The 10 commandments to survive Christmas (Part Two)

6. Operation sweets

And I’m not talking about trying to hook up with the attractive neighbour who has just moved in opposite you before the year is out. I’m talking about marzipan, Christmas cake, mince pies and various other sweet foods.

Christmas is a time of excess, which will be paid for eventually. There are days where it’s inevitable that you’ll stuff yourself silly (such as Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve), but there’s no need to do it every day. Try to balance out the days of excess with other days where you detox a little. It’s better to keep temptation out of reach. Try to make sure that there’s only healthy food in the house, because the sweets will be everywhere as soon as you set foot outside.

7. Christmas resolutions

It’s inevitable that every time we get to the end of the year, we think about all the things we planned to achieve that year, about what we did in reality, about the goals we thought we’d have reached by now and which we still haven’t managed…

Get real, if you’ve spent ten years saying that you need to drop five kilos and you haven’t managed to do it…you’re not going to do it in the three weeks before New Year’s Eve. So don’t beat yourself up. That’s what your family is for.

8. Short is sweet

Family is the most important thing, but it’s also the main source of conflict during the Christmas holidays. Because if it’s difficult enough to get on with everyone in our own family, Christmas means spending time with in-laws, meaning the probability of clashes is much higher.

My advice is:

  • Spend time with your family, but no more than is strictly necessary. It doesn’t matter how old you are, your mother will always be your mother, and she’ll spend all day telling you to wrap up warm, finish everything on your plate, get to bed earlier, etc. Spending a whole week in your parents’ house is guaranteed to end in a fight just like the ones you used to have when you were still at school.
  • Arm yourself with patience. Find a film in which the protagonist, all alone in life, ends up finding a family, a film which is sufficiently moving for it to soften your heart enough to get through a whole dinner without rising to the bait when your aunt starts attacking you about when you’re going to finally get your life together.

9. When in Rome…

If you end up spending some of the holidays with your in-laws, remember that each family has different customs and traditions, so don’t start judging them or trying to change them.

If things are especially difficult, fake a cold or a terrible hangover which exempts you from following the etiquette religiously and allows you to keep to yourself a little during dinner, and go to bed early.

If there’s an especially annoying family member who is getting on your nerves, the best thing to do is make sure to go out partying the night before and shout until you go hoarse. If you’ve got no voice, you can’t talk.

10. Try to avoid situations which will end in a fight

During dinner, try not to bring up topics of conversation which could cause conflict: politics, inheritances, etc.

And never, ever, under any circumstances, let anyone get out a Monopoly board.

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