Six Xmas Survival Tips You Have to Know

Now those of you who know me in person (hello mum) know that when it comes to the season of goodwill, I am, how shall we say it ‘not massively enamoured’.

Most of my friend’s called me Scrooge, I prefer Grinchy. I’m all up there with the champagne and the shiny frocks – but I’ll drink bubbles and wear a sequin on a Wednesday I don’t need crackers and stodgy puddings with brandy on the top to encourage me. I will however admit to a small liking for Christmas songs and I have wandered around Sydney wearing a red cowboy hat with fur trim and flashing lights – but as for the rest of it, book me a plane ticket I’m off to the sunshine. Still, I am aware that I am alone in this belief and the rest of you might therefore like some advice to help you through the Xmas season. So, here’s some I’ve picked up from experts less Grinchy than myself….

1) The ‘how not to get fat from parties’ tip:  I was once told that the average catering company allow five canapes per person. That should, therefore, be your polite limit, but also remember this, top Aussie nutritionist Susie Burrell recently tweeted that five canapes (if you choose unwisely) could actually contain the same amount of calories as a small meal! It therefore makes a good diet limit too. NB: a good way to tell if you’ve had too many is the waiters avoiding you – they will do it if you’ve had more than your fair share.

2) The ‘how not to get fat at home’ tip: Also, remember, it’s not Xmas day that makes you gain weight – it’s eating everything in sight the days before and after. Go completely mad on Xmas Day, but eat and exercise normally the rest of the time and you won’t have gained half a stone come Jan 1st. I know it’s hard – I went through 25 chocolates at my mother’s last weekend just because they were there – and only the first one tasted nice! That’s the key to success here – really use the ‘taste rule’ when it comes to Xmas goodies – if you really, really love it, eat it, enjoy it, don’t beat yourself up about it. But if you’re eating it just because it’s there, don’t put it in your mouth. And if  that amazing thing stops tasting good halfway through stop eating that too – your body is telling you enough is enough.

3) The ‘I’m a bit shy at parties’ tip: According to Dr Jerry Epstein, a New York based expert who studies the theory of face reading, ‘round features – like wide eyes, full lips, plump cheeks etc – signify a welcoming friendly person who’ll be happy to chat to you,’ making you feel like a social success from the get go. People with angular features tend to be less approachable so you may want to save them until later in the evening.

4) The ‘what’s the best thing for a hangover’ tip. Sadly, it no longer exists – it was THE most brilliant product from the Organic Pharmacy combining milk thistle and marshmallow, I didn’t have one hangover whenever I took it. Milk thistle alone though does help – not least because I find it seems to stop that ‘drinky head’ takeover of your brain that occurs after three white wines when you believe that of course one or two more won’t hurt. My personal opinion is also that tinctures are better than the tablets (Viridan do one). Take a dose just before you go out and when you get in – or, if it’s a huge do, take it twice the day before.

5) The ‘get it right first time’ present buying tip: If you regularly find yourself with present panic – returning them before you’ve given them (or worse, doubling up and spending a fortune), blame your brain hormones. Research from the University of Oxford has found you’re more likely to make rash decisions if your levels of the brain hormone serotonin are low – probably very likely at Xmas as lack of sunlight and too much booze both lower serotonin! If you find yourself flagging while shopping, stop at the nearest cafe and eat a piece of honey on toast. It rapidly raises serotonin giving your brain a boost.

6) The How Not to Murder Your Relatives tip: Simply try and keep this in mind. Scientists have determined that socializing with family or friends counts as mental exercise and helps boost parts of your brain that control things like planning and decision making so, infuriating as they are, the rellies are actually doing you good. Whether mental exercise is boosted by trying to think up new answers to questions like ‘Why aren’t you married yet?’. ‘When are going to have a baby?’ or ‘Why don’t you have a good job like your cousin Mary?’ they didn’t mention but I bet it does. NB: I’ll award a small prize for the best answer to such a question posted on this site…..If it’s getting to you, just remember this. You can never change someone else’s behaviour – but you can control your reaction to it. Smile, deep breathe, say something poignant like ‘because life doesn’t always work out the way we plan’  – a little Xmas guilt never hurt anyone – then suggest a game of Ludo or something. Remember it’s only 24 hours…. Merry Xmas….

Whatever happens though, have fun…..I’ll be slapping on the SPF 30 and thinking of you all.


Images:, this thing on? Talk to me, it's lonely down here

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