THE BLOG

Five Tips to Survive the Holidays

09/12/2013 17:26 GMT | Updated 08/02/2014 10:59 GMT

We all know that feeling - you know you should be feeling all excited about Christmas, but instead all you can do is count up how little time you have to get all you need to get done, done.

I have no idea what who I'm getting what for Christmas. That isn't so important to me. What is important is that I've booked my train home, and got 27th off work so I can spend five days with my family in Wales.

I'm the first to admit however, that for those of you who have families to support, families with expectations of lovely presents wrapped in shiny paper for the cat / dog / tortoise to try to eat off overnight, the run up to Christmas is nothing but scary stress and you can't wait for it to be over, before you realise that when it's over you can then start to look forward to your credit card bill.

Am I cheering you up yet?

Sorry.

So here is my take on surviving the holidays - it shouldn't be about surviving. It's a mindset. So let's go through a few home truths...

1. Honesty is the best policy. If things are tight this year, explain that to your family. If they love you they will understand.

2. Prep in advance - that includes food and presents. Use Ebay for cheap gifts and get crafty for home-made ones. For people outside the family, bake some Christmas cookies or home-made fudge - you know, all that crafty crap.

3. Keep making time for you. I quit my gym membership this month because I figured I wasn't using it enough. I'm going to go in today and try to get it back. I realised that in the run up to Christmas, I should be doing more for myself, not less. My work tends to get busier over Christmas rather than quieter so I want some more 'me' time.

4. Take a breath. No really, sit down, close your eyes and take a breath. Assess what's important. FYI this is you/your family/your friends NOT the latest games console or a pony for your daughter. How sexist. The pony could be for your son. As I said in a previous post, shovelling frozen shit at 6:30am on a Sunday morning isn't as fun as you would think.

5. If all else fails, come vent on here and then count to ten. Step back and watch the world go by. Take a moment to observe the craziness instead of becoming entwined in it.

Anyone got any good Christmas cookie recipes?! Leave them for me below. Also check out @Averiecooks - her instagram photos look amazeballs!