The overflowing stocking Every year some lucky boys and girls find that Santa has been extra-generous, with presents spilling out of the stocking and all over the floor. Our handy tip: use a pillowcase instead. St Nick won’t mind.
The dinner-table lull Whether you’re reuniting with family or sharing Christmas with new friends, a conversational lull at the dinner table is as predictable as post-dinner bellyache. But much like any other part of a good Christmas, it’s all about preparation. Check out www.conversationstarters.com/101.htm (yes, it exists). You’ll see that the secret of cracking an awkward silence is to simply ask questions focused on other people at the table. A sure-fire winner: what would you choose as your last meal? Also, buy some crackers: the bad gifts and worse jokes provide minutes of valuable entertainment.
The post-dinner dip After a heavy midday meal the lethargy really sets in, and as the host this is the make-or-break time to prove your worth. Again, it’s all about preparation – make sure you have something to do rather than just slumping wordlessly into the sofa. There’s no such thing as irony at Christmas, so don’t be afraid of suggesting a good old game of charades – no one else will enjoy it either, but it’ll keep everyone busy.
Guests who demand too many Christmas songs Have a quirky-yet-credible Christmas-flavoured playlist ready prepared and subtly impress your guests with your laid-back approach and eclectic taste. A few suggestions to get you started – Chuck Berry’s ‘Run Rudolph Run’, ‘Ain’t No Chimneys In The Projects’ by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, and anything from James Brown’s Funky Christmas album.
Last-minute gifts So you’ve left it to the last minute and it’s too late to post anything? Check out charity websites such as www.care.org, where you can donate money while giving a gift to someone less fortunate, such as buying a goat for a villager in Africa. Your recipient will get an email telling them about it.
For friends closer to home, if you hate the thought of gift vouchers, head to a one-stop shop such as DragonMart (www.dragonmart.ae) for toys, electronics, fashion and everything else under the sun. Quirky novelty store The Zoo Concept (Jumeirah Beach Road, 04 349 5585) has great gag gifts, and Harvest Home (Jumeirah Centre, 04 342 0225) stocks kitsch options for those who have a good sense of humour.