Tag Archives: Christmas

Surviving your family at Christmas.

Its the Christmas dream....until the kids start arguing

Its the Christmas dream….until the kids start arguing

Christmas is T minus 48 hours away. Many of us have put on our Out of Office, wrapped our presents, and are preparing for the annual family get together. But when the festive glow fades and you are all cooped up in a living room, a family Christmas dream can quickly turn into a nightmare.  We have had plenty of experience dealing with family drama at Christmas so we rounded up some great advice from Social Circle HQ. So here is our guide to surviving your family at Christmas.

Accept them for who they are.

Uncle Nigel may voice a few right wing opinions.  Grandma may ask if you have tried ‘batting for the other side’ because you have been single too long. Your brothers may get into a burping competition and Mum’s screams of frustration from the kitchen may be heard from miles around.  It is annoying being expected to help clean the kitchen whilst the teens are snapchatting their friends. Just breathe. Offer to help with cooking or even take them out if forty years of mum moaning that ‘she does everything’ is wearing thin.  

Whilst we are not saying you should put up with toxic behaviour,  it is far easier, for one day, to accept them for who they are and try and see the humour in the situation – any awkward or embarrassing moments will make for a good belly laugh when you meet your friends for post-Christmas drinks.  Believe us when we say we all have stories to tell.

Invite a friend (and use them as a human shield).

Really this one pays off all round.  One of our hosts is often kidnapped by friends who insist she shouldn’t be alone at Christmas. Rather than feeling guilty, she quickly realised she was saving her friends sanity too. Your family suddenly adopt their best behaviour and lavish attention on your friend – which is always appreciated – and you have a wingman/woman to turn to when everything gets a bit much.   

Remember that whilst your family may be a deep source of shame for you – your friend loves you for who you are – meaning that they are more likely to help you see the funny side of Aunt Magda’s quirks or point out that your cousins boasts about his promotion or new car may mean he is lacking in other areas. *snigger*

Put yourself first.

The ultimate survival tip is to put your own well-being above any traditions or guilt trips you may have been subjected to.  If your family relationships are really strained and toxic then you can make other plans if it is best for your well-being. You could visit friends or even take yourself on holiday. Spend the day on your own if that is what is best for you. (If that feels a bit raw due to a recent break upread this)    If you do go, don’t feel you have to stay – book a hotel nearby if necessary.

Even if you want to see your family – you can still need a little mental break.  Take the family dog for a walk. Take a book to read whilst the family watch the same Christmas films for the hundredth time.  Go for a nap.

Remember, it is just one or two days, and a great opportunity to make memories with your nearest and dearest. Even if those memories belong in a sitcom.

So share your own Christmas funnies below and have Merry Christmas from Social Circle HQ

Christmas Party Do’s & Don’ts.

It is the time of year where the invites roll in - but do you know your Christmas Party etiquette?

It is the time of year where the invites roll in – but do you know your Christmas Party etiquette?

Social Circle attended our annual Christmas Ball this weekend.  Typically, there were a number of companies and groups in the same place. It served as a rather eye-opening reminder of the etiquette of Christmas socialising.  We have put together some Christmas Party Do’s & Don’ts so you can truly relax and have a great time without f**king up your career or relationships.

DO: Wear something that makes you feel gorgeous and comfortable.

The ladies in attendance at the Ball looked stunning in their various plunge line jump suits and high heels but it was not long before the discomfort started showing.  Constantly pulling at your top or staggering on your heels is a sure sign that you are not 100% confident and comfortable which will impact on your memories of the event.   There are beautiful clothes for every size and occasion.You can be both elegant and comfortable, so choose wisely and let your confidence shine.

DON’T: Make a tit of yourself in respect of the dress code.

It goes without saying that you should observe the dress code for any event.  Yes, you may be a person who gives zero f**ks and maybe you are known for being a bit quirky.  However, if you are at an event with your colleagues and others in your industry then a failure to follow the rules could cast doubt over your professionalism and affect promotional prospects.  Even socially, putting two fingers up to social norms or failing to observe attention to detail can cause difficulties when socialising and alter people’s perception of you.

Wearing a coloured suit and paisley shirt when everyone is in black tie has all eyes on you for the wrong reason. Likewise, not checking the fit of your dress before you go bouncing around on the dance floor did lead to one woman repeatedly exposing her boobs to everyone in the room. All credit to her, she didn’t let the wardrobe malfunction phase her but it could have been avoided by a little attention to detail (i.e tit tape and tighter straps).  

Maybe this sounds a bit judgemental – but if you genuinely did not care you wouldn’t be reading this blog.

