Maybe it’s because I’m 33 years of age, but for me, the festive season gets easier as you get older. With the lure of getting up at 6am presents long gone and a desire to only enjoy life’s small wins, I find the Christmas period pretty simple to negotiate. It pains me to see so many people get frustrated and sad over the festive season — as for every individual smitten around a table with family, there is someone on their own at home dealing with grief or loneliness. Therefore, I would like to share some of the tips I’ve picked up along the way, in order for you to hopefully enhance your festive season experience. Firstly, the key to making sure you get your gift shopping done quickly and effectively is being prepared and ensuring people know you are on a mission. Armed with a definitive list, I find wearing bright colours and headphones often shows fellow shoppers that you would not appreciate being disturbed while negotiating the shopping centre crowds. The music can also be tailored to your mood, which can be somewhat therapeutic as you tick items off your list. Secondly, you have to be cool and articulate when dealing with potentially awkward conversations on Christmas Day. I’ve typically been lucky with this one in the past, as I regularly go to the US for vacation during the festive season. Not only am I able to make all of my Christmas calls earlier than usual (typically around 6pm on Christmas Eve in the States), I can cherry-pick who I interact with. Obviously with COVID-19, that isn’t possible right now, so the key is to just be polite and attempt to find common ground. An extra suggestion is to switch your social media messenger apps off, particularly if refreshments are flowing. And finally, I also make sure my TAB account is disabled during Christmas Day festivities. There is nothing worse than waking up the following morning, realising you have emptied your account on a six-leg multi based around the Gold Coast Suns winning next year’s premiership. All the best for the festive season!