1) Don’t Spend it Hung-over: During my drinking days, I’ve spent many a bleary day retching over the stench of softly dissolving Brussels over-boiling in a steamy kitchen and clutching my head whilst weeping softly. Do: Avoid the demon drink the night before or better still, stay drunk. No one minds at Christmas time. You’re not classed as an alcoholic unless the bender stretches on till at least mid January. Just check that your insurance is enough to cover rehab. Being drunk might even make Noel Edmonds seem bearable...well...maybe not. That would need Class A’s.
(Seriously people: look after your liver and sanity by avoiding excessive alcohol and Mr Edmonds).
2) Don’t Spend it With Your Family: Unless you come from Walton Mountain or are working on keeping enough goodwill going to seal an inheritance, then these people are best avoided. They’ll only grate on your nerves and remind you of something embarrassing you did when you were six. You’ll be wincing at the fact you share genes with these people by the time the Queen’s Speech is on and demanding that they tell you that you were adopted. Do: Spend time with your chosen family: your friends. They say blood is thicker than water but unless you’re like one of those creeps from those pappy “Twilight” films, then blood isn’t as refreshing to drink.
3) Don’t Break Up With Anyone: I got dumped once at 6pm on Christmas Eve and it wasn’t pleasant: for anyone. I sobbed through Christmas Dinner, drank my way through a bottle of wine during a Disney Pixar film whilst proclaiming what a tragic story it was and then collapsed in a heap. The next day, I was fine again, if a little embarrassed. Do: Keep some perspective. It’s not easy to remember this with a million advertising images of joyous plastic families and smiling couples everywhere, but not everyone is happy on Christmas Day. It would be a true miracle if they were. It is after all, just a day and like any other, it passes: slowly, but it passes. Lots of people are alone, unwell, bereaved or heartbroken. Huge arrays of people are working too. If you want cheering up then look up the stats on the darker side of the season. I’m not giving the plot away if I reveal that your chances of breaking up or down and running up crippling debts are significantly increased by Yuletide efforts.
4) Don’t Spend One Final Christmas With Someone You’re About to Split Up From: I tried this once as a misguided emotional gesture and ended up with a scenario akin to that of a bad Christmas soap plot. I ended up with a plateful of turkey in my face and actually got smacked with a Christmas tree and had a mild concussion. Luckily the gravy washed out of my good clothes. Fact: Soap operas may be fun to watch but not so thrilling to enact. Do: Escape well before December even rears its ugly head. It’s infinitely better to be single than in a bad relationship. I just wish I’d known this when I was younger. Get yourself out of there and on the market again or spend time recovering. It’ll be more fun than picking pine needles out of your scalp.
5) Don’t Feel That It’s Compulsory: You do have a choice. If people disapprove of what you want to do on the 25th of December then that’s their problem. It’s your life: assert yourself. Do: Try to enjoy whatever you do with your time off and if you’re working, then feel smug that you’re missing out on all that bickering over the TV remote and enforced games of drunken Charades.
As for me, I’ll be the one hiding in an old Anderson Shelter, slowly sucking a vintage Valium and waiting for it all to be over, before emerging, triumphant, and slimmer in late December. Enjoy!