How to cope with Christmas 2016

Trying to piece together the events of Christmas and New Year is a bit like waking up with a hangover after a big night out and attempting to recall all the things you shouldn't have said or done the night before but did.
Merry Christmas, everyone!Merry Christmas, everyone!
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Slowly but surely it all falls into place, a bit like the plot of Pulp Fiction. Except chances are you didn’t wind up comatose on a drug dealer’s floor while John Travolta injected adrenaline directly into your heart – although if you had a houseful of relatives outstaying their welcome it may have seemed like an option worth considering. It never ceases to amaze me how we all fall for the same trick every year. Christmas generally starts in mid-September, I saw my first Christmas tree in a bar in Manchester’s Printworks while taxi-ing daughter #1 and three of her friends to a Florence + The Machine gig on September 18 – which was 40 days after we got back off our summer holiday.

Every works do, every card sent to a distant relative you haven’t seen since the last family wedding/funeral, every hangover, every bout of what you hope is heartburn and not something more serious feels like a sucker punch once the January credit card bills arrive.

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Here’s a festive tip which has worked for our family for years. Save a bit of money every month, it soon mounts up if you don’t dip into it. And come December 2016, that’s your pot. It may not feel like it’s enough to pee in but it softens the financial blow of Christmas.

The way many of us never budget for Christmas is like the executives of perfume houses sitting around their boardrooms at the start of every year, scratching their heads wondering why sales peak on December 24 but they never seem to sell many bottles in January.

One of our relatives, who shall remain nameless, buys up their Christmas 51 weeks in advance while everything’s cheap, right down to the crackers.

She’s so organised the Government should have put her in charge of Britain’s flood defences, unlike Sir Philip Dilley she wouldn’t have been on holiday in Barbados while northern towns and cities were transformed into giant sewage-filled lidos.