The holidays can bring out the worst in us.
Find out which sin you'll succumb to this season.
Which do you prefer?
Oh dear. Looks like you're the office party floosie. Too much booze and festive merriment is a terrible thing when combined with that secret crush you've been harbouring for so long. Cue shameful embraces in the broom cupboard, drunken fumbles in the stairwell and a terrible hangover in the morning.
The best solution for keeping your pants firmly on this Christmas and escaping awkward encounters in the elevator and lunch room all January is the trusty buddy system.
Here's how it works:
Ideally an office mate who understands what's at risk and who's slightly less of a liability than you.
Outline the worst case scenarios against a scale of intervention.
Pre-plan help signals and evacuation excuses. For example:
Help signal: The chicken dance.
Excuse: Your better half wants you home before midnight.
This serves two purposes:
Good luck! Have an extra espresso martini on us!
You grind your teeth silently and put on a brave face, but there's no denying it: you spend most of the festive season simmering with rage. Whether it's your sister's passive aggressive streak, Uncle Tom's racist remarks or Grandad's umpteenth story about 'the good ole days', something is going to break you.
With 2016 going down in history as a year of intense social division and intergenerational wrath, the list of topics primed to trigger a domestic Armageddon is greater than ever. If you're ready to embrace the inevitability of it all, you're ready to play: TRIGGER BINGO!
The rules are simple. The more anger- or frustration-inducing experiences you have over the family holidays, the more points you get! Simply cross them off as they happen!
Keep calm. Good luck. There's always next year.
You have everything one could possibly wish for, yet you still want more. That Breitling watch, those Gucci shoes and the Himalayan cashmere are all blatant tell signs, dahling.
It's time to break away from the rampant materialism of the holiday season! Here's how to do just that:
Regift some of your finest luxury brands. Now's the time to really think about whether your house really needs three Vera Wang hat stands.
Keep the bought present capped to under £20, and preferably something edible.
Steal, beg and buy presents for your other half.
Write a Christmas wish list that consists solely of animals you want to sponsor via the zoo, WWF or local sanctuaries.
Why animals? Relatives who feel cheated out of giving you something 'tangible' can gift wrap the stuffed toy of the animal you receive in exchange for the sponsorship. Which you can in turn give to a needy child. Win-win!
If all else fails, treat yourself to the Fendi Boxing Day sale.
Well, hello lazy bear! You like nothing more than using this time of year to catch up on a bit of sleep and put your feet up. Your ability to nod off straight after Christmas dinner and thus avoid all the washing up is legendary. You make not moving into an art form.
Here are two new traditions for you to keep laziness at bay:
Get people (and yourself) out the door by hiding small presents around the local park for your friends and family to find, using your specially written treasure map. This is surely a Christmas present in itself!
Added bonus: Enjoy some peace and quiet while everyone is hunting for presents, knowing that you've already done your energetic bit by hiding them.
Whether in the country or the city, there's always somewhere to wander. Incentivise yourself and the lazier of your clan by keeping a final present/bottle of champagne as a reward for the effort. Or make your final destination the pub.
You'll be feeling virtuous in no time!
You're the first at the Christmas table, can be counted on to go back for seconds and always win the annual trifle play-offs. Your capacity to eat continuously over Christmas is awe-inspiring. We all know it's you who polishes off those three Quality Streets left languishing in the tin each year.
Over-eating at Christmas is often a response to feeling trapped and slightly bored. So get creative and find other things to do with your hands, rather than wandering over to the cheese board yet again.
Here are some useful suggestions:
Hide Auntie Sheila's bottle of sherry. Less substance for her and some top-notch entertainment for you.
Replace the family Monopoly board money with the endless supply of Quality Street chocolates known to magically appear each Christmas. That way, the less you eat the more you own. $$$.
Sabotage the leftovers by (slyly) letting the dog loose on them. Bad Fido!
Your house is immaculate, the tree decorated perfectly. You bought all your presents months ago and have even managed to send money to less fortunate people 'abroad'. Well done! You're perfect and have totally nailed the festive season.
As they say, pride comes before a fall, and unless you willingly step off your own pedestal, something is sure to push you off soon. Giving back to your local community has the double benefit of helping others and also giving you back a wee bit of perspective. Who, except you, really cares that you spent more on presents than anyone else did?
Get involved in one of these projects and start to really nail the rest of the year:
If you're looking to do good and could also benefit from upping your fitness levels, GoodGym could be the perfect option for you. GoodGym is a community of runners who undertake 'missions' during their run, such as dropping in on isolated older folk, or working on a community project.
An adorable and simple initiative, Casserole Club is all about sharing food and company for the greater good. All it requires is your willingness to make an extra portion of food every once and while and share it with an older person in the neighbourhood, while having a good chat.
GFN aims to bring people with all sorts of skills together to help make things happen for local social innovators, community projects and change makers. There are chapters all over the country and beyond who run 'gigs' - collaborative projects running from anything from a few hours up to 48 hours.
Do good, have fun, and render that festive pride redundant!
Why is it that everyone always has a better time than you? While your best friend's in Sydney for 'Christmas Down Under', you're cooking for 12, putting up with the in-laws and watching the siblings get better presents like every other year. The green-eyed monster has you firmly in its thrall, my dear.
Envy is a bitch, and one of the hardest sins to conquer, especially when it takes hold during the Christmas season. Here's how to keep some perspective:
Slightly out of the frame of that smiley family photo, complete with puppy in elf suit and snow drifting in through the window is a Christmas tree on fire, a child throwing a tantrum and a knocked bottle of red gushing onto Aunt Petunia's brand new cream carpet.
If this is something you generally struggle with, take a trip to the local shelter, home for the elderly or foodbank to chat to people infinitely more in need than you are. That will give your ego a good whipping.