5 Ways To Survive The Holiday Season

The holiday season can be stressful at the best of times, throw in some unfavourable relatives, the 'credit crunch' and the problematic weather and a little madness is a sure thing. So, I've compiled what is hopefully a helpful list in order to help banish the holiday blues.

1 Don't feel obligated - There's always one friend/colleague/relative who goes overboard when it comes to giving gifts and what was meant to be a pleasant token of holiday cheer can turn into a competition of who gives the best present. The pressure of giving back what you receive can become stressful and takes the fun out of the exchange. Don't feel pressured into purchasing things out of your budget, regardless of what others are spending create your own budget and stick to it. When it comes to a 'secret Santa' situation make sure that the set budget is suitable for everyone.

2 Let it slide - So your boyfriend's grandmother feels the need to drop not so subtle hints about how you'll never be good enough for her grandson and there's that one distant Uncle who has one too many and starts hitting on your friends? Everyone has at least one irritating relative whose mere presence causes tension at a get together. As tempting as it is to tell them to stick their back handed compliments, take a breath and move on. Rather than sitting in a corner fuming, move on to other more affable relatives who you may not get the chance to see very often. Look at it this way you only have to suffer their company for a few hours, other people have to put up with them every day.

3 Give thanks - Possibly the oldest one in the book but more often than not overlooked. That's not to say you should put a damper on the festivities by thinking rather depressing thoughts about the not so fortunate but whilst you're enjoying all the fun things about the holidays take a moment to put things into perspective and be appreciative of the things you've got.

4 Stay in - The holiday season is party season but with the prices of everything inflating (drinks/taxi fares/club entry) and money being spread thin it can become hard to enjoy yourself. Plan ahead, as fun as spontaneity can be, pick which nights you are going out and then stick to them. The weather can also put a damper on going out so where possible stay in! Staying in can mean anything from wacking on a Christmas DVD and sharing a bottle of rosé to blasting some tunes and having an all out party. Think of an idea and make it fun by getting everyone involved. Host a 'come dine with me' Christmas special party or have everyone dress up as Santa and play drunken old school party games. Whatever it is make staying in, the new going out!

5 Go out - The crisp winter air and the dreary skies can make even the most outdoorsy among us want to stay curled up in bed all day but as tempting as that is, braving the winter weather can be surprisingly fun. Whether it's going for a light stroll with the family, enjoying a spin on the ice with a loved one, taking your younger relatives sledging or for the more adventurous, grabbing a group of friends and having a snowball fight, it's free and it's fun so get outside and enjoy yourself this winter!

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