Multiple Sclerosis Community
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335728 tn?1331418012

Dealing with MS and Christmas...a few tips...

I hope that I am not out of line offering some advice about Christmas and dealing with the holidays here.  Last Christmas was the toughest thing I have ever been through as I was dealing with a lot of pain, difficulty with my balance, diminished eyesight, inability to drive, basically inability to do a heck of a lot really!

I have to say that the last two years of being so sick that I wasn't able to shop or get involved at all really with the whole Christmas thing I have come to realize that it doesn't really matter what you do to get ready for it.  I think that most of us put WAY too much stress on ourselves to ensure that everything is perfect for Christmas and realistically most others don't even notice how much we do put into it...we put the strain on ourselves!!  If I can pass on one valuable lesson that I have learned in the last few years to all my friends here that are feeling overwhelmed with the holidays approaching...LET IT GO!!!  If you can't do something you can't do it!!  If there is no one that you can ask for help or if (like most of us) you don't think they can do as good a job as you so you fret and stress over doing it yourself and make yourself sicker over it...LET IT GO!!!  Christmas is about spending time with your loved ones and I know that while some people have expectations of us...they need to learn to let it go as well.  Sometimes traditions need to be altered a bit to ensure that no one is burdened more than they can cope with.

My husband's brother and his girlfriend came to our home last year on December 26th from Newfoundland and it was just what I really didn't need on top of getting things ready for Christmas!  I wasn't able to shop for gifts in the stores as my mobility was very limited...so I shopped for just about all my gifts online at Sears and I really didn't do too bad!  I set up a 3' artificial tree on a ledge I have in the living room and decided that would have to do and it did just fine!  We didn't have anyone over to the house until after Christmas and we had Christmas dinner at Mom's.  I hadn't realized before that there are many stores that offer some really awesome baking so I didn't have to do any at all.  I also found that these same stores have frozen appetizers and a bowl of chips and dip were always fine at a party years ago...why not now???!!!  There are a few older women in my exercise class and they were saying that their "kids" insist on continuing the traditions that they had when they WERE "kids"...I just asked them if any of these "kids" were offering to help with some of the work involved in continuing these traditions and each one of them said, "well, no" and I said that being that they all have lung conditions and have trouble doing too much, I certainly wouldn't expect my Mom alone to try to do the things they have come to "expect" and although I can't do too much to help my self, I DON'T EXPECT that she will keep up any of the old traditions!  We have to be realistic and so do our families and sometimes they need that spelled out for them right??!!  The women in our class agreed and I said that perhaps this should be a chance to teach their children and grandchildren how to do some of the things that you have done to create a much loved tradition to ensure that it will be carried on down through the generations...I also added that sometimes we are hesitant because we don't think anyone else can do what we do but in reality we are offering others a gift by sharing our abilities with our families...they won't know how to do it once we are gone and we take our talents with us right?

So anyway, my hubby's brother and girlfriend came for hubby's birthday (Dec. 27) and it worked out just fine because they had no expectations of me other than to be there to visit with and enjoy a holiday with.  We all pitched in with cooking and cleaning and party's and all the rest and it was a lovely visit...which it really should be to begin with!  Whoever said that the hostess should do ALL the work just because she is the hostess is an old rule that should be taken directly to the dump!!!

Basically I am trying to tell you that you all need to take the stress off of yourselves and spread it around a little.  Don't make unrealistic expectations for yourself and don't let anyone else try to do it to you either.  Let people know that their help would be very much appreciated and wouldn't it be fun to do some of this WITH someone else rather than taking the load on all by yourself?  Give it a chance, take one step at a time and if something doesn't get done, OH WELL...have a laugh about it at Christmas dinner while someone else is carving the turkey that someone else cooked!  Be happy, be healthy and be kind to yourself...it is allowed you know and you deserve it!

With love, hugs, and a Very Merry Christmas to you all,

8 Responses
293157 tn?1285877039
this is such a lovely piece of advice...and I think everyone should listen too it and enjoy their holiday time...

all the best
572651 tn?1531002957
I promise I will continue to work on it and LET IT GO! It began last year when I threw in the towel and cancelled Cookiefest- an all day baking marathon with girlfriends that we have done for years.  I said then it was too much and I was too tired.  I had no idea I had MS but knew I couldn't face 100's of dozens of cookies (htat's no exageration!).  

