Tis the season to get fat, drunk, broke and stressed out.
But you don't have to. Paul Little asked the experts how to deal with Christmas challenges.
Oh go on – another truffle won't kill you. And how about that turducken – chicken in a duck in a turkey? We're all being told to eat less red meat, aren't we? That's practically a health food. Christmas doesn't always bring out the nutritional best in us. But it doesn't have to be quite as bad as we tend to make it.
Nutritionist Nikki Hart says the key is menu planning. And she does not mean planning to carb up and out.
"I'm big on having things like fruits and veg included at all of the meal events," says Hart.
"If there's a lot of colour, it's really attractive and people will eat those. Have healthy nibbles like hummus and nuts, as well as the other things. It's about providing an option. If you have a smoothie for breakfast and the rest of the day is a feast, at least you've started off right."
For a safe treat, Hart likes a summer pudding made of bread and all kinds of berries.
"Or you could do an Eton mess that is half yoghurt and half cream. It doesn't have to be all cream.
"But it's not going to wreck a year of trying to be healthy if you celebrate around the table for a couple of meals with family and friends."
Hart adds that Christmas is also gout's favourite time of year.
"If people eat lot of meat and seafood-based products, and carbs drop and they get dehydrated and drink alcohol, it's a recipe for disaster. Be mindful of food high in purines – anchovies, patés and offal foods."
Top you up? Just one more? One for the road? Might as well finish the bottle. Well, I've opened it now.
There's probably no time when there is greater pressure to over indulge in alcohol than Christmas. However, it is possible to drink sensibly and still have a good time.
Waitemata DHB external communications adviser Rebecca Emery has a long list of practical ways to stay safe this season.
She recommends delaying tactics for a start – that is, don't start drinking till as late in the day as possible, and then space out your drinks or alternate them with low-alcohol or non-alcohol based drinks. There are more than ever of these beverages that don't taste like lolly water available now.
"Keep hydration up with water," says Emery.
"It doesn't need to be boring. Add sliced lemon, lime, watermelon or strawberries; garnish with mint and ice cubes."
Drinking and driving is never an option. But Emery suggests that as well as having a designated driver, you have a designated decision maker, someone who will stay sober enough to make decisions should complications arise.
And it's not just guests who need to behave themselves. Hosts should never pressure anyone to consume alcohol. "And don't top-up someone's drink without asking. If you see someone getting 'tiddly', encourage them to ease off the alcohol for a bit and offer them an alternative."
Christmas is also about families, in particular about families who don't have a lot to do with each other during the year, grabbing the opportunity to get together and remind themselves why.
Sibling rivalry, long-simmering resentments, inappropriate uncles – all these flourish in the bright glare of the Christmas lights. But it doesn't have to be like that – all you need is a bit of family planning.
Relationships counsellor Steven Dromgool has a filter he recommends couples use for making decisions about the day.
"I say to people: you are in a boat together, on a journey through life, and how long you live and how well you live is dependent on how well you take care of the other person."
Dromgool says the two people in the boat come first, and everyone else is outside the boat, including the kids.
But once we take care of our partners other things fall into place.
"People love their kids, so you can't do something that hurts your kid without damaging your partner. That creates a sense of priority and focus for people. Are we going to bankrupt ourselves buying presents for the kids? How well would that work for them? No we won't do that."
Christmas will still be Christmas if we make decisions on this basis. For most of us, part of the fun of Christmas is our childhood excitement carried over into adulthood, which is why we get stubborn about the tree or the decorations.
"You can have a conversation about what is really important for you about this time of year, bearing in mind Christmas for most people is a time of magic and wonder and you want to keep that as part of the experience."
Christmas ads tend to the apocalyptic when encouraging your purchases: Hurry! Don't miss out! Last days! But those great pre-Christmas buys can turn into a post-Christmas hell of debt and credit card regret.
"Our number-one piece of advice is to set a budget and do your best to stick to it," says Consumer's head of research, Jessica Wilson.
"One of the biggest issues is blowing that budget, spending more than you anticipated and making impulse buys, particularly when shopping online and paying for products that don't turn up. Then you have to chase them for your money and a New Zealand website address doesn't necessarily mean it is based here."
Often offers look cheap but aren't once various fees and charges are added. Or you may find the item is regularly available for the "special" cost or for less elsewhere.
"Arrange gift-giving limits with family, or only buy for particular people," advises Wilson. Don't be afraid of looking out for second-hand gifts. Make an agreement to buy a particular gift when it is on sale."
Then there are the Christmas cards.
"Some gift cards have such a short expiry date they can expire before the person has a chance to use it in six or even 12 months. Our advice is to pressure them to honour it even if it has expired, but the best cards have no expiry date."
Or maybe don't give things.
"There is a bit of a trend towards people who are concerned about for the environment to look for other options that are more event based."
Aren't beach holidays the best? Cooking not just for your family but for your kids' friends and those people who've been renting the bach next to you for the past 20 years and seem to turn up with their wine at 5 o'clock every night. Dealing with the sunburn that really defines a Kiwi Christmas. But there are alternatives.
Flight Centre travel broker Jo Peterson says the best all-round Christmas holiday is a cruise – any duration, any destination. No cooking, no cleaning, everyone gets a break from everything and cruises have activities for all age levels and all kinds of interests.
They might take some saving up but there's also excellent value to be had.
"I always advise people to wait for a special. If it's Christmas time, the big thing is to book in advance or you can miss out or end up paying way more than you need to."
Peterson says it's important to remember the holiday basics too.
"Make sure insurance, passports and visas are up to date. There is no stress-free holiday without current documents."
And if you don't opt for a Caribbean cruise, and do insist on renting a bach or putting up a tent at the camp, you can make that a stress-free time for everyone with a little planning. Plan to share the load with cooking and other chores. Make sunblock and insect repellent a ritual rather than an afterthought.
Paterson says above all it's important to remember what holidays are for: "People have been working hard all year. Everyone is tired. They want to flop and drop."
Your children go out of their way to be perfectly behaved at this time of year because they know that Father Christmas or his representative on Earth will be sure to supply every item on their long list of wished-for gifts if they do. So why the meltdown when they get the cruddy iPhone XR instead of the iPhone 11Pro?
"Christmas has been hijacked by commercialism, so it's really big business and that's expensive for parents," says Jo Batts, a family coach at The Parenting Place.
"Anything that is expensive can be incredibly stressful.
"Our top tip is that Christmas is about more than just presents. It existed long before shopping malls. Christmas has to be less about the accumulation of stuff and more about valuing things that matter. That could be our faith, our family our friends, having a few days off work, enjoying our beautiful country and just being together. It's about taking the focus off the presents and moving it onto rituals and tradition and routines that centre around what is important to us."
Batts says kids are happy to get with the programme.
"We don't need to justify ourselves. It's about having confidence in what we do, rather than explaining what we're not doing.
"Resist the urge to over-promise. Kids are good at knowing that there are limits. It's an opportunity to do what we always do and model some great values."
And one of those values, traditionally, is generosity.
"Christmas can be about helping other people in our community How you do it is up to you but it's really good to get our kids out of the "me me me" habit.