Sunday Mail - Body and Soul

How to survive Christmas without losing your mind

- STORY CLAIRE ISAAC

KEEP IT REAL

If people feel under pressure in the lead-up to an ordinary Christmas, that’s going to be magnified by a billion after the year we’ve had. We’re all exhausted, overwhelme­d and hanging on by a thread. If you thought fighting over toilet roll in March was madness, apply that reasoning to the queues at the fish market as people desperatel­y stock up. Seek less-stressful options. Your local’s prawns may be twice the price, but ask yourself: what price is your sanity?

DON’T BITE OFF MORE TURKEY THAN YOU CAN CHEW

Yes, it’s been an annus horribilis to end all, erm, annuses, but that doesn’t mean you need to finish it with a freaking gala. Just because you can see people you’ve not seen for a while doesn’t mean you should host all of them for Christmas. If the thought of the whole family descending on you for Christmas Day fills you with anxiety, make other plans. A picnic, a hotel lunch, or simply disappeari­ng without a trace may all be acceptable options.

PLAY THE IMMUNITY CARD

This is the ultimate excuse: use it to get out of events you don’t want to attend. Reunions with people you’d rather not see, lunches with $150 set menus? Blame it on the possibilit­y of compromise­d immunity (yours, or that of the people you plan to hang out with). No arguing with that.

DON’T START AN ARGUMENT OVER MONOPOLY… OR ANYTHING, FOR THAT MATTER!

As we keep saying, this year has been tough enough, so don’t add to the drama when your nephew puts a hotel on Mayfair. Let him have his moment in the property-market sun. Also, don’t nitpick when your elderly mother doesn’t want pavlova, and if your significan­t other wants to watch the Queen’s speech in the middle of dinner, for Santa (and sanity’s) sake, just go with it. If you can ho ho ho your way through the day, you will feel a ho-ho-whole lot better about it later.

Claire Isaac and Lisa

Sinclair are the co-hosts of the Playing Devil’s

Avocado podcast and co-authors of the exceptiona­l

Christmas gift, How Not

To Live Your Best Life (Are

Media, $19.99), out now.

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