About this time of year things start to get pretty busy. There's the wind-down at work, which inevitably involves madcap finishing off of things before the holidays. There's the gift buying and wrapping, the coordinating of Christmas Day menus, not to mention timetables, and there's the fact that everybody else is as harried and harrassed as you are.
Add to this a fair amount of alcohol-related merriment, and the whole thing becomes about as relaxing as getting a deep tissue massage...from a serial killer. Lucky for you that you've got me and all my accumulated Christmassy wisdom on hand to help guide you through these choppy festive waters. Sit back, relax and enjoy the alphabeticised advice.
A is for Angels - Yeah, some people seem to be of the opinion that their children have halos and wings and fart strawberries and can have the run of the place because "Christmas is for the kids". I'm of the opinion that Christmas is a day for family, which includes people of all ages. As far as I'm aware "angels" don't go hyper on food colouring and try to strangle the nearest family pet with perfectly good Christmas ribbon.
B is for Berocca - If your work Christmas do is this evening, do yourself a favour and pick up some fortifying vitamin-enriched fizzy tablets at the nearest convenience store beforehand. To be honest I'm not sure how effective these are in fighting a hangover but at the very least the warm radioactive glow from your pee, in combination with the Christmas lights you'll inexplicably find draped round your neck like Liberace's scarf in the morning, will get you in the festive mood.
C is for Chocolate - This time of year is hell for anyone on a diet. Chocolate santas to the left, truffles to the right. Here a treat, there a treat, everywhere a foil-wrapped goody giving you the come-on. If you know for a fact that you don't have the willpower to say "no thanks" then just bite the bullet (rather than that cameo creme from the biscuit sampler) and tell people that you just found out you're diabetic. That'll stop them waving sugary temptation in your face. Plus you might get brownie points for being "brave".
D is for Dieting - Unless you've followed the advice above (see C is for Chocolate) then don't even bother with sticking to whatever restrictions you've placed on yourself. Go whole hog and wear the closest thing to a tent that you can find, something like this, perhaps. If you're going to feel ashamed and guilty you may as well feel comfortable.
E is Esque-ercise - On the actual day this could take the form of dragging the BBQ out of the shed, lifting sackloads of toys into the car, or perhaps you'd prefer to work up a sweat dancing around the fact that you don't really care for your in-laws. In any event, getting a little physical movement can only be good for you, especially if it means you put some distance between yourself and cousin's boyfriend who thinks that the only true religion that matters is Holden vs Ford.
F is for Finding a park - You know how you've got a ton of stuff to get done and no time to do it? So does everyone else so chances are they are heading to the mall at the same time as you. It WILL take you much longer than usual to find a park. Be prepared for this fact ahead of time and it will cut down on the stress. Or you could just park some distance away and get some esque-ercise into the bargain. What? Are your legs painted on?
G is for Games - Do not underestimate the power of board games. It's a scientifically proven fact that board games such as Monopoly, Risk and Guess who? have a sedative effect useful in counteracting sugar-induced hysteria in young people. Also you can smack them in the head with the board if they don't calm the hell down on their own (but don't because violence is NOT OK, but sometimes it is necessary).
H is for Hitting the wall - Everything will be fine on Christmas Day, and you'll start to think "hey, this isn't so bad" and then you will find yourself becoming irritated for no apparent reason. This can happen when you've been in the company of your family for a few hours. Just take a deep breath and have a wee glass of something soothing.
I is for "I can't believe they let you out looking like that" - I have often been guilty of a bit of themed dressing at Christmas time. The wearing of antlers, for instance. A pair of gaudy earrings perhaps, but at least I never did this, or this, or this. Nor should you, just in case you were wondering.
J is for Juice - Some people apparently drink this instead of wine/lager/grandad's homebrew that's been in the shed for several years and everyone is too afraid to touch let alone drink. Takes all sorts I s'pose.
