Christmas: same time, same place, nothing new. And yet, somehow, we never see it coming and get all worked up, waking at 4am (oh, all right, 9.30am), heart pounding and pulse racing, with all sorts of last-minute considerations such as: ‘Bread sauce. What’s that all about?’

But need it be this way? It need not. Here are 15 stress-busting tips which, if followed to the letter, should help you get through the next few weeks with a Zen-like calm that will irritate the hell out of everyone around you.photodune-3638808-christmas-stress-xs-300x257

 1. If you have ordered online and are expecting deliveries, cut out the ­following and stick to your front door: ‘Dear Postie, If no one is in, please, please, please, please, deliver any parcel to any neighbor on this street or even any person who happens to be passing.

‘Do not take the parcel away and make me chase it, I beg you.

‘Thank you, thank you, thank you from the very bottom of my exceedingly ­grateful heart. You’re a dish. I love you. You’re beautiful. You have shapely legs.’ You’ll still probably end up ­weeping in some Post Office depot in the back of beyond while brandishing a council tax bill as your proof of ­identity, but at least you will have tried.

2. Get your story straight: ‘Mummy, why does Father Christmas always use the same wrapping paper as you?’

‘Because we share the same excellent taste, darling.’

3. If a shop assistant in Toys R Us or similar tells you a toy is ‘easy to assemble’, that assistant is probably lying scum.

In particular, I need to alert you to the Playmobil Knights Empire Castle, which takes all of Christmas Day and Boxing Day to build, and then, from the moment it’s up, will start to ­deconstruct so that even years later, you are still stabbing your foot on medieval maiden’s pointy hats.

4. Plan a Christmas gift budget, and then don’t look at what you have spent until April — or ever. Eat your bank statements and teach the children that game called Quick, Quick, Let’s Hide From The Bailiffs!

5. Why not spare yourself the tiring agony of producing a traditional Christmas dinner and offer something different for a change, such as salad?

This will make small children cry and frighten older people, but, hey, you can’t ever get through Christmas ­without upsetting someone anyway.

6. Baileys: just because it’s Christmas, it makes it all right to drink a mixture of whiskey and cream, does it? Oh, OK. I get it now. I’ll have a triple with a Tia Maria chaser, thanks.

7. It is important to congratulate all the children in the school Nativity play, even though yours was the best by a mile. Seriously, has there ever been such a brilliant sheep?

8. Just because you feel you ought to invite your in-laws, it doesn’t mean you have to let them in.

9. Don’t fret about falling into the ‘Christmas fat trap’, because any falls post-Christmas lunch will be nicely cushioned. Chances are you could fall off a tower block and just bounce back up again.

10. Lastly, if the going gets tough, just repeat this special Nativity prayer: ‘Forgive us our Christmases just as we forgive those who Christmas against us.’ It makes no sense whatsoever, but it is still strangely soothing.

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