So you've done the whole being lonely and single thang at Christmas, you've found your love and everything is wonderful - but then comes the testing time when you're expected to split the day between your two families at Christmas.
"Eh wha? You mean I can't just spend eternity sleeping in my childhood bed every Christmas Eve?"
If only life was that simple.
It's all well and good going for the odd Sunday lunch with your new mom and pop in-law, but spending the entire Xmas day with them? Something else all together.
If you're dreading this lets be honest, nerve-wracking experience, the following quote from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation may speak to you:
"I don't know what to say, except it's Christmas and we're all in misery."
Don't fret too much though, 'cos we've rounded up a few tried-and-tested professional* tips on how to turn that misery into em, less misery.
This is your 101 guide to surviving the season with the in-laws:
*real-life couples who have actually lived to tell the tale
1. Make a game plan in advance
You know the drill: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
If you chat to your partner in advance about what is to be expected over the Christmas time with the in-laws, you're less likely to be upset by any bumps in the road. Think in advance of scenarios that may come up and you'll be better able to deal.
Such as, does you father-in-law get a bit too political at dinner? Make a point when they first arrive that it would be nice to just have a "relaxed conversation at the table this year, nothing too topical". Hopefully he'll get the message.
2. Have some 'me time' before they arrive
If you take some time to chill out before you get invaded, you'll be less stressed. Watch your favourite movie on TV (god knows you won't have a say in what you'll be watching all weekend so enjoy it while you can) and take a loooong, hot bubbly bath like the diva you are.
Savour the alone time and just think: Anyone can get through 24 hours.
3. Set a time limit
There's nothing worse than either A) having guests stay for an unnecessary amount of time with no set statement of when they're leaving, or B) feeling trapped in your other halves family home down the country because they know you have the whole week off work.
This is where white lies come in: Mention weeks in advance that you have made plans for after Stephen's Day that you just have to do.
4. Have kids? Use them as a distraction
Depending on how relaxing you find hanging out with your li'l sprogs is, either make every excuse possible to play with them in a separate part of the house/sitting room so that you don't have to chat to the mean grown-ups orrrrr even better:
Sweetly suggest that Granny and Granddad spend some quality time alone with their grandkids while you and lover chill with a big glass of wine.
5. Be a champagne Papi
Maybe the reason it's so acceptable to booze at Christmas is that even pagans knew in-law stress could be relieved with a flute of champers?
You can even sip from it at breakfast time, seriously it's graaaand. Just don't drink so much that you actually start to speak your true thoughts - that could get dangerous.
6. Break out the running shoes
If you really feel like you're cracking up at any point throughout the day, grab your runners and tell everyone you're going out for your "daily jog".
Just make sure your other half doesn't give the game away by looking confused because he knows you only bought those runners for walking to and from the office. Breathe in the fresh air, and relax,
7. Stay busy
Probably one of the only benefits of offering to cook the Christmas dinner is that you have the perfect excuse to stay behind the oven slaving over the gravy and listening to whatever you want on the radio.
All you'll have to do is greet them on arrival and you're free as a roast bird until well after the afternoon. Sorted.
8. If all else fails, go to bed
Don't be afraid to quit while you're ahead. Fake a headache, extreme exhaustion, whatever.
Yawn around 8pm and say you've had a lovely day, thanks so, SO much, but it's all gotten too much for you. Grab a book (and a mince pie) on your way upstairs and pat yourself on the back for being a trooper.
Now you can finally have some peace and quiet.... Until next year!