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It’s already that time of year again, which means it has been a year since I started writing for this fabulous magazine. First of, a huge festive “Thank you!” for your continued support.

Christmas is my favourite time of year. The anticipation of that big guy in red squeezing down the chimney can bring some much needed cheer over the festive period. It can also bring up some less positive feelings for some people, so here are my top tips for keeping safe and staying sane this Christmas.

Fill up your diary

For the lucky ones who have time off at Christmas the temptation to lock the door and watch old movies is strong. But it’s important not to spend too much time alone at Christmas. If you are a social media addict, pictures of happy families and extravagant gifts can make you incredibly jealous. Don’t do it. Get off the phone and make those plans. Enjoy making memories that don’t require a Facebook account.

Get in touch with old friends

Now don’t go all Scrooge on me and start reliving the highs and lows of your life accompanied by three ghosts. We know how it is, we’re all busy and wrapped up in our own little lives, but find the time to call to an old friend that you haven’t heard from in a while. Christmas can be a really emotional time for some people, something as simple as a phone call can make all the difference.

Get a Christmas tree!

As a little boy I could not wait for the time when I would be old enough to decorate my Christmas tree the way I wanted. As a 20-something-year-old man I have yet to take the plunge and buy a tree of my own, and every year I ask myself why doesn’t it feel like Christmas yet? You can’t enjoy all the magic without a ton of tinsel and decorations everywhere.

Give something back

Last Christmas I helped a friend serve a three-course meal to over a hundred homeless people. It was a really fantastic experience. Find a way to give something back this Christmas if you can, however small the gesture, and make things a little easier for someone who really needs it. Sometimes you just have to be selfless and put someone else’s needs above your own.

Ask for socks

Do you ever find yourself in the situation where someone asks you what you want for Christmas and you genuinely have no idea? Take my advice and ask for socks. You’ll thank me later.

Stay toasty

Keeping the heating on is essential, but other ways of staying warm are good too! Whether you are single or happily coupled, there is no better time of year than winter for spooning with your cuddle buddy of choice.

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