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A Christmas survival guide

The season of goodwill can be stressful—but if you add a stranger to the mix and tune out the consumerist clamour, it can be, well, okay

Coping with Christmas. Illustration: Kate Hazell

Depending on your experience, “family” and “Christmas” go together like tawny port and stilton or Buck’s Fizz and the hangover from hell. If it’s the latter, you’re in good company. Type those two words into your browser, and along with endless invitations to buy stuff, top billing goes to survival guides. According to the Google bots, the season of peace and goodwill is best summed up by strain, anxiety and bad feeling.

And how could it be otherwise? Twin the world’s greatest consumer…

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