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How to Prevent Common Christmas Disasters

With a little forethought, you can avoid many embarrassing, annoying, and downright dangerous holiday mishaps.


  • Step 1: Buy extra gifts Have wrapped, unisex gifts on hand in case you forget someone. This is also useful if someone gives you something that cost twice as much as what you gave them: Just say, "And here's your other gift!"
  • TIP: Pick things you can use if you don't give them as gifts, or stuff that can hold until next year.
  • Step 2: Find your drink limit Figure out how much alcohol you can drink at the office Christmas party before you're at risk of doing something you'll regret. Then stick to your limit.
  • Step 3: Dodge a kiss Avoid an unwelcome mistletoe kiss by saying you have a cold – or feigning a cough or sneeze as the person closes in on you.
  • Step 4: Be gracious, but vague If someone gives you a lousy gift, simply say, "Thank you." If you pretend to like it, you may get more of the same next year.
  • Step 5: Keep pets safe Prevent an emergency trip to the veterinarian by keeping sweet treats away from dogs and cats. Chocolate toxicity is the most common holiday-related illness for pets. Poinsettias are also poisonous to your four-legged friends.
  • Step 6: Secure the tree Keep kids and pets from knocking over the Christmas tree by securing it with clear fishing line attached to the treetop and a ceiling hook.
  • TIP: If you have a cat, scatter orange and lemon rinds on the tree skirt; most cats hate citrus scents.
  • Step 7: Get last-minute gifts Don't panic if you still need gifts and even the drugstores are closed: Just go online, order a gift, and print out a photo of it. On your way out when you realize you've forgotten someone? Pick up some movie passes or a gas gift card.
  • FACT: The average person gives up on trying to make their new electronic gift work at 11:48 a.m. on Christmas morning, according to a survey.

You Will Need

  • Emergency gifts
  • A drink limit
  • Kiss-avoidance strategies
  • Graciousness
  • Fishing wire
  • A computer with internet access
  • Orange and lemon rinds (optional)

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