Then I wanted to cancel New Year's Day Cabbage Bowl - I make a 100 or so cabbage rolls even though I don't eat them.  We have a huge open house and everyone comes and enjoys the work.  My husband told people last year we were doing it so I was committed but this year is defintely out.  I had to LET IT GO!

Traditions are a funny thing to LET GO but sometimes we have to for our own health.  

Thanks for all of your good advice about surviving this holiday season.

Letting go,
620877 tn?1282767697
Amen Sister!  I have done just as you stated and let it go!  I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself during the holidays - to bake...buy....etc to ensure that everything is perfect!  I decided that this holiday season was going to be less stressful for me, so I have limited myself to doing only what is necessary.  It is hard for me, and I struggle not to do more, mostly because I love to give!  But I need to take care of me right now.

Your advice is so important - we need to remember to take care of ourselves - especially during this time of year when things are hectic and busy.

Thank you for the advice.


486038 tn?1300066967
I'm blessed... I come from a very relaxed family that doesn't have much Christmas tradition... we just open presents... hey, we don't even have a tree (well, now I do miss that!) But really, we don't get to stressed about Christmas and that's nice.... and so it's nice to hear other's chime in and say "chill" when it comes to all the "hurry, rush, hurry".... really, christmas is all about family, and just relaxing anyways and everyones almost to busy to do that! :)

I hope everyone here is really enjoying this time of year, there is SOO much to enjoy... truly... the wonderful cocoa, the family, the songs and caroler's, and the lights and nativity scenes, and the symphonie's and choral's. :)Hmmmm... I love this time of year, and I think I'm appreciating it more this year than ever. :) Smiles!


335728 tn?1331418012
Just another quick idea...a lot of people don't have a lot of family around to spend Christmas with and some people have too much family around at Christmas and they are a major cause of extreme stress!  To avoid both situations here is an idea for you...There is a movie called "Marley and Me" that is opening on Christmas Day and being that I have read this book that was recommended by Spastic Ada I would seriously recommend it to put a smile on your face on Christmas Day!  I know it seems a little strange to most of us to go to a movie on Christmas Day but hey...for some of us it will beat having to deal with the stressful garbage that you dread all year long don't you think???

Just an idea that I wanted to pass on for those of you in a funk as to what to do for the holidays!!

Lots of Hugs,

706250 tn?1232457417
Great advise but us newcomers its still hard, I have 3 kids (12,9,6) they want Santa to come just like any year. My husband is great-he tells me do what you can and don't worry about the rest.


335728 tn?1331418012
I can appreciate that it IS difficult when you have young children and it's understandable that they would still expect Santa to come as usual.  Perhaps if that is what they are going to focus on the most you can drop something else that is traditional in your family or just change the way it is done.  Like I mentioned earlier there are places that you can buy your baking rather than having to do it yourself and while it's not exactly what you have come to love and expect from yourself, it's not that bad and we can live with it.  As far as the gifts go, I find that wrapping takes a lot of work and is exhausting...do you have a few friends that you can have over for coffee one evening after the kiddies have gone to bed to help you wrap?  It is amazing how much quicker it is to have some help and it will help to save a bit of your energy.  If you don't have any friends that you want to impose on at such a busy time of year...there is usually a seniors centre at the local malls that open a gift wrapping service for a donation or a minimal fee and some of them are even free!  Look into this as well as a stress reliever for you.

If anyone has any other ideas on how to beat the holiday rat race, why not share your ideas with our fellow members.  There are many stress beaters out there but most of us are not aware of them...I can relate and I don't want to see anyone have to go through what I did last year.  My hubby said last night, "IYou are so different than last year, not stressed at all and you seem to be enjoying getting ready for the holidays!".  I have to admit that I am also feeling a lot better than last year but I am looking at it differently as well and not putting so many expectations on myself and I am not worried about it either.  I figure that the people that matter in my life know what my limitations are and they are understanding and as for the other people that don't get it...well that it their problem and until they do figure it out I can get by without them and their stress in my life.

Lots of Hugs,

572651 tn?1531002957
Thanks again for the positive outlook and approach to the holidays.  I can't believe it is only two weeks until Christmas.  Not even enough time left to work up a good case of panic and anxiety! LOL

Ho ho ho,
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