1. Chocolate for breakfast.

2. Chocolate for second breakfast.

3. And for third breakfast, a chocolate selection pack.

4. Legitimately not being able to eat lunch because you’re so full of chocolate.

5. Thankfully it’s Christmas, so such a thing as second lunch exists.

6. Pyjamas as daywear.

7. Changing pyjamas halfway through the day, because you have five million pairs of Christmas pyjamas and these ones are getting a bit musty.

8. Accessorising your pyjamas with novelty reindeer antlers.

9. Which actually belong to your pets.

10. Saying, “I”m going to make my own decorations this year!”

11. Making one bauble, then getting bored and giving up.

12. Making a gingerbread house! No one eats it, because no one can feasibly eat that much gingerbread. It gathers mould in a corner of the kitchen until your mum gets cross and chucks it out.

13. Throwing glitter on anything that stands still for longer than three seconds.

14. Including your pets.

15. Spending at least half an hour trying to get your glittery, antlered pets to pose in front of the tree for that ‘perfect’ Instagram.

16. Telling your best friend what you got her for Christmas because it’s so brilliant you can’t wait.

17. Then buying her another one because you feel bad for spoiling the surprise.

18. Remembering that Twiglets exist.

19. And eggnog lattes.

20. Crying during the sad bits in Miracle on 34th Street.

21. Crying during the sad bits in Muppet Christmas Carol.

22. Crying during literally any bit of any Christmas movie now, just because you’re on a roll.

23. Even if it’s a horribly-made film with bad acting and a plotline involving getting a boyfriend for Christmas, and was clearly filmed in July.

24. Accessorising your pyjamas with Christmas socks, a Christmas jumper, and a woolly hat whenever you leave the house.

25. Even though it’s about 18 degrees outside.

26. Justin Bieber’s Christmas album.

27. Singing “All I Want for Christmas is You” when you’re alone.

28. Wishing for snow, even though it’s still 18 degrees outside.

29. Every. Single. Snapchat. Christmas. Filter.

@orbyn

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Image: Elf

“Just… stir it, Una!” cries Bridget Jones’ mother, when she catches her friend staring hopelessly at the gravy. It’s an underrated skill, stirring – like untangling necklaces, or cleaning your teeth without dribbling everywhere. Some people have it. Una and I don’t. Still it doesn’t stop me trying. Come Christmas Day, when the air is rich with the scent of turkey, I’ll do anything to diffuse the situation. Yet some things are more helpful than others – as my mothers (step and IRL) are all too ready to make clear:

DO… Stir the gravy

There’s only one thing worse than badly stirred gravy, and that’s unstirred gravy – that is, meat juice with floury lumps. Even if it’s just pushing a wooden spoon back and forth like a loofa it’s better than nothing. To paraphrase Dory in a sea of turkey stock: just keep stirring. Just keep stirring. Just keep stirring, stirring, stirring, all you have to do is stir.

DO… Trim the Brussels sprouts

This rule stands whether you love them, hate them or are entirely indifferent: if sprouts are in the offing, sprouts will need peeling. They don’t bite. They don’t even smell (not yet, at least). And while peeling their bomber jackets off and crossing their bottoms is a tad tedious, it’s a darn sight more satisfying then shoving some slimy, raw sausage stuffing up a turkey’s bum.

DO… Lay the table

According to research (my family), 90 per cent of Christmas dinner arguments start when the turkey is carved, the roasties are sizzling, the sprouts are just shy of soggy – and the table is not yet laid. Guys, this is a no brainer. Don’t ask if the table needs laying. If it’s not laid, get the cutlery, crackers and some candles, make like a bird and LAY.

DO… Tuck the pigs in

No, not your siblings – the sausages. Each one needs wrapping up in streaky pink rashers of bacon, if pigs in blankets are going to be involved.

DO… Tuck the pigs in #2

Yes, your siblings, if they’re younger than you and getting in the way at any point during the proceeds.

