Follow Mariah Carey?s advice and spell out what presents you want.

Follow Mariah Carey's advice and spell out what presents you want. Photo: Reuters

It's time everyone paid more attention to the words of Christmas songs. There's a wealth of hidden meaning in the festive season's soundtrack.

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
By Brenda Lee

The office party … that once-a-year event when everybody lets their hair down and really gets to know each other, and you and your colleagues can let off steam after all your hard work.

Avoid Cliff Richard?s mistletoe and ''whine'' by laying down some rules.

Avoid Cliff Richard's mistletoe and ''whine'' by laying down some rules. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

And, if you're not careful, make a fool of yourself. When the paper hats are on, it's easy to let a few drinks become a few too many. To ensure your tipple doesn't topple you too soon, take a few sensible steps.

First, eat before you go out, preferably something solid such as pasta, then alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water to stay hydrated.

Dancing is a great way to avoid drinking too much, so get on the dance floor for a boogie.

Why not make a pact with a close colleague, too? If one of you is getting too tipsy and announces they're going to ''tell the boss a few home truths'', step in and order a taxi home.

Mistletoe And 'Whine'
By Cliff Richard

Yes, the real lyrics are mistletoe and wine, but, sometimes at Christmas, ''whine'' is more appropriate. After days trawling toy shops and battling with wrapping paper, what are you rewarded with?

Tears and tantrums. As much as we love our kids, they can be ungrateful mites sometimes.

Make them more appreciative with a few simple rules. Tell them from the start how many presents they'll get from their lists, so they know what to expect.

And on Christmas Day, spread them out: don't all tear into them at once in a frenzy. Sit down and take it in turns to open each one, stopping to thank the giver.

Frosty The Snowman
By Gene Autry

When family members who normally don't spend more than a Sunday lunch together are suddenly lumped in one house for a few days, it can cause a cold and tense atmosphere.

The frostiness can be thawed though, with a few commonsense steps. First, deal with any issues head-on. If you feel your anger brewing against someone, confront the culprit immediately while you're still calm and, hopefully, rational. Letting it fester will only risk things blowing up later on.

If you know you always fall out with Cousin Derek or Great Aunty Sue, agree on a truce before the battle. Chat when they arrive and say you'll just agree to disagree this year - if they don't want to believe in Santa, that's their problem not yours.

All I Want For Christmas
By Mariah Carey

''Ooh, lovely, another ironing board cover …'' Are you sick of receiving rubbish presents from your partner? Well, 2013's the year you finally get what you want.

First rule, don't leave anything to chance. Dropping ''subtle'' hints isn't enough. Write a full list telling your other half exactly what you want, naming the shop, colour and size. Don't be a diva - limit your requests to one or two, and be realistic about budgets, as no gift is really worth getting into debt over.

And if somebody gets it wrong, don't hurt their feelings by being ungrateful. It's the thought that counts, right?

Walking In The Air
By Aled Jones

Ask your family and friends to give you something you can ''do'', not ''use''. Instead of the usual clothes or make-up, ask them to club together for something you've always dreamt of doing but never got round to it.

We're not saying you have to copy the Snowman and ask for a sky-dive. But why not request a ticket to your favourite musical? Or for that sewing course you fancied? Or for a trip to the hairdresser so you can finally see what it's like to be blonde.

Step Into Christmas
By Elton John

Yes, it's more tempting to nibble another chocolate than think about working it off. But it's crucial to make sure you exercise.

Not only does moving about burn off that mountain of food you've scoffed, it also keeps you happier. Exercise releases endorphins, brain chemicals that fight the blues and give you a natural high. You don't have to run a marathon - a brisk walk or an energetic game of Twister counts, too.

Silent Night
By carol singers everywhere

With the neighbours having a party, the kids watching TV downstairs and Dad snoring in the next bedroom, it's hard to get a good night's sleep over the festive holidays.

To prevent exhaustion come January, follow a few bedtime rituals. Stop drinking caffeine and booze a few hours earlier, as they're stimulants that disturb sleep. A relaxing bath, especially with lavender oil, works a treat. Try foam ear-plugs and a sleeping mask. They might look a bit silly but your fresh face the next day will be worth it.

PA