. You’ll save yourself the last minute panic and unnecessary splurges. If you can, do the majority online. So much easier.

Spread out the inevitable expensive food shop too. Pick up a few things like tins of chocolates and the Christmas pud on each weekly shop.

DON’T stress those who will never be pleased. If year after year a certain relative or friend continues to be unsatisfied with their gift or another of your festive efforts, and you know that this year will be no exception, banish their expected complaints from your mind. Rather than waste all your time and effort finding something they’ll really like (but still won’t anyway), choose something super easy and be done with it. Concentrate on those who appreciate your thoughtful gifts.

There will always be those who put zero effort into what they buy you or anyone else, so practise your incredibly pleased face and grateful thank you in advance.

- DO the wrapping in one go and don’t leave it until Christmas Eve. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be thrilled by all the colourful wrapping paper and extravagant ribbons and feel satisfied with each perfectly wrapped rectangular present (weirdly shaped boxes are what gift bags are for). But I fear that I am alone in this. Set aside an evening and turn to a large glass (of three) of your favourite tipple, some mince pies and Love Actually for company and power on through that wrapping, lady!

If you’d rather just go for the film and the food, buy some cheap traditional stockings, fill them with each person’s presents and throw a handful of chocolate coins and candy canes into each one.

- DO Buy any nephews, nieces or young cousins toys that you used to love/will thoroughly enjoy. That way you can join in, avoiding all adult conversation about the lack of ring on your finger and giving the impression that you are, in fact, a complete saint whilst you regain the youthful giddiness that you used to experience each Christmas.

"Tired Salesgirl, X-mas Eve" by Norman Rockwell via X Ray Delta One

Tue, 04 Dec 2012 14:00 (GMT+00)
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