DO… Remind your parent they’ve left something in the oven/microwave/pan

It’s a bold move – but they’ll thank you later, when they find two kilos of red cabbage sat in the microwave. Speak now, or forever find there’s still more cabbage left to eat.

DO… Round up the troops

It’s hard enough serving a hot dinner without everyone disappearing to all four corners of the house come Christmas time.

DON’T… Shove slimy, raw sausage stuffing up a turkey’s bum

It’s a) gross and b) is more of an adult arena. Stuffing turkey is, we should point out, one of the most dangerous parts of Christmas dinner. To avoid food poisoning it’s vital that the hands are clean, the bird is not overstuffed, and the temperature of the oven is super high.

DON’T… Remind your parent they’ve left something in the fridge/freezer/supermarket

Not helpful. In fact, as a rule, once sat down don’t ask for anything unless you know it is instantly available, ie salt.

DON’T… Heat up *anything* in the microwave in a metal container

It’s Christmas, folks. Not Bonfire night.

DON’T… Decide last minute that, actually, you’re a vegan

The turkey’s well and truly dead by this point.

DON’T… Steal a pig in a blanket from the tray on the way to the table

Every year my mum or stepmum carefully counts them out to ensure everyone has the same number. Every year, without fail, two or three go missing come dinner time. Some cheats are acceptable during the festive season: this isn’t one of them, even if you’ve wrapped them yourself.

DON’T… Draw attention to the chef’s cheats

Shop bought puddings, stuffing, cranberry sauce and desperately long games of Monopoly all come under the area marked ‘acceptable cheating’ come Christmas – and, like the elephant in the room or the spot on someone’s nose, are generally best left unmentioned.

DON’T… Keep asking what to do

You’ve read this list, right? Crack on.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which means you can now officially spend your Sundays in bed binge-watching holiday movies, because what else is there to do when it’s cold and wet outside? Here are nine of our faves to get you started, some of which are Christmas classics, others you might never have seen before.

Miracle On 34th Street

The 1994 remake of this old festive favourite always makes us feel good (and shed a few tears in the process). Starring Matilda’s Mara Wilson as Susan, a little girl who initially doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, it’s a super cute tale of friendship and standing up for what you truly believe in.

Home Alone

If you’ve never seen Home Alone, where on earth have you been? Get watching now to see Kevin, an eight-year-old who was accidentally left home alone while his family travelled to Paris for Christmas, fight off two burglars with a bunch of hilarious pranks. It’ll give you booby trap ideas for days.


The Santa Clause

That awkward moment when your dad doesn’t believe in Santa… until he’s turned into Santa. That’s what happens to Charlie and his father Scott Calvin, who end up on the Christmas Eve adventure to end all Christmas Eve adventures, when all they were trying to do was grab a quiet dinner.


The Family Stone

Prepare yourself, because this one’s a tearjerker, starring Sarah Jessica Parker as the neurotic girlfriend who goes to spend the holidays with her boyfriend’s family for the first time. There’s date swapping, a terminal illness and plenty of arguments, but it will still make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, we promise.


How The Grinch Stole Christmas

As mean-spirited as he is, we can’t help but love The Grinch, not to mention his friendship with a teeny tiny Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who. She gives us serious braid goals every time we watch.


Mean Girls

Don’t try to tell us it’s not a Christmas film; there’s candy canes and a dance number to Jingle Bell Rock, so it’s definitely a Christmas film.


Four Christmases

If you’re a child of divorce you probably know what it’s like to do the Christmas double, but imagine having divorced parents AND dating someone with divorced parents, and having to visit all four of them separately on 25 December? That’s exactly what happens to Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn in this modern holiday classic.

A Bad Moms Christmas

If you fancy hitting the cinema for a brand new festive treat, A Bad Moms Christmas is pretty hysterical, as the Bad Moms not only have to please their kids this holiday season – but also their own mothers. And, after watching, we can report that our girl crush on Mila Kunis is still going strong.

Elf

You didn’t reeeeally think we’d leave Elf off our list, did you? This cotton-headed ninny muggins will always be one of our festive faves.