Ah, Christmas time.

“Excellent,” the shopkeepers say, “Tis’ the season for spending!”

“Hurray!” the children cheer, “Santa is coming!”

“Oh Christ,” every other ordinary person utters, “Let the complete obliteration of my dignity commence.”

The road to the New Year is a long one, littered with obstacles and paper hats. But fear not – help is at hand in the form of these six survival tips.

1. RELATIVES. The tinny throb of a Ford Fiesta spells the imminent arrival of undesirable individuals. The addition of little people into the mix adds a new dimension of difficulty. Not only do they have an unappealing habit of shooting fluids out of their facial orifices, but if you haven’t bought them what they want (i.e. a life-size plush Harry Styles or various items of foam weaponry) then the turd will hit the suspended air-filter in the most spectacular fashion.

How to survive – Resist the urge to hit little Henry over the head with his new hardback edition of Hairy Maclary and give him a giant Toblerone – they work wonders in stopping tantrums. If seated between your partner’s parents at the dinner table, take extra caution with the Christmas crackers – you run the risk of chronic elbow injury and blinding your future in-laws with a rogue spinning top or stencil set.

2. CHRISTMAS TREES. Piles of pine needles all over the carpet, which then find their way into socks and are inhaled by dogs, may lead to mild canine congestion.

How to survive – Feel no shame in rockin’ around your Homebase acrylic Nordic Spruce. If you do plump for the real deal though, disposing of it can be a nightmare. Either burn the bushy bastard or plant it neatly in your garden…then Rex can continue putting presents under it all year round.

3. THE QUEEN’S SPEECH. What’s with this? You’re just tucking into your roasted road-kill from Lidl when this regal party-pooper turns up.

How to survive – This one’s easy: don’t watch it. As soon as you hear the first parps of the royal fanfare, make a majestic dive for the ‘mute’ button. It’s also worth noting that Channel 4 broadcast their ‘alternative speech’ each year. Previous speakers have included Edward Snowden, Sharon Osbourne and Ebola survivor William Pooley, i.e. people who’ve actually done stuff rather than lolled about in a pastel two-piece feeding Corgis with titbits of antelope loin.

4. DEALING WITH DRUNK PARENTS. This situation occurs every year, but is never anything short of harrowing. Last Christmas, my friend’s mother was grabbed and snogged by the husband of one of her friends, right in front of the man’s wife. Apparently, prising them apart was like trying to remove an octopus from a high-suction hoover-nozzle.

How to survive – Before it gets to the stage where Graham’s wrestling the Christmas tree to the ground, break out the non-alcoholic wine. Make sure to do so discreetly, however – you run the risk of having your neck garrotted with a string of twinkly lights.

5. FOOD. Christmas dinner is notoriously slow to cook, which leaves plenty of time for absent-minded cashew nut consumption. Mince pies also declare war on humanity and bolster the UK wholesale of gastric bands.

How to survive – Accept the fact that you’re going to end up looking like a pregnant Pillsbury Doughboy. Don’t buy a Christmas pudding and a cake – your love affair with both is passionate, but in the end there is only room for one in your heart (and your stomach).

6. SHOPPING. It’s like God wanted to punish us for all of our mortal sins by forcing us to traipse around towns in our quests for novelty bird-feeders.

How to survive – Shop online! In the comforting realm of the Internet you can merrily fill up your metaphorical basket without interacting with a single human. However, if a shopping-trip is unavoidable, allow for regular pit-stops to sample cranberry Stilton and use the M&S facilities. Allow an extra minute for missing the exit in the Debenhams revolving door. About half an hour into your miserable excursion, you’ll start flagging. Be sure to exit TopShop before you reach the ‘zombie’ stage or you may be mistaken for one of the shop assistants. Also, start saving in October – purchasing slipper socks and scented candles will push you to near bankruptcy.

Follow these tips, and you should just about be able to make it through the recurrent nightmare that is Christmas…good luck.