This week's dilemma...

It's coming up for the festive party season. While I love this time of year, I am ashamed to say in previous years I have overdone it somewhat and not only embarrassed myself at the office Christmas party, but have also not been that popular at home as I have been out virtually every night, having accepted every invitation going (well, it would be rude not to). What are your top tips for surviving the festivities this Christmas?

The first line of the song Do They Know It's Christmas? says: "It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid." However, in the industry we work in, this is probably the one time of year you should be afraid.

It is incredibly easy to overdo it during this period. I decided some years ago that, rather than kill myself through alcohol poisoning, I would try and show some restraint through the festive season, preferring to die like my father (peacefully and in his sleep, rather than screaming like his passengers).

Here are my tips for surviving through to another year:

- Never mix your drinks. Always leave it to the bartender. He's paid to do it, after all.

- Do not accept every invitation you receive. While you might think this will help your external profile, your internal organs will not thank you. Be selective.

- Always accept any invitation that includes your partner. If the rest of the family is invited, even better. This will earn you numerous Brownie points with your other half. (A big thank you to Carat for the invitation to the Hamley's private shopping experience - a top night and always goes down well in the Emin household.)

- Never throw a "sickie" after a big night out. Make sure you are at work on time the next day. If you can't work with a hangover, you are in the wrong business.

- Never turn up in clothes from the previous night, especially if you were at a fancy dress party.

- Always keep a supply of aspirin/eye whitener/mouthwash/vitamin C/mints in your drawer.

- Avoid the sambuca shots at the end of the evening. It's not big and it's not clever. Stick to vodka - you will feel better the next day.

- Don't spend the night telling your boss what is wrong with the company. He already knows and he will be making a mental note regarding your P45 in the New Year.

- Make sure you eat at the beginning of the evening rather than at the end. A kebab at the end of the night always seems a good idea at the time, but you will regret it in the morning when you come to clean your shoes.

- The only thing that you should ever put up your nose is your finger.

David Emin is director of advertising at Mirror Group Newspapers and has 18 years' experience in national press. If you have a career dilemma you would like David to address, e-mail david.emin@haymarket.com. We will keep your name confidential.

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