It's a good thing it's only once a year...
Whoever came up with 12 pubs of Christmas must have a liver made from absolute steel.
It drains every inch of energy out of your body for a while. You can cancel any special family Christmas plans you made for the next day because before you've even started, you're written off.
Once you accept the invitation to the 12 pubs, there's no getting out. It's YOUR mission, if you wish to accept it.
You're an innocent fool if you think that 12 pubs begins the minute you step inside the first pub door.
It starts from the minute you wake up. Relax around the house for a while, think about what went wrong in last year's events and at what point/pub did you start going down hill.
Yes, it was a bad idea to have those shots in pub 4 but no they weren't the sole reason for your downfall.
Go to the drawer and grab the Christmas jumper that was thrown in there after last year's antics. It's good to see you old friend.
Get a good sized amount of grub in before you set off on your travels. Have a glass of milk, actually scratch that, have a PINT of milk. We don't know why but mammy says it lines the stomach and she's not going to be looking after you again this year.
Set up all the supplies for the morning. Have you got painkillers? Is there rashers and sausages in the fridge ready to be called upon? Have you the hungover playlist updated with Christmas songs?
These are the vital questions you must ask yourself before you make the journey. Quick pit stop to the ATM to withdraw some cash and you're ready to go (using your card is too much hassle in these situations).
This is where you need to lay down the ground rules. First and foremost, no getting into rounds with people. They'll end up drinking faster or slower than you do and you can't be dealing with that.
Choose your drink. It doesn't have to be your drink for the night but it's going to be in your hand for at least the next three/four pubs.
If you're on the pints, you don't want something that's too heavy. Guinness might be tasty in that old man's pub but you're going to be huffing and puffing by pub 8 trying to make room in your stomach for a few more.
If it's a spirit, think about your mixer carefully. Red Bull is going to get you wired too soon but Coca Cola is going to leave you with a banging headache in the morning. Cheeky sparkling water perhaps? Now, you're cooking.
It's all about taking your time. Most 12 pubs give at least a 30 minute time limit and you need to use every minute of that half hour wisely.
By pub 2 or 3 you'll begin to see who's already 'on their way'. You do not want to associate yourself with them because they will bring you down to their level and you'll end up puking in the cubicle next to them.
You know how people say 'oh, once they hit the air, they were gone'? Going outside is vital in 12 pubs. Don't heed the buck that says 'we'll stick in here for another one or two', the more familiar your drunken head gets to the air, the less likely it is to give up on you when you stumble out of pub 10.
By this stage, you'll have established what the rules are this year and if anyone is actually using them. The rules can kind of be fun if enforced at a willy-nilly tempo. If one person is too strict on the rules, just don't even bother following them.
By pub 3 (or 4 if you're very lucky) the seal will have been broken. Factor in long queues in the toilet for each pub from here on in. Later pubs may even require several trips.
Let's cheers to small bladders everybody.
You'll see a few stragglers slowly drift away by pub 5. Jane went out to ring her boyfriend 20 minutes ago but has just put up a Snapchat story in bed with the caption 'nable'.
We told Jane and the others that it was a marathon not a sprint but now the Usain Bolts have bolted home, it's down to the real contenders.
You're at the half way point and already you're doing better than this time last year. You're starting to feel the drinks now and only too right. You have two options in pub 6: You skip it altogether and tip to get some quick food or you swallow a drink quickly in there and then go for some chips.
The food part is essential.
Don't be fooled by the notion that you're the only person that's going to cheat but successfully complete 12 pubs. People have been skipping drinks and changing from pints to bottles all night. Nobody will notice you're gone if you don't take any longer than 10 minutes.
You don't want too much food because you will get sick but just enough to regain some soberness and to prepare yourself for the eventualities of the second half.
The hardy bucks are the only ones that are going to be left in these pubs and you're going to need at least one glass of water to get by.
You can no longer avoid people now, however, as the group has gotten smaller and smaller. So, you're going to have to listen to some amount of shite about how the girl who has been on double vodka and Red Bull all night is a "legend."
Shots are inevitable, they are going to be bought for you whether you like it or not. It's vital to remember at this stage that people are evil. 9 times out of 10 if someone asks you 'what shot do you not like?', it's a trick question and your answer will be what appears in front of you.
However, maybe you thrive on shots. If so, this is your time to shine and eliminate some of the opposition. If someone suggests a certain shot, hit them with the 'quick double' and order another of the same.
It may also be time to ditch the Christmas jumper. It weighs a ton, has drink spilled on it and YOU LOOK RIDICULOUS, IT LIGHTS UP FFS.
The length in the pubs has trickled into the 45 minute mark and badly needed says you. Everyone has hit a wall. The food and drink have started to mix and not in a good way and your finger is only moments away from pressing call for your local taxi man.
You need a pick-me-up that doesn't come in liquid form, it's time to dance. We're not talking slow songs, we mean full on jumping around the place carnage in the form of Chelsea Dagger, Mr. Brightside and Insomnia.
Your drinking routine goes like this from here on in: Sip your drink, sip some water, take a shot, toilet, try not to get sick, repeat until drink is all gone.
Someone suggests the prospect of ditching the last pub and heading to the nightclub. Sorry good sir, I did not get this far only to bid farewell at the last door.
It's the dirty dozen, you didn't think you'd see it when you were scoffing on some chips and feeling absolutely grim earlier but you're here now, so give yourself a round of applause.
You're going to be the talk of the town after this triumph.
You still have one more drink to get through, however, but the good news is you can take as much time with it as you want.
Time limits are gone, enjoy that last drink whatever it may be.
Wait a second, at what point did I start drinking brandy straight? Oh feck it, it's done now.
Post 12 pubs
You look at your wallet and see a handful of receipts but no money. Head back to the ATM and draw some cash and take the receipts and bin them. One, to make room for the dolla bills and two, because you DO NOT want to see how much 12 shots of Sambuca costs during Christmas.
Post match grub is optional, you might be still ticking over from the food at the mid-way point.
Make sure you've a taxi booked, it might be a licence driver or one of your parents/friends if they are kind enough. Regardless, tell them that there is a possibility that you might get sick and make sure to stress, repeatedly, just how much you love them.
Tackle into the celebration box when you get home and wash it all down with some water and a nice cup of tea before heading to bed.
Then, you play the waiting game... tomorrow is going to be rough.