K is for Kissing - Christmas means kissing people who you don't necessarily know that well or may not see again for a long time, which is fine if you're on a Christmas bus trip and have had rather too much Lindauer Fraise (NB any amount is too much) but stone cold sober at a family gathering where there seem to be a lot of "extendeds" and hangers-on, not so much fun. If you are a woman go with the air kiss. If you are a man you can also go for an air kiss and start some rumours about your sexuality.
L is for Love - You love your family (yes, you do) and the meal and you really, really, really love the Twilight pillowcase with Edward Cullen's face on it and how did you know that's exactly what I wanted? Sometimes you just have to take one for the team (Edward, Jacob or Just shoot me).
M is for Masses, the - If you're going to subject yourself to the insanity that is a mall right before Christmas, don't expect it to be a leisurely undertaking. Gird up thy loins beforehand, have an escape plan, and avoid the food court at all costs.
N is for No evidence means it never happened - Christmas work functions have more disaster potential than any other kind of event because though your friends and family know your faults and foibles your workmates only suspect them. The important thing is to erase any and all incriminating photos from existence. This may mean stealing a number of mobile phones but depending on what you got up to it might be worth it.
O is for Oscar - You really should be receiving one for that performance with the Twilight pillowcase (see L is for Love) but they'll probably just give it to Sir Ian McKellen or some other luvvie. Your genius will never be known to the world at large, but if it makes you feel better you can recite a little acceptance speech
P is for Pogues, the - Responsible for one of the best Christmas songs ever written which features a couple abusing each other with such loving endearments as "scumbag", "maggot" and "old slut". Ah, it truly captures the spirit of Christmas and also has a tin whistle, which means you just might be able to slip it past Grandma without her twigging to some of the more "gritty" content.
Q is for Queen Elizabeth II - Does anyone still tune into her Christmas day message? I think I like the retro appeal of it. Can anyone tell me what kind of material she does? Any fart jokes?
R is for Real Christmas tree vs plastic - I used to think this mattered. Now I don't. The fact of the matter is that they BOTH drop needles on the floor that will need to be vacuumed up. Pine trees may smell nice and piney but fake trees kind of smell like tinsel, which has its own charm. Whichever you have, the cats will go nuts with the ornaments.
S is for Seizures - If you are prone to these, stay away from the Christmas tree. I swear some of the sequencing on certain sets of Christmas lights is like Rave night at a Czechoslovakian nightclub. Wear sunglasses if necessary.
T is for Tired - Christmas makes you tired. It makes everyone tired. Try not to get crotchety at others in favour of adopting a "we're all in the same boat" mentality. You, know like people who are actually in a boat, adrift, with no hope of rescue...
U is for Unsatisfying sex - Apparently everyone has to put up with this sometimes, even Jesus' mum. So don't feel bad about it if all the Christmas stress gets to you and your loved one.
V is for Viggo Mortensen - Has been on my Christmas list for YEARS. Has never turned up on Christmas day ONCE. Am thinking of switching allegiance to Orlando Bloom. What? Sorry, I didn't mean that. I must be tired.
W is for Wrapping - Little kids will always spend more time playing with the box, paper or ribbon that something came in than the earnest-with-no-sharp-edges-fun-and-educational-make-them-a-genius-while-they-dribble-on-it xylophone truck or whatever it is you spent your hard-earned cash on....because they're stupid. Lucky for them they have being cute to fall back on...like Jordan.
X is for X-rated - Video games, movies, foul-mouthed rappers. Make sure you have some source of adult material on hand to cut through the saccharine of Frosty the snowman and Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer (after all, God invented iPhones for just such an emergency).
Y is for Yes, I'm STILL single - Just scrawl it across your forehead in vivid marker. It'll save time.
Z is for Zero - Or the chance you stand of being able to avoid doing the dishes. If you're a woman you'll either be doing some dishes or feeling guilty because somebody else is doing them. As far as I am aware, men do not seem to be as emotionally invested in achieving cleanliness of crockery, funny that.
So those are my festive words of wisdom for this year? Have you any to add?
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