DO: Pace yourself.

When the prosecco is on free flow and numerous rounds are on the boss, knocking back the drinks becomes a little too easy.  However, know your limits. You don’t have to drink alcohol, and if you do make sure you drink slowly and have plenty of soft drinks too.  Pacing yourself will mean that you recover quickly the next day, and have some great memories.

DON’T. Drink to oblivion.

Alcohol impairs your judgement. The temptation to tell your boss what you think of her or make a move on your office crush may suddenly seem like the best idea you have ever had.  (spoiler – it’s not) Drinking to the extent you black out or throw up is not only a social faux-pas, especially with colleagues, but could compromise your safety. If you do find you hit your limits, call it a night and get a cab home.

Looks like fun, but will they regret it in the morning?

Looks like fun, but will they regret it in the morning?

DO:  Take the opportunity to chat to new people.

Even if you are at friends or a work function, the fact that so many people are in the same room is a really good opportunity to meet new people. Maybe you have never met  or they are only the voice at the end of a phone. Go over and say hello. We found asking people to take photos was a good icebreaker, as was finding a mutual favourite tune on the dance floor.  Avoid talk about work, politics or religion and try to find thing you have in common.

DON’T:  Be the Christmas Creep.

Alcohol, everyone looking their best, and the prospect of another single-mas seems to bring out the desperate and downright creepy in some people.  Flirty eye contact, if reciprocated, can be fun. Full on death stares are just scary. By all means dance closer to your intended and try and strike up conversation. But gyrating behind your intended or the constant slut drops on that good looking colleague just strikes everyone as a bit needy and is a source of unwanted gossip.  The worst case scenario is that you could lose your job for getting a bit touchy-feely with the gorgeous Nicole because you did not take no for an answer.

DO:  Relax and Have a great time.

Christmas is a great time to relax with friends and colleagues and share a sense of achievement at another year of success. Have fun, enjoy the surroundings and laugh and dance to your heart’s content.

DON’T: Prioritise social media

Yes – parties are challenging for those who prefer online to face to face contact.  However, it is time to physically tear yourself away from your phone. You don’t have to check in online, constantly take pouty selfies or ignore your friends and colleagues in preference to social media. Of course, take photos and get silly in the photo booths. But you cannot build great memories if you are glued to your phone and not in the room.

So have fun at your Christmas Party, and have a very merry Christmas from all at Social Circle.

Social Circle at the Ball. As captured by a very nice but tipsy bystander.

Social Circle at the Ball. As captured by a very nice but tipsy bystander.

Your First Christmas Alone? Read This.

 

Single this Christmas? Make it your happiest yet.

Single this Christmas? Make it your happiest yet.

My friend reached out to me for advice on spending her first Christmas alone.   “Heather – I am dreading Christmas alone – how do you cope?”  This is her first Christmas following her separation and – as a long term single blogger – she reached out for my advice on best of it. She is not alone, as statistics show that the run up to Christmas is a peak time for break-ups.  

That is cold comfort when you are left out in the cold, whilst your neighbours homes seem to embody the warm and loving spirit of Christmas. I have been there. So when my friend reached out to me I looked back over how I turned what use to be a miserable time of year into an amazing period of fun, love and happiness even though I am single.  I promise you can have a very happy Single-mas.

The first Christmas alone is the hardest. But it does get better.

Breaking up leaves you conflicted.  There is anger, shame, guilt, depression, and confusion to deal with.  All of which are perfectly normal. Christmas brings that home more than any other time of year especially when once close friends seem to distance themselves.  For those of you in long term relationships it can feel like you have lost half your family.

So needless to say.  It is painful.

Firstly, accept that grief is part of the process. But it is temporary.  Do what you need to do to process your emotions in a healthy way.

For me, my first Christmas was spent asleep in my beautiful apartment. I was totally alone.  It was the first time I felt safe for a long time. I wasn’t ready to deal with people – and if you feel that way too – it’s OK.  

As those fluffy millennial memes will tell you. Self-Care is important.

However, note the advice to deal with things healthily.  This does not mean exacting revenge on your ex or asking friends to take sides. It should not mean a war over the kids or pets.  It does not drinking/eating/spending your way into oblivion. If you feel this way then do not be ashamed to seek professional help.

Over time I came to accept  the fundamental truth. There is no changing the past. You cannot see the future.  

But you are here now and you can make choices that enrich your life and for your longer term happiness.  You can decide to have a very merry Christmas – whether single or not.

#1 Define what it means to have a Happy Christmas.

