Skip to main content

Life Your last-minute guide to getting through the holidays unscathed, from gifts to guests to getting away from it all

The most wonderful time of the year? We get it. The holidays are stressful. The bickering relatives, endless to-do lists and lineups galore. Not to mention toys that are sold out, tape that has run out and nowhere to hide (the presents). We’re here to help with solutions to common holiday problems, so as the too-short days of December fly by, you can keep your sanity – and sense of humour – intact.

Table of Contents

Read more of The Globe’s guides to living well, from how to shop for wine to how to sleep better

Lucy Waverman

The food

Bye-bye dry turkey, hello dry brining

A lot of people are scared to cook turkey – or resigned to eating overcooked, dry meat. Lucy Waverman’s solution? Dry brining, which results in juicy, tender and flavourful meat, followed by high-heat roasting.

The no-work solution to hosting holiday dinners

The season for socializing is upon us, but feeding a houseful of guests can be stressful. Enter bar snacks and party platters that look as good as they taste and take no time to throw together for any meal, even dessert.

Haven’t had time to bake? Gather five ingredients to make perfect shortbread

Ingredients are key to making the best shortbread, along with mixing by hand so it’s easier to judge the dough’s texture.


Now what to do with all the leftovers?

Lots of people throw them out, but all it takes is a bit of creativity to turn leftovers into an easy meal. Or upcycle them into something new for brunch on Dec. 26, a great way to play with flavour pairings.

12 strategies for a healthier holiday eating season

December is a calorie minefield, but there are ways to enjoy the season without worrying about weight gain come January. Dietitian Leslie Beck has a plan for healthy habits through the holiday season, and a quiz to test your nutrition knowledge.

How to avoid binging on holiday treats

What can you do to resist eating the entire cookie platter, or reaching for that third helping of stuffing? First of all, forget any techniques for strengthening your willpower.

Dietitian Leslie Beck shares her top tips for navigating through an endless servings of holiday sweet and savoury treats Globe and Mail Update

Alena Zamotaeva/Getty Images

The drinks

Seven ways to minimize a hangover

There’s no magic bullet to ward off a hangover (except time, of course). But dietitian Leslie Beck offers seven strategies that might offer some relief – and still let you enjoy yourself.

Strategies for a no-booze holiday season

What if you’re avoiding alcohol and the dangers of problem drinking? Tips for getting through party season, and how to accommodate non-drinkers as a holiday host.

KAGAN MCLEOD/The Globe and Mail

The guests

The five types of problem people you meet at holiday parties – and how to deal with them

Holiday soirées can be fun, but they can also be full of socially awkward conversationalists. David Eddie offers a guide to the personalities you’re likely to meet at the punch bowl – and how to gracefully move on from them.

How to survive dinner party guests from hell

From people who show up early to friends who never return the invite, David Eddie’s guide to handling some of the more common scenarios of hosting (sometimes uncivilized) people for dinner.

How to argue with people and not ruin everything for everyone

In an age of hyperpartisanship and bewildering bombast, family dinners are a minefield. How can you make sure reason prevails? Here’s what the experts say.

An introvert’s guide to getting through the holidays

Hate small talk? Anyone can learn to schmooze successfully, so break out of your shell with these tips for surviving a party from start to finish.

Is it time to stop inviting ungrateful relatives over for Christmas?

Are you dreaming of a quiet and stress-free Christmas? David Eddie weighs in on one family’s problems with rude relatives.

How do you handle not being invited to a friend’s holiday party?

We’re social creatures, so naturally we feel it keenly when we’re not included in people’s events. But here’s something to make peace with: You can’t be invited to everything.

Photograph by Joseph Saraceno; Styling by Wilson Wong/The Globe and Mail

The gift-giving

For food and wine lovers

12 splurge-worthy bottles that will make spirits merry and bright, and five cookbooks that would make great last-minute Christmas presents.

For bookworms

We’ve scanned the shelves to offer 66 picks for every type of reader on your list.

For fitness fanatics

From minimalist shoes to high-style gym clothes to great fitness reads, fitness gifts for those who love their workouts.

For travellers

Any traveller would welcome these ideas, big and small and some mere wishes, to make their journeys more pleasant.

For beauty buffs

How to choose the right fragrance, skin care and custom cosmetics for those who love the beauty aisle.

Amberly McAteer/The Globe and Mail

For pets

Come for the ideas in our seventh annual pet gift guide, stay for our perfect – and adoptable – models

The best online gifts for every personality on your list

Shop from the comfort of your couch with our roundup of presents for everyone from the hypebeast to the altruist.

Tips to navigate holiday obligations when you’re on a tight budget

Around this time of year, we’re bombarded with exhortations to spend, spend, spend – and give to charity – and if you’re not feeling flush it can be tough to know how to handle it all.

What do you do when a family member never says thank you for gifts?

There are those who go to the effort of sending a thank-you note in the mail. And then there are those who don’t even acknowledge a gift you’ve just handed them.

How do you write a Christmas letter for 2018, a year of hell?

Holiday missives may be an old-fashioned custom, but the ritual gives us something we can count on in an unreliable, dangerous world. Ian Brown gives it a try

Diane Labombarbe/istock

The travelling

How to avoid the pitfalls of a family getaway at the holidays

For most families, it’s only a matter of time before Hallmark intentions meet Griswold ending. But before you start planning an escape to Hawaii, consider this: You might make things worse.

How to make room in your suitcase for presents

If you’re travelling over the holidays, chances are you’re coming home with gifts. So plan ahead and be ruthless about what you pack.

Tips to breeze through airport security over the holidays

Don’t be that person holding up the security lineup. Know the rules and be prepared.

From flight delays to toddler meltdowns, the ultimate holiday travel survival guide

Travel-industry insiders offer their expertise to help you deal with the most common pitfalls of the season with as little stress as possible.

Live your best. We have a daily Life & Arts newsletter, providing you with our latest stories on health, travel, food and culture. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Discussion loading ...