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Top 10 tips for surviving Christmas

Eat, drink and stay merry over the festive season

Christmas is upon us! As well as being a joyous time of eating, drinking and being merry, for many people the festive season can be one of the most stressful times of the year.

Get the most out of the festive season

Christmas shopping and its associated costs, family gatherings, social engagements, food and alcohol – can all put strain on you – sometimes making you wish you hadn’t bothered.

So what can you do to survive the season and come out the other end actually feeling you have had a break, rather than feeling in desperate need of one? We have compiled 10 top tips to ensure you get the most out of the festive season and make it through relatively unscathed…

Plan ahead

Too many people spend weeks worrying about getting the shopping done – it's far easier to do it when you first start thinking about it. Start stocking up with the supplies as soon as possible – try getting a few items over the remaining weeks leading up to Christmas along with your regular shopping. As for presents, a great tip is to have an emergency supply, just a few small gifts to save you from embarrassment in the event of someone arriving unexpectedly with a prezzie for you.

Don’t embarrass yourself at the work Christmas ‘do’

Our partying generally starts with the work’s Christmas do. Of course, it is the time to let your hair down – but not at any cost! All too often people go a bit too far and then live to regret it. If you don’t care what an idiot you make of yourself, then go ahead, just make sure you are not causing a nuisance to anybody else. However, if you’re the type who is going spend the next six months red faced after kissing the office nerd, then just remember to take things easy.

Don’t over-inflate your expectations

Don’t expect to create the ‘perfect’ Christmas as it’s near likely to fall short of your expectations. The most important thing is for you and your family to have fun. That does not mean landing yourself in debt for the next 12 months by buying expensive gifts – just spending a bit of time together can be the best present. Remember, if something does not go quite to plan, it really is not the end of the world.

Don’t try and do everything

If you are responsible for cooking and hosting the Christmas Day activities, then don’t take it all upon yourself. Why not ask other family members to bring different parts of the meal, such as snacks, salads or desserts – don’t be afraid to ask for help. You could even rope in the kids to help out. Make sure you have some time for YOU, even if it's just allowing yourself to watch one special TV show that you really want to see.

Everything in moderation

Christmas seems to be all about excess – but there is not much enjoyment in feeling the size of a padded Santa suit or as stuffed as the festive turkey! The best advice is moderation – apply it to everything you eat and drink. Drink moderate amounts of alcohol and try to alternate soft drinks or water with alcoholic ones. As for food, have a bit of what you fancy but try not to stuff your face if you can help it!

Rehydrate

If you have overdone it on the alcohol, then it is important to get yourself back on an even keel. Even if you have been good, taking our advice consuming non-alcoholic drinks in between – the chances are you could still be feeling pretty rough. Don’t just sit there feeling ill – get up and drink plenty of water and diluted fruit juice to help your liver recover and eventually remove the hangover.

Get active the morning after

As soon as you are feeling remotely human, and your chances of throwing up have lessened, then think about doing some exercise. A brisk walk, light jog or swim will help work off those extra roast potatoes and all those second helpings you may have had. Getting active will also help you feel normal again, dispel any festive cabin fever and help repair some of the damage you have done to yourself.

Sleep

Sleeping is the time when our bodies recover from the excesses of life. Drinking and eating too much can severely affect our sleep patterns, as can the frequent late nights that are a regular occurrence during the festive period. Over Christmas and New Year, many people are sleep-starved leaving them not fit for much after a few late nights, let alone being the life and soul of the party. Therefore, make sure you get some quality sleep – even if it is just a few hours.

Time off

If possible, plan your holidays so that you are not forced into going in to work over the festive period. Many people try burning the candle at both ends, combining parties and work, and end up completely knackered. Time off in the run up to Christmas will prevent you from being overworked and overstressed by the time it arrives, so you will be in a better position to enjoy the whole experience.

Don't be on your own

If you are concerned about being lonely over Christmas, either being single or unable to spend it with family, then do something about it now. Think about inviting a few others over who are in the same boat as you and consider offering your house as a venue for the event. Also try not to turn down any invitations to other festive events, provided that you are giving yourself a chance to recover in between!

A final word…

Christmas should be fun but if you find that previous years have not been enjoyable then consider doing something about it – try something different. One way would just be to get away from it all and remove the majority of the hassle from the whole festive experience. Although – we all know how stressful preparing for a holiday can be!

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