The truth is – we often compromise with our loved ones at Christmas.  Perhaps you always went to ‘hers’, Maybe he always insisted on putting the star on the tree. Perhaps you always had to cook and entertain the same people. Maybe she always mocked the need to spend the entire day in a Christmas jumper.

Well, here is the good news.

You can have exactly the Christmas you want.

I suggest starting by making your own list.  First, write all the things you will miss about Christmas with your ex.  Yes, this is painful but bear with me. Secondly, write all the things that you wanted to do – but never did.

Go through your list and do your best to give yourself everything on that list.

Buy yourself an advent calendar. Decorate the tree how you want. Take yourself to a beach if you want to.  Sing your heart out at a carol concert.

Just indulge that little boy or girl inside who is really in need of a lot of love right now.

Define what makes you happy - then go do it!

Define what makes you happy – then go do it!

#2 Find your own way to give to those you love

Separation does not just impact on your emotions, but your finances too.  Having to find a new place, pay childcare etc, often means you cannot be as generous with gifts as you once were.  

Now is the perfect time to let any creative talents shine.

Maybe you have taken beautiful photos on your phone – in which case give them to your friends as a gift.  Maybe you have green fingers and can give home-grown flowers to your nearest and dearest. Make cakes, or layer cake ingredients in jars for a pretty gift.  Perhaps write a thoughtful letter to those who have supported you. Make decorations for those you love. Perhaps give a second hand book or movie you loved to someone you know you will enjoy it.

True friends will understand this, and unleashing your creative side will give you a happy glow.

#3 Get that Christmas Connection.

It can be easy to get grinch-like if you are feeling lonely – but here is the newsflash.  You are not the only person who is single at Christmas.

Firstly, you may find that a flurry of invites come through your door.  

No one likes the idea of someone spending Christmas alone. Over the last few years my friends have ignored my protests and bundled me into the back of a fiesta.  Thereafter I spend the day being force-fed amazing food whilst my friends children let you play with their toys.  I am eternally grateful for my friends. 

Other single friends may suggest a Christmas dinner together.

Go to a fancy restaurant or take a dish round to your friends.  Get merry and laugh. Distance is not an issue either! I have skyped friends in the USA whilst they are preparing dinner.

Don’t forget that there are charities that work all year round – and are desperate for volunteers.  Helping out at a soup kitchen or visiting lonely pensioners can be rewarding for all involved. It also is extremely humbling so hear how much hope and gratitude  people living in the worse possible circumstances have.

#4 Just remember – It is just one day.

Give yourself the gift of a life well lived.

Give yourself the gift of a life well lived.

I am not going to pretend it’s not tough at times, even years later.  But it is just one day. Wipe your tears-and the slate – clean. Think ahead to what you want your future to look like.  

Do you want to relieve the pain of what may have passed, or do you want to give yourself a gift of a bright and happy life?

Do you want to laugh more?  Have more fun? Try new activities?  Maybe meet new people? There is nothing to stop you.

You can commit now to making each and every day special.

You never know – it may mean you get to kiss that special someone under the Mistletoe.

But in the meantime. Have a Happy Single-Mas!!

P.s You are still loved, and will be fine I promise. You just need to realise that. 

24 Ways to Socialise this Christmas: A Socialites Advent Calendar.

We have the ultimate Christmas List for Socialites.

We have the ultimate Christmas List for Socialites.

Are you feeling the festive spirit? Don’t want to limit yourself to the office party? If you are looking to try new activities and meet new people in Manchester this winter then check our own version of an Advent Calendar for Socialites by exploring 24 Ways to Socialise this Christmas.

Unleash Your Inner Child.

You don’t need children to enjoy these fun activities. Grab some friends and get very silly.

    1.Head out to with friends to  Salford Quays on the Trial of the Snowman. There are twelve          painted Snowman dotted around the Quays and Media City. Can you find them all? We did!

  1. Make like an Arctic Explorer by travelling through the Ice Caverns in Manchester, battling with polar bears and even a Yeti on your way to the heart of Santas Grotto.  If you are a good girl or boy, you may even get to meet Santa himself. What do you mean you are 31? We are going!
  2. Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Ste-phen.  Whether you are the next star of the Voice or mumble along and hope no one notices, there is nothing like a bit of Carol Singing to get you feeling all festive.
  3. Why not catch a Panto?  You can shout ‘he’s behind you’ all you want at comedian Les Dennis and marvel at the stunning scenery as we follow Cinderella in her quest to meet Prince Charming.
  4.  If nostalgia, Christmas party anthems  and a little bet gets your jingle on, then Grosvenor Casino are offering a fun evening that will get you Rocking Around the Christmas Tree and hopefully leaving with some gold coins in your pocket.
It does not matter if you are 35 going on 6 - come meet Santa

It does not matter if you are 35 going on 6 – come meet Santa

Sparkling Performances.

