WHAT will the festive season bring? The one thing most people can agree on is that this will be no ordinary Christmas.

Many of the usual seasonal markers will be absent or curtailed. Something that a lot of us take for granted is touch. Christmas is a very tactile time, isn't it? There are kisses under the mistletoe. Everyone huddled round a table for food. Five people wedged onto a three-seater sofa to watch TV.

There's a Twitter hashtag #DuvetKnowItsChristmas that has become popular in recent years where folk swap war stories about their odd (usually uncomfortable) sleeping arrangements as they gather under one roof with their nearest and dearest for the festivities.

You know the kind of thing. Top-and-tailing on a fold-down bed aboard a cramped canal boat. Curling up in a sleeping bag under a dining room table. Shivering on a blow-up mattress with a slow puncture in the garage. Snoozing in the bath with a pillow and crocheted blanket, listening to a constantly dripping tap.

My point is that, while being together at Christmas is lovely, be grateful for silver linings. With the proposed restrictions on gatherings (even with the prospect of extended household "bubbles"), there is less chance of having to deal with the kind of eye-watering demands that make the dressing room rider of Mariah Carey seem easy-going.

READ MORE: Festive food with Chef Gary Townsend

READ MORE: Festive drinks with Gerard Richardson

I have a friend who (once) had to cook for a merry band of relatives. Among their number were two vegans, a pescatarian and allergy sufferers, including lactose and gluten intolerance. That was all fine. It was the fussy eater who broke her, leading to tears and swigging from the cooking sherry at 9am.

Perhaps you're not the person who does the cooking. In which case: enjoy that microwave meal or Pot Noodle. If you're the one usually running around like a fly with a blue backside making sure a double-digit number of guests are fed and watered, then this is your year.

Eat what you want. Fancy a rainbow trout or a vat of macaroni cheese for Christmas dinner? Do it. Ditto if you want to ditch Brussels sprouts and all the other veg in favour of five different types of potato (mash, roast, boiled, au gratin, croquettes).

READ MORE: Five new drinks by Scottish producers to try this Christmas 

If, usually, by the time you sit down, feet throbbing, all the good gin or whisky has been guzzled, then this is the Christmas you can splash out on a decent bottle or two, safe in the knowledge there might be enough left over for a quiet Hogmanay too.

Be kind to yourself. Comfort and joy. Whatever that may entail, be it devouring an entire cheeseboard like it is an Olympic sport; watching It's A Wonderful Life and mainlining mince pies; or sipping a delicious wine, uninterrupted in front of the fire.

Click here for some great festive ideas from our resident experts, chef Gary Townsend and drinks guru Gerard Richardson, as well as my recommendations for some newly unveiled tipples by Scottish producers, to get you started.