Okay, okay, we hate to go all bah humbug on you and spoil your festive cheer. But sometimes, Christmas isn’t all jolly and fun – sometimes, it’s hard work. You’re away from the charts, your house is full, there are turkeys to be cooked, presents to be wrapped (and probably still to be bought… oops) and a never-ending stream of visitors. So we’ve put together a Traders’ Guide to Surviving the Festive Season to give you a helping hand (or at least a giggle if it’s all getting a bit much).
Read on for our top tips for surviving the festive season…
Find out when your broker is closed
Knowing this in advance will give you the opportunity to a) mentally prepare yourself for the period of separation and b) plan how you’re going to keep yourself occupied. It’s essential to look busy at all times over the festive period or you’ll find yourself given a list of tasks before you’ve even opened your advent calendar. Stock up on trading documentaries, books and films and you’ll be safe from having to spend your days off doing the Christmas food shop or watching Elf for the 475th time. And they’ll also come in handy if the worst happens and you find yourself snowed in…
Practice your poker face
Let’s clear this one up right now: at some point across the festive season, you are going to receive a gift you don’t want, don’t need and frankly will probably throw away before the New Year. It’s essential in this situation that you are able to smile, say thank you (preferably with a bit of enthusiasm) and convince the unfortunate gift-giver that their gift is perfect – it’s the thought that counts, after all. So take some time to carefully cultivate that “it’s-exactly-what-I-wanted” face, and whatever you do, don’t say “Oh, that’s different…”
Don’t forget the turkey
Or the gravy, or the de-icer (for when you need to make a quick escape). Remember most supermarkets will close early on Christmas Eve and not open at all on Christmas Day – and this has a tendency to cause widespread panic and hour-long queues in Tesco as people stock up on everything they’ll need in case a zombie apocalypse strikes in the 48 hours they can’t get to a supermarket. Steer clear of the madness – make a list, get everything you need by the 22nd and get out. And stay out.
Leaving your trading desk in a whirlwind of Christmas jumpers and festive cheer is all fun and games until you remember you’ve left the office in disarray, your trading plan for 2015 is non-existent and you’ll struggle to find your desk come January under the paperwork mountain. You’ll be much better off staying focused, planning ahead and getting the office organised (but don’t worry too much when you still don’t get around to this despite your best intentions… we won’t either).
Take a time out
Okay, so the Christmas festive is all about spreading cheer with your nearest and dearest… but that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to take a minute for yourself (and if Christmas to you means a constant herd of uncles, aunties, in-laws, grandparents and a random assortment of children and pets, then we reckon it’s obligatory). Go for a walk, have a bath, or just lock yourself in a quiet room (tell everyone you’re checking the charts) – just have a moment of peace. This one simple tip can save a lot of not-so-cheerful festive fights.
The office Christmas party…
Is a minefield of hungover working days, awkward moments over the coffee machine and regret. Pacing yourself is strongly recommended, as is encouraging everyone else to drink faster when you realise you’re not pacing yourself very well. If everyone’s drunk together, no-one will remember the Christmas karaoke and no-one has to be embarrassed! And if all else fails, don’t go to work the next day without a Nutshell – ideal for sleeping off one too many beers or hiding from any awkward moments.
Know what’s on TV
This is vital to ensure you can choose your remote-battles appropriately and don’t miss any of your essential Christmas viewing, whether you love a game of festive footie or you just can’t miss the annual Harry Potter marathon. Peruse the TV Guide, decide on the prime viewing spots and guard the remote control with your life. Hiding any copies of the TV Guide you find lying around is also useful to prevent your opponents from interfering with your TV schedule.
And finally… hide the scales
Christmas is all about selection boxes for breakfast, dessert with every meal, mulled wine and hot chocolate, piles of roast potatoes and basically just eating everything in sight. So before you get started on eating yourself into a frenzy, hide the scales, those jeans that only fit when you’ve been “being good” and anything else that will interfere with your Christmas eating habits. Fixing the damage is what January is for…