IF the thought of all this Christmas cheer is getting too much for you, then here are a few failsafe tips to avoid all the ho, ho, hoing. 

Start early by volunteering to come into work on the big day. Then make it clear to everyone you know that they will not be receiving a gift this year. Or a card. And certainly not one of those bloody Jib – Jab emails which feature you as a dancing elf.

Stock up on non-festive fare salads and soft drinks and don’t bother with the decorations. 

Trouble is, there is bound to be at least one elderly relative who fails to understand the beauty – or indeed the point – of your scheme, leading to hurt feelings and unwanted knitwear.

Luckily, living up on the lake, miles from the nearest neighbour, it’s pretty easy to treat the Christmas period the same as any other week. The flora and fauna don’t go in for Christmas celebrations as far as I can make out. Though there was a robin on the front terrace last week. Wisely he caught sight of the three cats and decided to hop it.

Quality Street

If you don’t have the luxury of a lakeside retreat, the easiest way is to tell all your friends that you have been invited to a fabulous week long house party in the hills. Then just lock yourself in the house and work your way through that DVD boxed set you’ve been promising that you’ll catch up with.

Bah Humbug and pass the Quality Street!

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