Cripes, every time I turn around it’s Christmas. I was so busy moving that I almost forgot about the holidays. I like Christmas, mostly because it’s completely normal to eat and drink everything in the house at once and wear pajamas all day long, also known as any day of the week in my little world.

Here it is December 24th and I’m just getting around to putting up the tree …

Sweet Jaysus, I’m exhausted. I had to open the box AND hang the bauble. I needed a big glass of Chardonnay and a load of chocolates to recover. Oh I know some of you out there have a house strewn with enough lights to power Vegas, and you’re thinking that’s it? That’s the best you can do for decoration?

Sure, I’ll grant you it’s a bit on the minimalist side (just how I like it), but it is a fine example of NovaScotian Crystal, the only mouth blown, hand-cut crystal made in Canada, and a gift from my lovely in-laws; an upscale version of Charlie’s Brown’s tree fit for any Swiss banker or a Canadian gal sponging off her better two-thirds.

My scaled back holidays (and all my other days) are not for everyone, and I would love to see my family and friends, but it’s not so bad being far removed from all the madness. Back in the day, I always worked Christmas, the busiest time of year for the malls and mental health. It’s a rough time for a lot of people and for what it’s worth, I’ll offer you my professional holiday survival advice, the exact same advice I give every year.

Easy on the alcohol. Nobody wants to see your arse sticking out of the tree after an egg-nog fueled swan dive. If you need pills, take them, now is not the time to see what happens when you ignore your doctor’s advice. Watch Elf. Review your options on the family front. If it’s healthy for you, knock yourself out. If it’s not, try something different and let the judgement chips fall where they may. Life is too short to be miserable simply because it’s tradition.

If you are on your own and don’t want to be, treat yourself to something wonderful, however small it may be. If you are not on your own and want to be, you’re shit out of luck, so suck it up, breathe deeply, remind yourself that all things must end, or cook your turkey for about an hour less than normal. While everyone is at the Emergency Room you can enjoy a hot bath with a trashy novel and mulled wine.

But by far the best piece of advice I can offer is not one of moderation or caution. It is simply this: eat your face off. Turkey, ham, tofu, sticky toffee pudding, sweet potatoes, crab dip, cranberry sauce straight from the can, Pad Thai, what the hell ever. Just get it into you any way you can. There’s a long winter ahead and the gym will still be there January 2nd.

There it is, 15 years of study and that’s the best I can offer you. You get what you pay for here at Lapsed Shrink Central. Finders, I hope your holiday is everything you need it to be. Peace and love to all.