Christmas is not just about falling asleep in front of the TV during Home Alone.  It can be a great way to explore your cultured side by seeing the best in theatre, dance and of course film.

  1.  Swan Lake is at the Lowry until 1st December 2018.  This award-winning re-imagining of Tchaikovsky classic features a talented all-male cast which shattered traditions  in this passionate and witty modern masterpiece.
  2. Ah we love a little festive romance. Why not watch Love Actually and hold back the tears at *that* scene whilst a live orchestra plays the music?
  3. We all love the ultimate Christmas movie, Die Hard!  Come watch a screening in the beautiful Victoria Baths for a little nostalgia.
  4. Horror fans will love Grimmfest screening of Krampus at Manchester Central Library.  Included in the price is a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie. Lovely!
  5.  If you love  musical zombie films (who doesn’t) as much as Christmas then Anna and the Apocalypse is a real treat. We have it on very good authority that it is brilliant. Keep an eye on the Social Circle calendar for more!
  6. Have a Wicked Christmas at The Palace Theatre this year. Winner of over 100 international awards, Wicked has been casting its magical spell across the world for over a decade.

Get in the Festive Spirit.

Nothing Beats Mulled Wine at Christmas

Nothing Beats Mulled Wine at Christmas

Want something to make your cheeks rosy?  There are lots of lovely places where you can have a cheeky tipple.

  1. If you cannot wait until December (we can’t) then why not join us in exploring Didsbury’s hottest bars for a pre-Christmas warm up? .  We are meeting at the Metropolitan on Friday at 8pm.
  2. Collect a mug, fill it up with mulled wine and get  exploring Manchester’s Christmas Market. If you fancy company then come join us?
  3. How about some bubbles or even a delicious Baileys Hot Chocolate as you listen to some Christmas Music and chat to new friends at the Elizabethan in Heaton Moor.
  4.  You cannot get more festive than dressing up as Santa and heading to some of the best bars in town with a great bunch of people.  Expect plenty of festive spirit and laugh as you ho-ho-ho along with the epic Santa Pub Crawl.

Festive Foodies.

Christmas in Manchester is perfect for Foodies.

Christmas in Manchester is perfect for Foodies.

Christmas brings out the foodies in all of us, as it is a chance to savour the finest treats as we reward ourselves for a busy year.

  1. If you want a sophisticated treat then why not have a festive afternoon tea, complete with mince pies, at the beautiful Hotel Gotham?
  2. Join us for a festive sunday lunch at The Lime Tree where you can enjoy such treats as  roast turkey or beef and Christmas pudding ice-cream.
  3. If you want to take a break from Christmas shopping and enjoy a lavish 3 course dinner at Harvey Nichols then you can enjoy the festive menu for just £30.
  4. Of course if you need something for your own Christmas table then check out the makers markets in Manchester NQ for some delicious treats, or even sample some vegan festive fayre at the festival.

Work off those mince pies.

Fancy a Jingle Bell Jog? (c) Sports Tours International

Fancy a Jingle Bell Jog? (c) Sports Tours International

It may be Christmas but you can still have fun whilst working off a few mince pies.  These events have the feel-good factor of raising money for charity too!

  1. Run, Jog or Walk around Media City in your Santa suit for the annual Jingle Bell Jog on 1st December 2018.

21.If you like actual snow at Christmas then why not pop along to watch, or participate, in the Santa Ski on 10th December 2018

22.Christmas would not be the same without ice skating, whether you are a semi-professional or have never tried it, you can skate to your heart’s content at First Street in Manchester

23.If you enjoy walking then Dunham Massey has lit up the estate with baubles and lights.  If you want to avoid the crowds then come join us for a crisp morning walk around Styal Woods.

Party like it is 2019

  1. If you want to welcome the new year in style, join our NYE party at Albert Schloss.  Expect free flowing prosecco, mouth-watering canapes whilst you watch some of the best burlesque performances and dance to live music until the clock strikes twelve. (and beyond).  Places are limited so get booking.

Our Gift to you!

As you have been very good this year and decided to have a lot of festive fun, we are offering you socialites a whole month of socialising for just £5.  Quick, this festive offer is only open until 30 November 2018 so you best get your sleigh and ho-ho-ho all the way to a a festive season full of fun and new friends.