How to survive Christmas

How to Survive Christmas 2023

It may be the time of year for making merry for some, but for many others Christmas can be a struggle for a variety of reasons.

Fear not, we’re here to share some ways to get through it all.

But if it all gets too much, for whatever reason, keep some key lifelines in mind:

NHS 111 | Samaritans (call 116 123) | National Suicide Prevention Helpline (call 0800 689 5652) | Campaign Against Living Miserably (call 0800 58 58 58) | Switchboard (call 0300 330 0630)

Hunker Down: Hibernation Salvation

Listen to Lucky Cat

If Wong Kar Wai had a radio show. Lucky Cat is a spicy chop suey of music and culture produced and presented by Zoë Baxter.

Watch & Listen to Northern Soul at the Proms

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A special Prom from back in August, featuring amazing arrangements of northern soul anthems performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and an incredible line-up of vocalists.

Watch Is There Anybody Out There?

BFI & CHANEL Filmmaker Award winner Ella Glendining delivers an essential, honest and eye-opening account of disability in an ableist world, in the BIFA nominated documentary film Is There Anybody Out There?

Listen to Charity Shop Classics

A celebration of the fantastic array of records and CDs found in charity shops across the land.

Give a Little: Give What You Can

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Crisis at Christmas

It’s never too late to donate to Crisis & make this Christmas the first day of someone’s life beyond homelessness.

Support a Food Bank

There are plenty of people who can’t afford the basics all year round, let alone at Christmas. Find your local food bank and help out if you can – either by donating (money or food), volunteering or fundraising.

Celia Hammond Animal Trust

Support our local charity, dedicated to the rescue and homing of abandoned cats, dogs and other pets.

Deptford Market

Support a local market

Give something back to your local community of makers and hawkers of wares. From bric-a-brac to artisanal crafts, fresh produce, vintage clothes, toys and household essentials – there’s a market for everything.

Tinsel-free Temptations

My Neighbour Totoro

We loved this RSC production last year, and we’re seeing it again on NYE. It’s such a heartwarming story, without any of the Christmas baggage!

Catch some West End Theatre

You could check out some diverting West End Fare, such as the long-running The Mousetrap (which we saw a couple of years back – it’s still got it!), Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club (which blew us away), or even The Enfield Haunting.

Check out some Cabaret!

Check out La Clique for guaranteed jaw-dropping circus and cabaret wows, pop into the new Underbelly Boulevard Soho for Bernie Dieter’s Club Kabarett, or “devour the forbidden fruit to experience the pleasures of The Bitten Peach” at Crazy Coqs.

Learn Something New

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This year, one half of To Do List took up floristry. You might have seen us hawking our wares at markets around London – if you haven’t, check out Where Have All The Flowers Gone? online!

If you want to try your hand at floristry, check out local learning opportunities. Ru developed his skills with the Adult Learning Lewisham programme – check that out here.

Free Lectures

Get your thinking hat on at any of the hundreds of free public lectures across London – plan some educational sessions for next year with Lectures.London, and get through Christmas with Gresham College’s extensive video archive of free public lectures!

Visit a Museum

Betwixtmas is a great time to visit the museums of London – especially some of the smaller, more offbeat treats that might escape you the rest of the year. We recommend trying out the Museum of Brands, The Horniman Museum, Sir John Soane’s Museum, The Postal Museum and the London Canal Museum.

Look Ahead: Plan your next adventure

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Plan a New Year escape – we’re particularly partial to out-of-season seaside towns, and isolated getaways. Anywhere warm with rain pelting the windows is our safe place!

We’ve spent wet and windy January’s in Yarmouth and Brighton, and even once escaped on the sleeper train to Inverness (we didn’t spot Nessy though, sadly).

For somewhere really unusual to stay, check out The Landmark Trust – you don’t have to stretch to a whole castle, there are some really intriguing small boltholes available. And though there are often some cheap tickets to be found in advance, don’t forget the coaches – we traveled several times on Flixbus this year, for a fraction of the train prices.


It could be time to think about a fresh start at work – maybe even a shift towards doing something you actually enjoy (if you’re not lucky enough to be doing that already).

Think about what really floats your boat, what you really need, and how a change of job could get you to a healthier space.

A change is as good as a rest, so the saying goes – but don’t just change for the sake of it. Take some time to think through your future plans – and don’t be afraid of taking a (calculated) risk.

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Things to Do

Our 2024 To Do List is coming very soon – start thinking about plans for next year!

Whatever you do this Christmas, do it safely and look after yourselves!