Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Countdown to Christmas: Part 1

With less than six weeks to go until Christmas now is the time to start preparations.

I'm not suggesting that you play Christmas music on repeat from now until the end of December, or that it's the right time to start wearing those glitterball earrings, or even that you have to pretend to feel festive, but a few moments of planning this week will save much pain in the long run!

For those of us with chronic illnesses, holidays can be difficult. There may be long days of socialising, late nights, lots of travelling and unsuitable food. It may be difficult to find time to rest, take medications on schedule, exercise or meditate. In addition to this, there are the usual stressors of buying and wrapping gifts, sticking to a budget (which may be especially tight for those unable to work due to illness) and preparing to be the Hostess with the Mostest.

Things I am doing this week:

1. Making lots of lists: I have a list of presents that I need to buy for people (this will help me to stick to my budget, as I can look out for things on sale or special offer without panicking that I'm running out of time); a Christmas card list; lists of things that my husband and I would like so that I can tell people who ask for gift idea (we both have allergies, so it's often safer to give people specific suggestions). I also have a list of events so that I can start to think about travel arrangements and make sure that I don't kill myself by agreeing to go to ten parties in one week.

2. Arranging appointments: Now is a good time to deal with any little nagging health problems before the holidays hit. The last thing I want is to allow a small problem to develop into a big problem that could spoil my enjoyment of the holiday. It's also a good time to book a dental check-up and hair styling appointments before the party season starts in earnest.

3. Trying out holiday recipes: There are lots of things that I can't eat, but rather than be a miseryguts about it, I plan to try out some seasonal recipes that will suit my dietary requirements and appeal to everyone else. Crystal at Living (Well!) with Gastroparesis has some great recipes, hints and tips about handling the holidays without causing major symptom flares, and I plan to try some of her recipes this year. I definitely want to give them a trial run before the holidays so that I can avoid the stress of cooking something for the first time, not knowing if I'm going to enjoy it or if my body will tolerate it.

4. I've already bought wrapping paper and cards (I saved a lot of money because I bought them early), so I can start to write Christmas cards and wrap presents as I buy them. I can't write for very long at any one time, so if I write a few cards every day, I won't cause myself lots of pain by trying to write them all at the beginning of December (or lots of guilt that I didn't manage to send them out early enough)! 

I think that's quite enough holiday preparation for this week. There's no point in exhausting myself now while trying to avoid exhausting myself later. Check back next week for more planning and preparation!

This post was written as part of NHBPM - 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J


  1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who does this! I've made all my lists up now, and have ordered a few bits online. I typed all my addresses up a few years back for labels for our wedding invites, and I now use that to mailmerge and print out all my christmas card labels, adding and changing as I go. I have real trouble writing (bad hands and pens make it worse, but I can't not write nice messages, that's half the fun!) so I do a few cards a day. The labels made a HUGE difference, so very pleased with those!

    Hoping to make a start on the cards this coming week - I'm not allowed to make obvious christmas preparations pre Dave's birthday, so now it's all go!

  2. You're definitely not the only one - I couldn't survive without my lists, especially as I have to ask for help to execute everything!

    Your idea of mailmerging all your Christmas addresses onto labels is a brilliant one. How do you do it? Like you, I struggle with writing, so that would be an absolute lifesaver, and would allow me to write the nice messages that I want to write.

    Enjoy your preps now that Dave's birthday is out of the way!