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How to......have a cool Yule

I'm hosting Christmas Day. How will I cope?

Don't worry, it's not an Ofsted inspection. Settle the family down with a glass of bubbly, then break the news that they are having an in-service training day on how to cook Christmas dinner. They'll be too busy to squabble and you can give yourself some extra PPA time. Pour a large glass of wine, retire to the bathroom with some scented candles and your favourite bubble bath and wait until lunch is ready.

What about the perils of presents?

Try not to see thoughtful gifts (especially those lovingly crafted from household waste and covered in glitter) just as useless crap. Maybe some could be recycled for next year. Maintain the fixed grin you've been practising as you opened the pound-shop chocolates and perfume from your pupils and you'll be doing your bit for peace on earth and goodwill to all men.

What do I do about the traditional arguments about which TV programme to watch?

Bring on your behaviour management strategies - and if all else fails exclude any troublemakers in the kitchen to do the washing up.

Now for New Year... Indulge yourself while you can over the holiday period, then purge with some wholesome new year's resolutions. Here's a couple of ideas: go easy on the Friday night drinks in the staffroom; fight stress with a leisure activity that really excites you - rock climbing, bungee jumping, bird watching; book into a spa for a day's pampering.

And then of course you could always join the gym again in January - and actually do some workouts next year. Above all, enjoy

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